8 Ways to Help Your Personal Injury Lawyer Help Your Case
I found this over at the Springfield Injury Law Blog and it was such a good post that I wanted to post it here:
If you have been hurt in a car accident and have hired a personal injury lawyer to help with your case, you've already taken the first step to securing a more successful outcome. Below are eight simple things you can do to positively influence your personal injury case. Certainly there are other things your lawyer will request of you, but this list covers the basics of helping your lawyer, help you.
1. Give your lawyer the whole story
The conversations you have with your personal injury lawyer are confidential and protected by attorney-client privilege so you can tell the truth without fear of others finding out. Your lawyer must keep what you say in strict confidence. Don't omit details about the events in an accident just because they may be embarrassing or you think make you look like you did something wrong. A good injury attorney will take all the facts of your case and know how to present less flattering elements in the best possible light and keep the impact to a minimum. If your lawyer first hears about an important detail that you omitted from the lawyer on the other side, it can have devastating effects on your personal injury case. Caught unprepared, he/she is at a disadvantage in keeping potentially unfavorable facts from hurting your case and it can make it impossible to disprove negative accusations if there is not time to investigate. Be sure to tell your lawyer everything and answer all questions truthfully.
2. Go to doctor appointments and follow doctor recommendations
Since you hired a personal injury lawyer, you must have an injury. Therefore, getting well should be your first priority. You can't do that if you aren't going to the doctor or aren't following your doctor's recommendations for treatment or therapy. If you miss your doctor appointments, you are telling the other side that you must not be hurt and therefore, don't need any compensation for your injuries or medical bills.
3. Don't talk about your case with anyone but your lawyer
Don't tell your friends, family or coworkers about your personal injury lawsuit. Insurance companies will try and manipulate things you say and use them against you to reduce the compensation paid. This includes not mentioning your case on your blog, Facebook, MySpace or Twitter. See #4 below.
4. Put a hold on Facebook and Twitter
What you say in a post, tweet or status update can reveal a lot of about your activities and state of mind. If you are claiming serious injuries, but tweet about an upcoming deep sea fishing trip or post photos of you learning to snowboard, you can be sure an insurance company will find them and use them against you. Insurance companies are not above sending private investigators to physically follow those claiming injuries and following someone in cyberspace is just as easy and effective. Don't rely on privacy settings of social media applications to protect you. It is better to avoid making any updates until after your case has closed. Learn more about social networking and personal injury cases.
5. Supply all requested documents on time
You will need to fill out a variety of forms and provide insurance and medical documents periodically to your personal injury lawyer. Return any forms fully completed and provide documents in a timely manner to keep your case progressing and help your lawyer meet any filing deadlines. The legal process will naturally take long enough, see #6 below. Don't add to that by taking extra time to provide requested information after your accident.
6. Be patient
After a car accident, collecting necessary information such as police reports, information from witnesses, and paperwork from doctors takes time. Additionally, when injuries are involved there must be a confirmation and stabilization of medical conditions so time must pass while you receive medical tests and start to heal. Naturally, the insurance company will drag its feet before making any payments. Do not plan on getting a check in a week. If a personal injury lawyer tries to quickly settle your case you could lose out on all the compensation you may be entitled to receive.
7. Ask questions
If you don't understand something about your personal injury case, ask your lawyer to explain it. You should be aware of status of your case and what to expect along the way. This is YOUR CASE. The more you understand, the better you can participate and help your lawyer and your case.
8. Listen to your lawyer
You chose an experienced personal injury attorney because he/she can use the law to help you maximize the compensation you can receive for your injuries, lost wages and other pain and suffering after your car accident. What a lawyer may ask you to do (or not do) or the information you are requested to provide is based on their experience and knowledge of the law. For that reason, you should listen to your lawyer and cooperate with requests in order for you to secure the best possible outcome after your accident.