Over the course of 35 years as a personal injury attorney, I've learned what things to do and what things to avoid to get the best result in your Maryland car accident or personal injury claim. Here are my “Inside” Secrets for Clients to get what they deserve . . .
INSTRUCTIONS TO CLIENTS IN AUTO ACCIDENT CASES
- Confidential relationship Our relationship as attorney and client is a special one. Our conversations are protected by law as confidential and information you give me may not and will not be disclosed to anyone without your permission.
- Talk to No One Do not talk to anyone except your family about your case, unless a lawyer or investigator from our office is present. You should always require identification so that you are sure to whom you are talking. DO NOT talk to your own insurance company, company representative, or any attorney or investigator without first notifying our office so we can be present and you are prepared. We will want any statement taken in our office. If you have already given a statement let us know now.
- Your Doctor Return to your doctors as often as they feel it is necessary. You should always report each of your symptoms to them. Do not minimize your ailments to your doctors. A doctor must know these things to treat you properly. If they refer you to any additional doctors or therapists, please advise us before you see them and tell us their names and addresses. Discuss with your doctor your ability to work. Obtain a disability (off work) statement from your doctor if you are to remain out of work on doctor's instructions.
- Records Please Keep Accurate and Detailed Records of the following:
Lost time and lost wages or earnings of any sort;
Hospital, doctor, drug and other medical bills;
Other losses or expenses caused by your injury;
Notes or a diary of your physical complaints, and the effect of your injury on your daily life;
Any insurance policy that might provide you with coverage or protection.
Pay bills by check or money order and keep your receipts. The keeping of these records will be very helpful later when you may need to remember your pain, difficulties, and expenses.
- Car Repairs and Photographs If your automobile has not been repaired, do not do so until we can inspect and photograph it. If it has been repaired, please supply a copy of the repair estimates and final bills. If your case involves a product or instrument not in your control, try to see that it is not repaired, altered or disposed of until we have photographed it and had it examined by an expert, if necessary.
- Court or Other Testimony Do not appear or give statements before a traffic court or any type of hearing without first notifying us so that we may be with you at such a hearing, if necessary. The reason for this is to be sure that you do not prejudice yourself in the action in which we represent you.
- Witnesses Furnish us with the names, addresses and telephone numbers of any witnesses. This includes people that know about how your injury has affected you (such as friends, family, neighbors, fellow workers or employees). If you have any reason to think that a witness may be leaving the area permanently, please call us so we can take their statement or deposition now.
- Evidence Get and give to us or tell us about any photographs concerning your case. You may give us the negatives and/or prints of photographs. If you are in the hospital and are receiving any type of treatment like traction or physical therapy, notify us so that we can arrange for photographs. If your injury requires a cast, brace, traction, or other appliance, save it for evidence at trial. Notify us that you have these items, and bring these items with you to trial. Let us know whether your insurance carrier or company took photographs or investigated your case.
- Hospital and Medical Bills Use your own medical insurance, if available, to pay as many hospital and doctor bills as possible. Doctors and hospitals are more cooperative when we pay their bills. You should not expect them to wait until we try or settle your case to receive payment. Pay any balance when possible. If any bill remains unpaid, please call us. We will speak to your creditor and try to get them to wait until we conclude the case. If you do not call us until they have hired a lawyer or started collection, it may be too late for us to help.
- Questions We may not contact you on a set schedule but will contact you from time to time when necessary. The fact that you do not hear from us is no indication that we are not working on your file since a great deal of work is done between the insurance companies, court, and lawyers. If you have any questions about these instructions or about your case, please call us.
- Change of Address or Telephone Number Many times it is important that we be able to contact you immediately. Be sure to keep us advised of any change in your address or telephone number.