Tips to Win Your Personal Injury Case
Before we address the things that you should do to win your personal injury case, there are a few things that you not do if you want to maximize your chances of recovering fair compensation for your injuries.3 Things You Should NOT DO
Do not give any statements (written, recorded, or oral) to anyone about your accident or injuries without first getting your attorney’s approval.
Do not make any incorrect statements about prior injuries or accidents to any doctor who treats or examines you.
Do not change your address or employment without notifying your attorney.
Address and Phone: Make sure to keep your attorney informed of any change of address, telephone number, or employment.
Car Repairs: If your vehicle was damaged, try to take photos of the damage before it is repaired.
Medical documents: Be sure to save all medical bills, pharmacy receipts, diagnostic results and medical documentation.
Photographs: Make sure to have photos taken of any visible injuries, casts, braces, scars, etc…
Expenses: Try to save all receipts showing any out of pocket expenses that you may have incurred as a result of the accident. This includes, co-payments for doctor visits, pharmacy bills, even parking receipts for doctor visits.
Lost wages: Make sure to track any loss of earnings or income you may have suffered as a result of your injury. If missed work because of your injury try and get a doctor’s note.
New information on your status: Make sure to keep us informed of any changes in your condition including, any additional testing that may be required or any medical procedures that may be needed.
Not visiting your doctor if you are in pain.
Not following your doctor’s instructions.
Not completing or attending your physical therapy sessions or doctor appointments.
Not telling your doctor about medical problems you are having due to the accident.
Not making sure the doctor is aware of the severity of your pain or injuries.
Not being your own medical advocate. Do not just accept the treatment that is being provided to you if you feel it is not working. If you’re still experiencing pain and therapy is not working (after several weeks), insist (or demand) that an MRI be taken.
Our job is to obtain the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries and financial losses. One way to diminish the value of your case is to miss doctor’s appointment or not stick to the physical therapy plan that has been prescribed for you. In any personal injury case, one this is certain: the insurance company does NOT want to pay you if they can avoid it! One of the first things insurance carriers will look for are “gaps” in medical treatment. If you were injured in accident and you fail to visit a doctor for several weeks or you fail to follow the advice of your doctor or therapist, the insurance companies find this out and will exploit it to decrease the value of your case. Not going to the doctor is a good way to prove, instead, that you are not hurting.
Additionally, make sure your doctor or therapist is keeping ACCURATE notes in your medical chart! Many times, we see medical records which indicate that the client is “doing well” or “feeling great” only to find out from the client that is far from accurate. Remember YOU are the patient and have a RIGHT to make you’re your records reflect the true status of your condition. Each time you go to the doctor and report that you are still in pain, your doctor or nurse should be making the appropriate entry in his or her records.Steps Taken in a Personal Injury Claim
When you are first interviewed, we will collect general information about you including your full name and address, employer and employment history, medical status and medical history and other information needed to properly evaluate and work on your case effectively.
We will promptly notify the individual(s) and/or their insurance company who was responsible for your injuries informing them that you have retained us as your attorney. We will send requests to any medical providers or doctors who have treated you in connection with your injuries. We will need this information so that we can have a thorough understanding of your injuries so that we can effectively advocate on your behalf.Who to Talk to About Your Personal Injury Claim
We inform all of our clients not to talk about their case with anyone except this office and your doctors. If you are contacted by any insurance company or individual who wants to talk to you about your case, please refer them to our office.What to Sign for Your Personal Injury Claim
Any information pertaining to any medical expenses, loss of wages or other pertinent information will be obtained by us. You should not sign anything without first discussing it with your attorney.Payments for Medical Expenses
While your case is pending against the insurance company of the person who caused your injury, will attempt to have medical bills paid by your own insurance company. If you were injured in an auto accident, medical payments are paid from a provision in your automobile insurance policy called Personal Injury Protection or PIP coverage. Once your auto insurance company has paid up to $2,000 in medical expenses (some policy’s provide for up to $8,000 in PIP benefits), bills will then be submitted to your health insurance provider, or, if applicable, worker's compensation insurance. Please be sure to forward all medical bills related to your injury to our office so that we may forward them to the appropriate insurance company for payment.Helpful Records to Keep in Any Personal Injury Lawsuit
Below is a short list of records that we tell our clients to keep until their personal injury claim has been resolved:
Lost wages for missed work.
