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Learn How to Work Closely with
Your Personal Injury Lawyer
The reason that you sought help from a personal injury lawyer is that you have no idea how to deal with getting reasonable compensation from the party that caused your injury. It makes sense to commit yourself to working as closely with your legal counsel as possible. Since you’ve never been involved in a legal matter before, it’s difficult to know what you should and should not do. But here are some tips that will make it a lot easier to work closely with the personal injury lawyers who accept your case.
Provide Full Disclosure About the Events Surrounding the Event
Once you have committed to a lawyer, it is in your best interests to provide as much information as possible. That means sharing any detail that comes to your mind. There’s no need to filter what you tell the lawyer. In fact, filtering is the last thing that you want to do.
Your legal counsel is in a better position to determine what information is relevant to the case and what doesn’t have any bearing. There’s the possibility that something you don’t think matters actually makes a big difference. You can depend on the legal counsel to pick up on that fact and know how to integrate it into the plans for pursuing a settlement.
Make All Medical Information Readily Available to Your Legal Counsel
As part of your ongoing cooperation, you want to ensure that the lawyer has full access to your medical information. This means access to emergency room records, treatments that you undergo in a hospital or other medical facility, physical therapy, medications, and anything that has a connection to the injury.
It’s not just about what’s been done up to this point. You also want the lawyer to receive information from medical experts about the type of care you will need in the future. This is especially important if the injury left some sort of permanent loss of physical or mental capability. The goal is to seek a settlement amount that covers what you’ve already spent while also providing compensation that allows you to avoid financial ruin in the future.
As Well as All the Expenses That You’re Incurring
It’s not just medical costs that your lawyer will want to track. Loss of income while you’re not able to go to work is one example. Having to settle for something that pays less but happens to be within your ability to manage after the injury is another. Even things like transportation costs to and from treatments or therapy, or any other type of cost related to the injury must also be tracked.
Be Available When Your Lawyer Needs to Touch Base
You and your lawyer will be in contact frequently. While your legal counsel wants you to focus on getting whatever medical care that you need, there will be times when the lawyer will need to communicate with you as quickly as possible. To the best of your ability, be available when the lawyer needs to interact.
The interaction may be in the form of a text, an email, a phone call, or a request to come into the office. Whatever the nature of the communication, respond as soon as possible. Doing so will make it easier for your legal counsel to continue working on the case and possibly hasten the day when you do receive a reasonable settlement offer.
Do Not Respond to Correspondence from the Responsible Party
Rest assured that the responsible party will attempt to correspond with you. This could be in the form of emails, but the most likely approach is to send something through the post. The correspondence may come from the responsible party proper, the party’s insurance provider, or the party’s legal counsel.
No matter what the nature of the correspondence happens to be, turn it over to your personal injury lawyer and let your legal counsel respond. Doing so will ensure that nothing you say or do could be used against you by the opposing party. Only respond if your lawyer recommends that you do so. Even then, it pays to have your legal counsel look over the response before it’s sent.
The Same Goes for Phone Calls or Attempts to Visit You in Person
Letters or emails aren’t the only way the other party may attempt to engage you. There may be phone calls that start off asking how you’re doing but then lead into other areas that are best handled by your lawyer. The same is true for any attempts to visit you in person.
It’s not unusual for those responsible for an injury to offer settlements that are quite low. They may also hint that what they’re offering is the best the injured party can hope to get. To add more pressure, they may indicate that the offer is only good for a certain amount of time.
If you are contacted by phone or the party comes to your hospital room or home, all you need to provide is the contact information for your lawyer. Say nothing else other than goodbye, no matter how tempting it may be to say something else.
Let the Lawyer Take the Lead During Settlement Negotiations
Once it’s clear that you will not engage the other party except through the lawyer, the settlement negotiations will commence in earnest. You may need to be present at some of those meetings. If so, the other party will likely attempt to get you to answer questions or make some comment. Resist the urge to take the bait.
Your lawyer should serve as your mouthpiece during those negotiations. If you need to confer with your lawyer, do so in private. Should the lawyer believe it would be in your best interests to say something, your legal counsel will do so. Choosing to say as little as possible – and then only with the support of your lawyer – will help keep the negotiations from getting too complicated.
Hiring a personal injury lawyer as quickly as possible is one of the best decisions that you could make. Deciding that you will cooperate fully with your legal counsel is also a sound move. By working together, the odds of receiving a fair settlement are greatly enhanced.
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About the Author
Matt Reed lives in Toronto, Canada. He is a freelance writer and editor, tech geek, and stay at home father.