Okay, everyone…I don’t know about you, but I thought that the “Hiring A Lawyer 101, 102, and 103” series was a lot of information for us pups to take in. I need to break this down so that I can really nail it for my upcoming test.
Spring Break is OVER, party people; it’s time to get serious with the latest edition of Bradi Bear’s “Sparky Notes!”
Hiring a Lawyer: Brief (another lawyer pun there)
- You DEF need a lawyer if…
○ You are hurt badly, have high medical bills, are unable to work and have lost wages, the insurance company has denied your claim, or the settlement offer doesn’t cover those lost wages
○ It’s unclear exactly WHO is responsible for the accident
○ It’s been more than a year and the claim still hasn’t been resolved
- Insurance Adjusters look out for their OWN company – not you…Personal Injury Lawyers do that
Filing a Claim from Start to Finish
- File that claim
○ STEP 1: Get as MUCH info as possible (police reports, photos, statements)
○ STEP 2: Be released from doctor (to make sure all costs are covered)
○ STEP 3: Request other important documents (medical records, lost wages, etc)
○ STEP 4: Compile, make a settlement demand, and send to insurance
○ STEP 5: Negotiate/Accept Offers
○ (OPTIONAL) STEP 6: File a Lawsuit
SAY WHAT? You’re probably thinking, “I thought lawyers always go to court?” Nope, most cases actually settle OUTSIDE of court; if you can’t reach a fair settlement, though, it may be time to TAKE ACTION (legal action, that is).
“Discovery” Process (AKA: get alllll the facts)
- STEP 1: Disclosure – Requests from both parties for certain items
- STEP 2: Interrogatories – Requests to defendant to answer specific questions
- STEP 3: Request for Production – Requests for documents like bank statements
- STEP 4: Request for Admission – Agree/Deny a written list of facts about the case
- STEP 5: Deposition – Formal interview with sworn statements that can be used in the court of law
At This Point, Your Attorney May…
- Receive a settlement offer before going to trial – sometimes, defendants want to avoid the courtroom!
- Engage in mediation, where a third party attempts to help negotiate a settlement.
- Go to trial – this is similar to the judge/jury situation you’re used to seeing on TV, without all of the added TV drama (looking at you, Law and Order).
To learn more about “Hiring a Lawyer,” read the following: