You Can Never Be Too Prepared
Most lawyers will tell you that the most difficult part of their job is to manage the information that flows into their offices. A large part of that information is designed to help the lawyer prepare your case for settlement or trial. Some law firms don't attempt to prepare the case unless it is going to trial. A few law firms don't prepare the case until the last few days before trial.
At our office, we are in a constant state of preparing cases for settlement or trial. As soon as our client is at maximum medical improvement, we start gathering their medical records. It is crucial to have all medical records together early so that a proper assessment of the value and quality of the case can be made. Often the medical records will give us an idea of where problems may occur in the case. We also want to get witnesses identified and if possible, interviewed, photos taken, experts identified.... The list could fill this website. Proper preparation is gathering all the supplies to build the case.
Insurance companies feel that they are in the driver's seat right now with the economic problems and some of the recent changes in the law. The only way we can push the insurance companies to offer reasonable settlements for our clients is if the companies feel like we are always pushing them. The only way we can accomplish that is by showing the companies that we are preparing the case for trial and preparing it well.
If the case is in trial, juries and judges like to see that the lawyer trying the case is knowledgeable about the case and can clearly show the judge and jury what happened and how it affected their client. Juries can sense whether an attorney has properly built their case. Often a difficult case can be successful when the appropriate work is put into it.
Question is, how do you know your attorney is doing the necessary work? It is very difficult to tell, but a good office will send you copies of most of the letters, record requests, etc., that are going out the door of the office. One of my clients told me, "I know you guys are working my case, I get a copy of something in the mail nearly every day. I really like that." Also, you can generally measure whether your attorney is learning more and more about your case every time you meet. They should be gathering information and becoming more knowledgeable, especially after they start receiving medical bills and records.
Preparation is key to a great settlement or a good result in trial.
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