New clients ask me that all the time. What is their involvement going to consist of?
I tell them there are a couple general rules to keep in mind.
Keep In touch with your attorneys
First of all, you’ve got to keep in touch with us. We can’t do a great job on your case if we don’t have your help. We need to know whether you have been able to return to work, and if you have not been able to do so, we want to know more about the medical treatment you are receiving.
Have you been contacted by insurance companies—your own or the other driver’s insurance company—to request a statement? Has the other driver’s lawyer attempted to contact you even though you have a personal injury attorney?
These are all things we need to know, and in many cases, we will want to prepare you for any conversations you will need to have that can affect the outcome of your case. For instance, if you will need to give a recorded statement to an insurer, you do not want to do this until you have spoken at length with a California personal injury attorney. The better you stay in contact with us and continue to update us on your progress, the more we can do to assist with your claim.
Make sure to follow your doctors advice and guidance
Secondly, if you’re still treating for your accident or injuries, please make sure to follow your doctor’s advice–follow their treatment recommendations–because there’s nothing we can do to finally resolve your case until you’re medically stable. We will also want to keep track of all of your doctor’s appointments, treatment schedules and surgeries, and rehabilitative therapy appointments.
And if the accident resulted in emotional distress, and you have sought treatment from a mental health counselor, we want to know about that, too. This information will be extremely important when seeking damages in your case. You should not be responsible for paying for any of the necessary treatment associated with an accident that resulted from another party’s negligence.
Assist us in answering the questions and getting the facts of the case
In terms of the formalities of litigation, your role (among other things) as a plaintiff will be to assist us in answering written questions. You’ll work with our paralegal assistants to provide personal information (specific information) about the case. You’ll produce documents. If you have a wage loss claim we’ll need some check stubs or W2s for example. All of this information will help us to build the strongest case we can for you. The more information we get directly from you, the better we are able to serve you in the litigation process. All of this detailed information ultimately will allow us to seek financial compensation for you that can help to compensate you for your economic losses (such as the cost of medical bills and lost wages), as well as non-economic losses (such as pain and suffering or the loss of enjoyment of life).
Be prepared to give a deposition
Further on down the road you’ll give a deposition. What that is is basically a question and answer session. I’ll be there and the lawyer from the other side will ask you questions (under oath) about your accident, about your injuries, and how they’ve affected your life. We will prepare you for the deposition by working with you one-on-one as you get ready for this important step in the litigation process. We know that this can be very stressful for plaintiffs, but it helps us to learn more about the defendant’s side of the story in order to better prepare your case.
Attend the mediation if there is one
The next step would be normally to attend a mediation process, which is where both sides agree to hire a neutral party to help them resolve the case prior to trial. This is the stage at which cases can be settled. Depending on the nature of your case, and the settlement offer, a settlement might be the best thing for you. Often, we can negotiate generous settlement offers for our clients, and you can begin the process of moving on with your life. It is extremely important that you show up for the mediation process, though. As we mentioned previously, we cannot do this without you.
Get ready to go to trial
Next, there would be a trial if your case hasn’t settled up to that point. That’s a little more involved, but in short, it’s what you’ve seen in movies and TV. You’d be on the stand answering questions in front of a judge and jury. Of course, we would do everything to prepare you for that.
But mostly, you work with us, you listen to us, and we listen to you. That’s the best way for you to have the best outcome.
Questions? Contact a Northern California Accident Lawyer
At GJEL Accident Attorneys, we provide personalized representation to each of our clients. As such, you will play an extremely important role throughout the litigation process. Did you recently sustain injuries in a motor vehicle collision or in a pedestrian accident?
An experienced California accident lawyer can get started on your case. Contact GJEL Accident Attorneys today to learn more about the services we provide.