It’s important that you keep in mind that the process of settlement in personal injury cases takes time. There are two options in settling a case; the first is that your attorney and the defense attorney/insurance company can come to a fair settlement which compensates you for the expenses of treatment, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, if your attorney advises you that in his or her professional opinion, the amount offered is insufficient to compensate your losses fairly, he or she will suggest that a lawsuit be filed.
If a suit is filed, that means it will take more time until your case is settled. We suggest that you always maintain some savings in order to tide you over in emergencies—this will give your attorney the opportunity to pursue your case to a reasonable and fair conclusion. It’s always better to negotiate without immediate financial pressure, because if you are desperate for money, you will settle for less. At Stillman & Friedland, part of our job is to help you avoid this trap—and the sooner you call us, the more we can help you!
Another key point, in addition to not discussing your case with friends and neighbors, is to remember that you should allow your attorney to handle the case. Your lawyer is a professional and has years of experience in how best to deal with the insurance companies and their lawyers. You must feel that your attorney is competent and available to take the time to explain the process and answer your questions. At Stillman and Friedland, we know how important this is to you, and we make sure you have all the information.
In the event that your case goes to court, you may be required to make a recorded statement or deposition as evidence. NEVER do this without your attorney! We will advise you how to answer questions.
You must answer the questions truthfully and without adding information or guessing about facts which you don’t know. If you don’t know an answer, the answer is, “I don’t know.” Remember that the legal process is facts-based: you are there to testify to the facts of the case and not to inject your anger or your opinions into the proceedings.
One of our jobs is to help you set aside your anger and personal interests, so you will be a competent and objective party to your own law suit!
In a few examples, we will illustrate how important your attorney is in helping you correctly navigate this process:
Q. Would you say you are a careful driver?
A. Yes, most of the time, except for last year when I accidentally hit a dog that ran across the street.
What’s wrong? If you are a careful driver and got your last ticket 26 years ago, say yes! We are sad for Fido, but a neighbor’s unleashed dog is immaterial to your actual case in which the other driver is at fault. Don’t help the other side with information irrelevant to the case at hand, but possibly damaging for you.
Q. What time does the Super Supermarket usually wash their floor in the dairy aisle?
A. I guess around after lunch, maybe 1:00?
What’s wrong? How are you, as a shopper supposed to know when the floor may be wet? It’s the store’s job to alert you that the floor is wet . When you don’t know, the answer is: “I don’t know!”
Q. Are you sure all your back pain is due to this accident, and not a prior injury?
A. Well, I have had some slight pain which bothered me just about every morning, but I always managed to get around. Since that moron back-ended me I can barely drag myself around the house—it’s so depressing!
What’s wrong? Insulting the other party is mean-spirited. Don’t interject your feelings, simply state whether or not you had a prior back accident; your medical records and/or testimony will state and clarify your condition before and following the injury. Never hide a prior injury or treatment, but allow your lawyer to reveal it and advise you how to deal with these and many other issues.
You can and should be a partner to work with your attorney in settling your case. Keep track of expenses, get treatment and therapy as needed, and if there is something you don’t understand about your case, ask your attorney. If you think your lawyer is not doing enough, you need to talk to him or her.
We at Stillman & Friedland will always explain the process to you—just ask. We know that every detail is important—a small error can cost your entire case!
Remember, never “go it alone”—we are only a call or an email away! Sooner is better than later when you are dealing with health and financial issues, and at Stillman & Friedland, we work for you and with you—it’s the way we’ve worked for 30 years and it is our pledge of service to our clients.
Call Jay at 615-244-2111 or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org