After hiring a Car Accident Lawyer, one should always keep a tab on his working and should be clear of the services that he should be getting from the lawyer. Only then can you extract best possible and timely results. This article deals with the list of services that your lawyer should be providing you. The list has been segregated into certain categories to make it easier for you to grasp and take advantage out of these.
Expected Services before Signing the Contract:
- Conducting an initial interview with you to learn about and evaluate the insights of your case.
- Answer all of your queries and educate about the car accident claims process completely.
- Explain in detail the written agreement for services before you sign it. He is also bound to give you a copy of the agreement for your reference and records.
- He should investigate properly and gather documentary evidence about your accident.
- He should review your health insurance policy, if you have any. Your medical policies’ terms and conditions should be made clear to you. It should also be informed that what medical bills are covered under the policy.
- He should also suggest you some new car insurance policies or plans that you need to purchase for future protection.
- The lawyer is also supposed to interview the witnesses to determine how your accident happened.
- He should also collect photographs of the accident scene and also any other evidence, if possible.
- He should prepare legal authorizations for your signature so that copies of your medical and employment records can be obtained.
- He should also obtain copies of your medical records, medical bills and documentation of your lost income to understand your condition.
Insurance Company dealing:
- It is also his part of job to assist you in getting your car repaired and in arranging for a rental car for you while your car is unavailable.
- He should also assist you in submitting claims to your insurance company, such as PIP claims.
Opposing Insurance Company dealing:
- The insurance company should be contacted for the driver who was at fault and put it on notice regarding your claim.
- He should help you decide whether it is better to negotiate a settlement of your injury claim or file a suit in court without attempting negotiations.
- It’s also his job to prepare a thorough “Settlement Letter” or “Demand Letter” that describes and portrays the cause of your accident and all of your resulting injuries, losses and damages that occurred because of the accident.
- He should also step in for negotiating with the insurance company’s adjuster to achieve the best possible settlement offer.
- He should also assist you in analyzing all the settlement offers and advise you. Still, the final decision would be yours.
- In case of any time-bound requirements, the lawyer should give appropriate notices of your claim to potential defendants.
- Make sure that the case is settled or filed in court within the Statute of Limitations.
Filing a Legal Suit:
- Preparing the initiating paper, usually called a Complaint, and doing the other necessary arrangement required to file your case.
- He should also send across the written Interrogatories (questions) to those you have sued.
- He should also prepare and send a request to ensure the authenticity of sued people.
- He also assists in taking a deposition of those you have sued, if appropriate and of the witnesses.
- The lawyer should be prompt enough to assist you in answering Interrogatories sent across by the opposite lawyer.
- He should be apt at preparing a response to the defendant’s letter requesting you to produce documents with respect to the accident, such as your medical records and bills and your tax records as well in case you claim the loss of income.
- It’s his responsibility to make sure that all the rules are strictly followed and that the defence counsel treats you well and in case a defence medical exam is scheduled, should prepare you for that.
- All the necessary pre-trial motions should be filed and prompt defence strategy should be followed against any motions filed by the defence by doing required legal research.
- He should also comply with all court rules and deadlines for conducting pre-trial procedures.
Lawyer’s approach in case of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR): In case the case is referred to mediation, the lawyer must help you to prepare for the mediation so that the mediator’s decisions fall into your lap. In case arbitration is agreed upon, he should prepare for the same and present your case to the arbitrator.
Trial and Post-trial: If the case is not settled out of court and has to go to trial, your lawyer is supposed to prepare your and your witnesses’ testimony, prepare exhibits that are to be introduced at trial, cross-examine the witnesses of the defendant, analyze and prepare for the anticipated legal issues that are supposed to rise during the trial. Preparing a good opening and closing statement is also one of the important jobs. Analyzing the jury’s verdict to advise the way forward also falls in the lawyer’s kitty of work.
Nutshell: The lawyer’s job frame basically includes keeping you posted on the status of your claim/case, providing you copies of all the important documents sent or received regarding your case, answer your queries promptly and constantly evaluating and re-evaluating your claim as it becomes clear and advise you accordingly. All the services mentioned above may or may not be required in every case. Scope of services always depends on the facts of your case and the method through which it is resolved. Though depending on the case requirements, your lawyer might have to go beyond the services mentioned in this article, but this constitutes a fairly complete list of scope of services of a lawyer representing you in a car accident case. In case you choose to represent yourself, this list will act as a checklist for you to remind you the things that you must do for a smooth execution of the case.