A lot of people don't understand what a personal injury lawyer does. "So what is it that you do as a personal injury attorney?" seems to be asked of me fairly often.
When I hear this, I believe the person is really asking "How can you help me?" Most folks sort of know what we do as PI attorneys - they just want to know how we can specifically assist their needs.
Probably like your days, every day at our law firm is different. Even so most firms have a very systematic approach to each case - with each approach catering to the specific needs of the case.
Needless to say a dog bite case is going to be very different than a truck accident. However, we do use a fairly standardized approach to every case - an approach that has at least served me well over the course of my last twenty-plus years helping clients.
What Does a Personal injury Lawyer Do: Step by Step
As mentioned above there is a typical sequence which I follow on most cases, but no two cases are treated exactly the same. Certain cases may stray from the steps mentioned below.
A personal injury lawyer will:
Investigate the case and explain the strategy to the client.
Directly handle all communication with insurance companies.
Organize police reports, medical records, bills and eyewitness accounts.
Figure out how much insurance money may be on the line.
Interview any witnesses that may have witnessed the accident itself.
Gather any necessary evidence.
Interpret and review all applicable medical records and asses how medical history could affect the case.
Research and determine if any already paid bills should be reimbursed by insurance.
Determine whether any other parties are entitled to monies collected as a result of the case.
Prepare what's known as a "demand package" to be submitted to the insurance company. This package includes details about the injury, the long-term outlook for your health, outstanding medical bills, lost wages, long-term treatment plans and long-term medical prognosis.
Decide whether to negotiate or take the case to court.
Shall a lawsuit be pursued, the attorney will prepare all documents, witnesses etc. for court.
Prep for the depositions by preparing questions and answers for the defendant and any other necessary individuals.
Gather any necessary bills, tax returns, medical records and written testimonies.
Set the trial date.
Prepare for the trial and also prepare for potential arbitration and/or settlement prior to trial.
Organize and complete any medical exhibits or demonstrative exhibits that may be pertinent to the trial.
Eliminate surprises by filing briefs and motions with the court.
Proceed to trial.
Analyze the verdict and determine whether or not there is cause or need for appeal to the verdict.
Conclusion - What We Do Is Work Hard to Get You What's Right
Keep in mind that not all personal injury lawyers are created equal. Having a firm grasp of the above steps can help you gauge how well a personal injury lawyer will fight for you and your case.
Most importantly, work with personal injury attorney who you trust. Unfortunately your financial future and well-being may be on the line. Be sure to put your case in the hands of an attorney you can trust.