Personal Injury Litigation
Litigation can be overwhelming for average people. There is the feeling that he/she has been wronged by another’s negligent conduct. As a result of the negligence, the client was injured and this injury may have prevented the client from working and/or caused the client much pain and suffering. Such pain and suffering may have been for a closed period of time and in other cases, the client has a permanent disability.
Litigation is a process that many clients can find to be an invasion into their privacy. However, that is part of the process. The attorneys for the negligent parties are allowed to engage in a process known as “Discovery”. This Discovery process can include 1): the sending of numerous questions (Interrogatories) to be answered by the client; 2) the sending of requests for numerous documents; 3) the taking of a recorded statement of the client; 4) the taking of a deposition of the client and 5) the obtaining of all prior medical records of the client even if not related to the accident in the case. This is known as submitting a keeper of records deposition subpoena on each medical provider for whatever records may exist concerning the client.
Many clients may feel intimidated by these tactics and may experience anxiety and stress in reliving the accident through this process. It is important to have an attorney with the required competence to keep the other attorneys “in check” and possibly limit the extent and scope of the discovery. In one case, a client with an extensive medical history also had an unrelated background with mental illness. The Attorney was able to obtain an order from the court limiting the other attorney’s access to the client’s prior medical records to exclude the highly confidential psychological records.
Some depositions can be lengthy and attorneys have wide latitude in questioning clients at a deposition. This Attorney ensures that enough time is spent with the client to properly and adequately prepare the client to give testimony at the deposition. Additionally, the Attorney ensures that the deposition is conducted in a proper manner and takes whatever steps are necessary to reduce the stress of the deposition process to the client. The Attorney also spends the requisite amount of time necessary to assist the client in properly answering the questions asked by the other attorneys as well as providing responses to the other attorneys’ requests for documents.
In many larger firms, the client may retain an attorney in the particular firm but in going through the litigation process, the client may have little to no contact with that attorney that the client initially hired. Instead, the client may meet with other associates (fresh out of law school) or paralegals (non-lawyers) in going through the litigation process. With retaining this Attorney with more than 25 years of experience, the client has the benefit of a seasoned attorney taking the client step by step through the long and sometimes stressful process of litigation. This is important for the continuity of the case and gives the client a sense of comfort during the pending case.