If you’ve been injured and have a legal claim, you might be wondering what you can do to help your lawyer win your case, or at least obtain a better settlement. While I can’t speak for every lawyer, here are some things that my clients can do to help me get them the best results in their cases:
Initially, it is always helpful when my clients give some thought about how they spent their time before the accident. For instance, perhaps you had to wake up early on Mondays to take the kids to swimming lessons, before dropping them at school, heading into work, then picking up the kids from after school care, coming home and making dinner, cleaning up, making lunches, helping the kids with homework, studying for a course then watching some TV before heading off to bed? The more detail my clients can give me about what their lives involved before their injury, the better job I can do getting them the compensation they deserve.
Build a timeline for your personal injury
In most of my cases, it is important for me to determine what happened, and on what date, so that I can determine the sequence of the various events. As a busy lawyer, I’m often pressed for time, so when my clients are able to assist by providing me with a basic timeline, it allows me to spend more time on other, more important aspects of their cases. In putting together a timeline, it is essential that the information be in brief outline format, as outlined below. It is not helpful when my clients provide me with their versions of ‘War and Peace‘ a famously long novel.
|January 1, 2016
|Got into car accident when T-boned at intersection
|January 3, 2016
|Went to see my family doctor, Dr. Cooper
|May 1, 2016
|Had surgery at Mt. Sinai on left shoulder. Surgery was performed by Dr. Roberts, an orthopaedic surgeon.
Keep a list of medical providers you have seen
After suffering a personal injury, it is common for my clients to see their family doctor, specialists, chiropractors, massage therapists, physiotherapists and sometimes other outside of OHIP medical professionals. Unfortunately, there is often no easy way for me to determine which medical providers my clients have seen, especially if they have been paying for the services themselves, saw the providers only a few times or haven’t seen the provider in years and don’t recall their names. With this in mind, I ask that my clients keep a list on their fridge of each medical facility where they have seen a provider for treatment of their injuries. When my clients do this, it makes it much more feasible for me to obtain their medical records, and in personal injury cases, medical records play a crucial role, both in cases that go to trial and in obtaining favorable settlements. Conversely, to the insurance companies defending claims (and paying settlements and judgments), a lack of records of treatment is equated to a lack of injuries.
Activities You Can No Longer Perform
After a serious accident, there may be certain activities that you are no longer able to perform. Perhaps you are no longer able to play hockey, shovel snow or mow the lawn. I find for many of my clients, it is useful to think of their lives from before the accident (the baseline) and then write out a list of things they are no longer able to do, either because of new physical limitations or due to pain. In almost all cases, it is best to have given this matter some thought before being asked about it at discoveries.
Activities You Have Difficulty Performing
After suffering serious injuries, there may be some activities that you find harder to do. Perhaps you now have more difficulty with housework, such as cleaning bathrooms, doing dishes, mopping floors or cutting the grass or shovelling snow? Perhaps there are certain aspects of your job you now struggle with, but didn’t before? Again, I encourage my clients to make a list of all activities they have difficulty performing as a result of their injuries.
Save receipts of expenses you have incurred
In any type of legal claim, if you have incurred additional expenses and want to be reimbursed, keep your receipts! Ideally, you will keep them all for me in date order, fastened to a binder, but even if they are only in a shoe box, the important thing is that you can prove you incurred various expenses. In the personal injury context, expenses could be for things like assistive devices, housekeeping assistance, over the counter medication and any medical providers not covered by OHIP. As a general rule, no receipts = no reimbursement.
Our Personal Injury Lawyers Are Here To Help You!
If you have suffered serious injuries, or otherwise have a serious legal claim, contact us to schedule a consultation with our Toronto and Hamilton personal injury lawyers. We have the experience and determination to help you get the compensation you deserve.