Personal injuries account for the bulk of the workload that many injury law firms handle. The most common of these cases include slip and fall accidents as a result of negligence by the premises owner. Other common types of cases include car accidents and other accidental injuries.
Representing a client who has sustained injuries of an accidental nature requires a great deal of preparation on your part. You are not just talking about a few hundred dollars in compensation for your client, but possibly tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills and significant economic losses.
The client has a lot at stake and knowing how to establish a strong case from the outset will help you handle the case successfully. Here are a few pointers you will want to check out.
1. Get documentation
A personal injury case requires a large volume of evidence and a solid foundation if your client is seeking compensation for immediate and long-term losses. The client may have all the necessary documents to support the case; still, this may involve a great deal of investigating on your part.
It helps if you are able to secure photos of the accident. In the case of bicycle accidents, you might want to ask the client if there were witnesses present when the accident happened and whether those witnesses took any photos. These photos might include pictures of the damaged bike as well as the wounds the rider had sustained.
In addition to photos, you will need to secure other documentation such as the police report, which should provide the initial summary of the event as it transpired. Medical records and insurance information are also relevant to the case, so be sure to ask your client to provide you with copies of these documents. Make sure to have your client sign the proper authorizations so you can secure all the necessary documentation.
2. Don’t be eager to settle
When your client is injured and can’t work, it may be tempting to settle the case with the other party or insurance company so that your client’s living expenses and medical bills can be paid. You will want to maximize the compensation for your client so it might not be prudent to accept the first offer.
It’s important to recover as much as possible and let the other party know that you’re willing to take the case to court, if necessary. Prior to going to court, there are many avenues to come to a mutually agreed settlement including arbitration and mediation.
3. Establish rapport with the client
Before you start executing on an injury case, you will need to sit down with the client and discuss the specific objectives that you plan to accomplish. For this, you will want to interview the client. Get full details of what happened before and after the accident. It also helps to pay attention to any emotional triggers the client may exhibit.
Throughout this initial interaction, you will need to take careful notes and record crucial information that might hold the key to a successful case. You may also discover facts that the other party might use to their advantage. You will need to be aware of these facts so you can counter them if needed.
During this process you should be setting the client’s expectations. If this is the first time a client has been involved in a personal injury case, it will be helpful to the client if you explain the process, timeline and billing, if applicable. Also, outline the responsibilities that the client is expected to fulfill.
4. Stay organized
When building a personal injury case, the workload can be overwhelming, so much so that you might risk overlooking important deadlines for filing claims, sending demand letters, and preparing letters of representation.
The best way you can stay organized and on-track is to leverage productivity apps such as Google Calendar, Evernote, and Trello. These tools can help you keep track of important dates, organize notes and tasks. These apps help keep you organized and give you peace of mind
Preparing for a personal injury case can involve a lot of work and preparation. Using some of these tips will help make sure you are doing what you can to make the process less stressful and help produce the best outcome for your client.