Evidence of any out-of-pocket expenses you may have incurred from your injuries including, prescription receipts, parking fees or other expenses.
Daily journal. In severe injury cases, we often recommend that clients keep track of how the injuries have affected their daily lives. For example, if you were unable to go on paid vacation, or attend a family or friend’s wedding, that is information we want to know. Also, if your injuries have kept you from being able to enjoy certain hobbies or physical activities that is also information that we would want to know about.
Sometimes our clients are involved in accidents where there is no medical insurance, worker's compensation coverage or an auto insurance policy for example if you are injured by an uninsured driver. In this situation, any medical providers will expect to be paid back at the conclusion of the case. Sometimes, medical providers or doctors’ offices will have patients sign a document stating that they will reimburse the medical provider once their case is finalized. Some medical providers will assert a "lien" which must be paid out of the proceeds of your case. If your doctor asks you to sign what is often called a "lien letter," be sure to contact our office. In some cases, it may not be appropriate for you to sign such an agreement.Subrogation
If any insurance company pays for medical expenses on your behalf, the insurance company may attempt to recover some of all of those expenses through a process known as “subrogation." This means that the insurance company will effectively stand in your shoes so-to-speak and will seek to recover those costs from the responsible party. This is handled on a case-by-case basis.Someone May Be Watching
When a claim is filed against an insurance company or their insured, it is possible that in certain cases, the insurance carrier might hire an investigator to monitor your activities and document your physical activities such as gardening, jogging, working, ets…. These investigators will seek to take photos or video of you engaging in any physical activity which can be used to show that you are not as injured as you say you are.Use of Social Media During a Personal Injury Case
With the rising use of social media, many insurance carriers or investigators do not even need to physically observe you if you can do all the work for them. If you are involved in a personal; injury case and you are posting pictures on Instagram or Facebook showing you dancing, hiking or engaging in other forms of activity, there is a good chance that the responsible party’s attorney, insurance carrier or private investigator is going to know about and use it to their advantage.Bankruptcy During a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you are considering filing bankruptcy while you are involved in a personal injury lawsuit or claim, you should know that you may lose all rights to your personal injury case. The Bankruptcy Court can take over your case, settle your case and distribute your settlement money to any creditors, leaving you with little or nothing. Be sure to talk to your lawyer before filing bankruptcy.How Long Will My Personal Injury Case Take?
Usually, we cannot resolve or effectively settle your personal injury claim until you have completed treatment and we know how any injuries will affect you in the future. This is often referred to as a "maximum medical improvement." This does not mean that if you will require injections for the rest of your life to manage pain, or if you may require surgery in the future, that we cannot resolve your case. This just means that we would need to have that information properly documented by your treating doctor so that we may share this information with the insurance carrier and use it to aggressive advocate on your behalf. Many times, we will ask a client’s treating physician to write a report explaining any future prognosis or treatment that may be needed.
As a general rule, it may take up to several months to gather the necessary medical documentation and information needed to effectively settle your claim for the maximum amount of compensation. It is important to have patience during this process and work as a team with your attorney and his/her staff.What Is the Value of My Case?
This is a frequent questions and is one of the most difficult to answer as each case presents its own unique set of facts, injuries, and other factors that are important in any settlement value analysis. For example, a child who sustains a scar injury likely will receive a higher settlement offer from an insurance carrier than an adult male, with certain exceptions. In cases where injuries are severe, the ultimate recovery is often related to the amount of insurance coverage available. Other factors that are taken into consideration include, the nature, severity, and duration of your injuries, whether your injury is permanent or temporary and the extent of any medical expenses that have been incurred. As your attorneys, it is our primary duty to ensure that you receive the maximum amount of compensation that will fairly and justly compensate you for your injuries and losses. We do this by working aggressively as your legal advocate and by thoroughly investigating and preparing your case. We will advise you of our evaluation of your case as we move forward.
