10 Tips To Win Your Injury Case
Your goal when hiring an attorney is to win your case. However, even the most skilled and experienced attorney has a better opportunity to win when working with a helpful and cooperative client. The following 10 tips will help you win your case:
1. IMMEDIATELY SEEK MEDICAL TREATMENT OF ALL INJURIES. It is important to seek medical attention for all injuries you experience after your accident. Be sure to inform the medical staff of all pains and unusual sensations that you are experiment after the accident. Medical professionals must know all of your symptoms in order to properly diagnose and treat your injuries. It is always best if your medical condition is promptly and accurately document in medical records generated shortly after the incident. You should also fill and take as directed any medications any medication prescribed by treating physicians and follow the discharge instructions. If your symptoms get worse after being discharged from the hospital you should seek medical care.
2. PRESERVE ALL AVAILABLE EVIDENCE. We recommend you save the item that contributed to your injury when possible. For example, if you slipped on a piece of fruit or a vegetable, place the item in a plastic bag and freeze it. You should keep the shoes you were wearing at the time of a fall. Ripped or blood soak garments should also be preserved because they can help to graphically and properly communicate the truly horrific nature of catastrophic injuries. Keep all durable medical supplies that you use as a result of your injuries. Also, make note of any surveillance cameras in the area so that your attorneys can take proper actions to preserve video.
3. COME PREPARED TO THE INITIAL CONSULTATION. Be sure to organize and bring all the document that relate to your accident and medical treatment, including accident and police reports, the names and contact information of any possible defendants and witnesses, anything said by defendants and witnesses after the incident, makes, models and license plates of any involved vehicles, and the names of all treating doctors and medical facilities where you received treatment, as well as your hospital discharge paperwork. Be prepared to provide a detailed description of the events before during and after your injury, including dates and times. Be ready to indicate your current heath care plan and primary care physician, if any. If you are concerned that you may forget some of the details it is recommended that you write a letter addressed to the attorney(s) you will be consulting with. Taking this precaution will ensure that the writing, as an attorney-client communication will not be subject to disclosure to the defendant, insurance carrier, and their lawyers.
4. TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS. It has long been said that a picture speaks a thousand words. We are evolutionarily predisposed to believe what we see with our own eyes. When feasible you should take pictures of the location where the accident occurred as well as any vehicles, structures, products, or dangerous conditions that contributed to your accident. It is also important to take photos of all visible injuries, clothes and shoes you were wearing and medical supplies such as wheelchairs, crutches, canes, casts, splints, and braces. If you are unable to take photographs or obtain any statements, an attorney at Certain & Zilberg makes prompt arrangements to take photographs obtain as much information as possible. However, please keep in mind, obtaining information hours, days, weeks or even months after an accident scene has been cleaned up or your visible injuries have begun to heal is less useful.
5. FOLLOW THROUGH WITH MEDICAL TREATMENT. Following serious injuries, it is common to received prescription for additional medication, be scheduled for follow-up medical appointments, including physical therapy, and be sent for medical testing and imaging studies, such as MRI’s, as well as receiving a recommendation for surgery. It is important for your recovery as well as your case that you follow all of these medical appointments and directives.
6. KEEP YOUR ATTORNEYS INFORMED. As your condition and medical treatment change it is important to update your lawyer. These changes can dramatically change the strength of your legal claim. It is important to keep your lawyer up to date on your injuries. Be sure to tell your lawyer how your injuries have effected your work, household chores, hobbies and recreation activity as well as mental health. (i.e., Has your lack of activity as a result of the accident caused you to gain weight? Has your inability to work caused you to suffer from anxiety, depression, incontinence or sexual dysfunction?)
7. SOCIAL MEDIA. It is recommended that you refrain from using social media following your accident. Defendants have been known to misrepresent social media messages, posts, and images to minimize plaintiff’s injuries. (i.e. using a picture of a plaintiff in running shoes and shorts to suggest that the plaintiff if running or holding a baby for a few seconds while a picture is being taken to suggest that a medical lifting restriction should not be considered by a jury). If you are unable to refrain from using social media we suggest that you keep your media private and limit your postings to items that you wouldn’t mind showing to the defendants, insurance companies and a jury deciding your case.
8. BE ACCURATE AND TRUTHFUL. Do not be afraid to be completely honest; your case doesn’t have to be perfect for you to prevail. However, your attorneys can be most effective if they are fully aware of the strengths and weaknesses of your case. Knowing the issues will leave your counsel in the best position to minimize the impact of these issues. Your lawyer cannot share confidential information with anyone unless you give them permission to do so. It is important that you be as accurate as possible in your communications with your lawyer who must also be just as careful and accurate in preparing your case.
9. DOCUMENT YOUR FINANCIAL LOSSES. If you are earning less as a result of your injuries, it is important to keep your before and after pay stubs, tax returns, W2 and 1099 forms and any other records that show financial losses that are caused by your accident and injuries. Also keep records of all of your out of pocket expenses related to medical treatment.
10. MAKE YOURSELF AVAILABLE FOR PREPARATION. The deposition and trial testimony of the plaintiff are often the most critically important parts of building a strong case. As the plaintiff, you are the most valuable member of your own litigation team. In most situations no one will know more about the occurrence than the people who experience it and no one will understand your pain and suffering more than you. In order to prepare you for these important phases, you should be ready to attend several preparation sessions with your lawyer to help you communicate effectively during your deposition and trial.