What to Expect
1. Making an Appointment:
Calling: When you call our office, you will speak with a receptionist who will record your contact information which includes your name, address, and phone number. Then, they will transfer you to a legal assistant who will record the information surrounding your injury.
E-mailing: If you choose to e-mail our office, please provide a brief summary of the events surrounding your injury and a phone number so that we may contact you to set up an appointment. A legal assistant will call you after she or he receives your e-mail.
When you speak with a legal assistant, you should provide specific dates, names, and events surrounding your injury. Your legal assistant will schedule a free consultation between you and her or his managing attorney. Review the checklist below for important information to tell your assigned legal assistant:
Calling or E-mailing Checklist:
1. Date and time of injury.
2. Location of injury.
3. Brief summary of events.
4. Healthcare providers you’ve seen as a result of your injury with estimated dates.
5. Available dates and times for which you can be seen for a consultation (if it’s hard for you to come to our office, phone conferences can be scheduled).
When you arrive at our office, you will check-in with a receptionist. He or she will provide you with a specific questionnaire depending on your injury claim. The questionnaire may take anywhere from five to 15 minutes to complete. You should take your time and fully answer each question as detailed as possible. The six questionnaires are listed below:
1. Auto Accident
2. Medical Malpractice
3. Personal Injury – Slip and Fall
4. Personal Injury – Products Liability
5. Wrongful Death
6. General Information
After your questionnaire is completed, you will meet with an attorney for your free consultation.
During this time, your attorney will ask questions regarding your potential case. Remember to be as specific as possible because this information will help determine if we can continue helping you with your potential claim.
You may bring medical records, medical bills, correspondence from insurance agencies, vehicle repair estimates, and police or accident reports to share with an attorney. Our legal assistants will make copies to keep with your file as we review your claim. In addition, we will have you sign a medical authorization form so we can obtain your medical records and bills from the healthcare providers you’ve seen as a result of your injury.
After your consultation, we will begin gathering information to determine if we can help you with your claim. There are three paths depending on how the outcomes of our investigation:
Contract: If we accept your claim, we will mail a contract or ask you to stop by the office to sign a contract. Your attorney can discuss the specifics of the contract with you.
Referral: If we feel we cannot represent your claim, we may refer you to an attorney that specializes in your claim.
Decline: If we feel we cannot represent your claim or don’t know of an attorney to represent you, we may decline your claim without a referral.
If you are declined or referred, you will be reminded that there is a Statute of Limitations for the state in which you were injured that dictates the cutoff date for filing a claim.
After we accept your claim, we begin submitting and answering discovery: discovery is the process by which a party may obtain evidence before a trial. Two popular means of discovery are requests for production and interrogatories:
Requests for Production: This document allows a party to obtain tangible or electronically stored evidence.
Interrogatories: This document allows a party the opportunity to ask questions that the opposing party is required to answer.
A party can object to a request or an interrogatory. Common objections to a request or an interrogatory include the following: a question invades on the attorney-client privilege, is overly broad, irrelevant, and calls for a conclusion.
A deposition takes place outside of a courtroom, and it is a part of the discovery process. Depositions allow layers to learn what each witness in a lawsuit knows about the information surrounding a lawsuit. During a deposition, a witness is under oath, and his or her testimony is recorded by a certified court reporter. Anyone can be deposed. Your attorney will give you information on preparing for a deposition if you are called to be deposed.
Attorneys from both parties will try to negotiate a settlement amount before sending your case to trial. Settlement amounts are negotiated based on the liability amounts and damages surrounding your case. Your attorney will send a demand letter, asking for a specific amount based on the information we have about your case. The opposing party will either counter-demand an amount or not reply at all. In the event that the opposing party does not reply or offer a counter-demand amount, your attorney may file suit with your permission. If the opposing party does offer a counter-demand, your attorney will discuss options with you such as making a final offer or taking the opposing party’s counter-demand.