In general, most personal injury cases in Massachusetts have the following damages potentially available”
- Compensation for any past and future medical expenses.
- Damages for any pain and suffering as a result of the injuries
- Compensation for any past or future lost wages or reduction in income
- Damages for emotional distress
- Loss of consortium for your spouse or children.
In some cases, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit in order to obtain an adequate recovery for your harms and losses. This is a legal decision that should be made by your attorney with your input. Before filing any lawsuit, we will discuss this with you as the client.
Even if a lawsuit is filed, many times the parties will continue to negotiate as the legal process unfolds and many cases can and will be resolved while the legal action is pending or before a trial takes place.
The following steps are necessary to bring a case to trial:A. The Complaint
While every case is unique, the following steps are typically followed in any Massachusetts personal injury lawsuit:
Complaint or Petition. A lawsuit (or Complaint) is filed in court by you (the plaintiff) against the responsible party (the defendant). The complaint is a statement of facts alleging the names of the parties and alleging why the defendant’s actions entitles the plaintiff to recover damages.
Service of a Summons. Once the complaint is filed, a "summons" is issued by the court to be served on the defendant by an officer of the Court, usually a County Sheriff or constable. This informs the defendant that a lawsuit has been filed and that a response must be made within a given period of time or a judgment will be taken against him/her.
An Answer or Motion. The response filed by the defendant is called an Answer, which is prepared by the defendant’s attorney. Alternatively, if a defendant’s attorney feels that there is a fatal flaw in the complaint, he/she may attempt to file a motion to dismiss the complaint, but this is usually an uphill battle for the defense at this early stage of the case.
Once a complaint is filed, both sides have a right to what is called “discover” which basically is a time period during which each side can "discover" facts about the opposing party’s case. Typically, the discover process takes up to 3-4 months and includes written interrogatories (i.e., written questions), depositions (oral questions in front of a court reporter / stenographer), production of records, and sometimes medical examinations.
One thing to keep in mind is that discovery is allowed by the rules and a party must respond to questions and requests for information from the other side within reasonable limits. If we believe the other side is being abusive or is using the discovery process to harass our client, we will take action first by instructing the opposing party’s attorney to cease from further action and if necessary will file a motion for a protective order with the court.Mediation of a Personal Injury Case
In addition to a trial, there are several ways in which a case can be resolved. One such method is through what is called voluntary mediation. Mediation is a form of dispute resolution where the parties present their case in front of a skilled mediators (usually a former judge or attorney) who assists both sides in attempting to negotiate a fair settlement of the parties’ claims. The results are not binding and this office has used mediation on many occasions to reach very favorable settlements for our clients.Hire a Massachusetts Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured, your legal rights need to be protected. You should hire an experienced Massachusetts personal injury attorney to evaluate and handle your case. Immediate action may be required to preserve all of your rights.
If you feel you have a car accident case, it is vital that you act immediately to protect your legal rights. Please call us at 781-277-3262, or send us an e-mail. Get your FREE legal consultation today with Curran & Desharnais, P.C. You may email Attorney Joseph Curran directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The law office of Curran & Desharnais, P.C. has extensive experience handling all types of personal claims including:
- Claims for medical malpractice
- Auto accidents
- Construction site accidents
- Motorcycle crashes
- Pedestrian accidents
- Slip and fall cases
- Scarring injuries
- Dog bite claims
- Premises liability claims
- Negligent security
- Burn injuries
- Night club and concert venue injuries
- Truck accidents
- And other injury related claims
Curran & Desharnais represents injury victims all over the state of Massachusetts including Boston, Dorchester, Weymouth, Quincy, Braintree, Dedham, Randolph, Norwood, Milton, Hyde Park, Roslindale, Medford, Malden, Westwood, Hingham, Norwell, Scituate, Cohasset, Rockland, Plymouth, Hanover, Kingston, Duxbury, Pembroke, Brockton, Abington, Bridgewater, Whitman, Hanson and else ware.