THIS IS A LIST OF SUGGESTIONS TO CLIENTS, WHICH MY OFFICE PROVIDES WHEN WE OPEN A NEW CASE-I AM SHARING THIS WITH YOU AS IT NEVER HURTS TO BE REMINDED OF CAUTION IN OUR BEHAVIOR WHEN WE HAVE A CASE PENDING...
1. TALK TO NO ONE - Do not discuss your case with anyone else, except your attorneys or their investigators. You should always require identification of anyone asking about your case. You should not even talk to your own insurance company or to any lawyers hired by your own insurance company without notifying us first, so that we have an opportunity to determine if we need to be present during any discussion. We will generally want these statements taken in our office.
2. REPAIRS - Do not have your automobile, machinery, household item or other object that was involved in your accident repaired until we have had time to examine it, have it photographed, or have it examined by an expert as we feel may be necessary to preserve evidence as needed for your case. If your case involves a product or instrument which is not in your control, please try to see that it is not repaired or disposed of until we have photographed it and had it examined by an expert if necessary.
3. DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING WITHOUT CONSULTING WITH US FIRST - Please contact us first before you sign any documents related to your case. We should have an opportunity to examine those documents and advise you with regard to the documents. Applications for insurance benefits, reports to the State, returns to work, or any changes in treatment should be reported to this office promptly. Disability or unemployment applications should first be checked by us.
4. YOUR DOCTOR - Tell your doctor all of your complaints. The doctor's records can only be as complete as what you have told the doctor. This is your responsibility. If you see additional doctors for additional treatment, please advise us immediately so that we may send to them for their records, medical bills, prescriptions, etc. Keep track of all medicines and prescriptions taken.
THEIR DOCTOR- If your case goes into litigation, it is very likely that the defendant will schedule you for an examination with a physician of its choice. This is their right to do so and there are very few circumstances where we can oppose what is referred to as a defense medical evaluation.
5. PRIOR INJURIES - It will help your case to tell me about any prior injury to any parts of your body or prior medical conditions. Many good cases are lost because of the injured person's failure to advise the attorney of past injuries. The Defense can obtain full copies of all present and past medical records.
6. NEW INJURIES - If you are in ANY other accidents, call us immediately.
7. PRIOR CLAIMS - Insurance Companies keep a record of any and all claims against any insurance company. The Insurance Company is sure to find out if you have ever made a previous claim.
8. DIARY - Please keep a daily or weekly record of your complaints and progress. This can be very helpful when, a year later, you will be asked to recall your pain and suffering. You should keep track of all of your symptoms, as this will be most helpful to us in presenting your case, and most helpful to your doctors in treating you. Please note what activities you are no longer able to perform. If you have a spouse or housemate, ask him or her to help you keep these records. It is not enough to say to the insurance company that you hurt - you must be able to say how you hurt.
9. INVESTIGATION - Insurance Companies do not pay money willingly. The Insurance Company can be expected to thoroughly investigate the facts of the accident, the claim for medical treatment, and any past injuries or claims. The Insurance Company will obtain copies of all past medical records. This is why it is so important for you to advise us in complete detail of previous accidents and previous medical conditions. You should be aware that some insurance companies will place you under surveillance and take motion pictures of you as you go about your daily business. The Insurance Company may hire a private investigator to question neighbors about you and your activities. You should not discuss your case with anyone. If someone contacts you, tell them you have an attorney and give them our office number. If you find that someone appears to be loitering around your home, please feel free to call the police and report that fact and request that they investigate.
10. WAGES AND EARNINGS LOST - Please keep an accurate record of all days lost from work because of your injuries.
11. MEDICAL BILLS - Please obtain and keep duplicate copies of all medical, hospital and prescription drug bills. You should periodically send these bills to us for our files. Also keep records of any other expenses you may have in connection with your accident, such as help in cleaning your home. All your bills should be paid by check or you should obtain and keep receipts.
12. WITNESSES - Immediately furnish us with the correct names, addresses and telephone numbers of any and all witnesses. If someone will be leaving the area permanently, please call us so that we can take their deposition if necessary.
13. EVIDENCE - Give us the negatives and prints or digital media of any photographs pertaining to your case which you or your friends may have taken. If you are required to be hospitalized or to wear a cast, brace, or other such appliances, save them for evidence at trial. You should also notify us that you require these items, as we may desire to have photographs taken.
14. YOUR ADDRESS - Be sure to keep us advised of any change in your address or telephone number.
15. SPECIAL FACE BOOK WARNING! With the advent of internet social networking sites such as Face book and Twitter emerges the danger of saying the wrong thing! Please keep this in mind: a.) Keep the privacy settings on your accounts as restrictive as possible-if they are public, the defense can access them and copy content from your account. b.) Do not accept friend requests from anyone you do not know. c.) Think before you post-can what you are about to post be considered adverse to your ongoing claim? This includes photos. d.) Do not discuss your case on your account or any other public site where anyone can go and read it.
16. QUESTIONS - We may not contact you until we have something definite to report. We will be contacting you for depositions, answers to Interrogatories, and when your case goes to trial, which may not be for quite some time. If you have specific questions, don't hesitate to call us. However, please be patient and realize that many things are done on your file without your presence, and also that the processing of a personal injury case takes time. It can take many months to settle a claim. In fact, it is dangerous to settle neck or back claims within the first year since it often takes a long time for serious injuries to become evident.