Memo to New Clients in Injury Cases
MEMO TO NEW CLIENTS IN
ACCIDENT (also known as “Personal Injury”) CASES
TO: New Accident Clients
FROM: Joe Byars P.A. Ltd.; Byars & Hall, P.L.L.C., Attorneys at Law
1. What is the purpose of this memo?
The purpose of this memo is to give you some basic information on what to expect and provide a reference which may answer many of the questions you may have about your accident (personal injury) case.
2. What types of accident cases does Christian, Byars & Hickey handle?
At Byars & Hall, our attorneys are experienced in handling virtually all types of accident cases, including the complex serious injury cases involving, truck wrecks, wrongful death, nursing home abuse, medical negligence, and dangerous or defective products, known as product liability cases. These are only to name a few. Often times, even the “simple” automobile or car accident can have serious injuries which deserve the hiring of accident reconstruction experts, engineers, and consultants, which we will engage on your behalf, if necessary, to prove the fault of the negligent party. We understand the importance of making a thorough investigation and the need to gather all documentation, witness statements, and photographs necessary to present the case in a highly professional and persuasive manner.
3. What is the general process of pursuing a personal injury claim?
Byars & Hall will promptly begin to gather the information pertinent to your claim, and to advocate your position to the opposing party, which is usually an insurance company and its adjusters and attorneys. Ultimately, in many cases, we will present your case in court. However, a majority of cases are settled by agreement prior to trial. Our goal is to zealously advocate your position in order to maximize the amount of your claim within the bounds of the law, and the applicable legal standards of attorneys. The information we gather will include the facts of how the accident occurred, and the nature and extent of the injuries suffered by you. This takes the form of gathering witness statements, police reports, photographs, medical reports, medical bills, and wage loss information. We then present the information in the following order: 1) first, we will present the information to an insurance company or adjuster to see if we are able to obtain an appropriate resolution without the necessity of filing suit; 2) then, if we are unable to settle the case prior to suit, we will then file suit, and present the information, and advocate your position to the attorneys for the insurance company. Sometimes, the attorneys for the insurance company evaluate the risk at an amount higher than the insurance adjuster, and we are able to settle the case after a suit is filed, but before trial. Most lawsuits that are filed in court do settle before the trial, but each case is different. Our philosophy is that the insurance company and its lawyers should know and understand that we will be prepared to try the case before a jury, if necessary. Our attorneys have personally handled the presentation of many cases to a jury, and we will be glad to represent you in a jury trial, if needed.
4. How do I become a client of Joe Byars or Byars & Hall, PLLC?
Please call our firm at 479-494-1800, or send an e-mail to one of our attorneys. We will schedule an appointment to see you as soon as possible. The initial consultation is free of charge. If we decide to undertake your case, we will have you sign our standard contingency fee agreement, which basically allows for payment to our firm of a percentage of the recovery. Sending an e-mail does not mean that you have become a client. It is only after we accept your representation, and both you and our firm sign a written contingent fee agreement, that you become our client. If you do not win, you will not owe a fee in accident cases.
5. Once I am a client, how do I help with my case?
As the client, you are expected to be available, and cooperate with us in gathering the information needed. The first and primary order of business for the client is to simply do the best you can to cooperate fully with your treating physicians so you can physically heal as much as possible. You should understand that eventually, the insurance company, and possibly a jury will be able to review your medical records and they will be able to see whether you did your part in trying to heal from your injuries. For example, if a physician recommends physical therapy, it will be important to your claim to keep your appointments for physical therapy. Your physicians will prescribe treatment and will make notes about his findings in your records. Accordingly, you should not exaggerate the extent of your injuries, nor should you try to be a “hero”. Tell your doctor about all of the problems you are having.
Please review all letters and email correspondence that we send to you. Usually, when we send something to you, it will relate to a request for some information, or perhaps to sign an authorization to obtain additional information.
6. What information is needed to process my claim?
We will undertake to investigate your case, to develop proof that your injuries were caused by the negligence and/or gross negligence of another party. This is known as the “liability” aspect of your case. In some cases, we work extensively to develop the proof that another person is legally responsible for your injuries. If you have any documents or photographs which you think may have any bearing at all on your case (good or bad), you should provide them to us, as we will need them for an investigation. Please do not take it upon yourself to conduct your own investigation. Instead, please let us know the names, addresses, and phone numbers (or any known information) of the persons you expect may be witnesses, or who may have information about your case, and allow us to make contact.
In order for us to prove the amount of your damages, we will need to document the nature and extent of your injuries through medical records and medical bills. We will have you sign an authorization for the release of your medical records and bills. We will need for you to tell us the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all physicians you have seen for the treatment of your injuries as issue, in addition to the names, addresses and phone numbers of other doctors you have seen. Most of the time, in significant injury cases, the insurance companies will also request you to sign an authorization so that they will normally obtain your records as well. We will need to review any such requests from the insurance company, however, to verify that they are not overstepping their rights in this regard.
7. How does my case get settled?
We will not settle your case without your understanding, consent, and authority. Generally, after we have determined the nature and extent of your injuries, (which is determined after you receive reasonable and necessary medical treatment), we will discuss with you a calculation of your damages, which will include components for:
a) medical expense (in the past and/or in the future);
b) pain, suffering, and mental anguish;
c) permanent impairment or disfigurement, if any; and,
d) lost wages or loss of earning capacity.
After we have discussed fully your injuries and economic damages, we will sit down together or have a telephone conference to agree upon an amount to be requested, understanding that there will be some negotiations which may take place before a settlement is reached.
In the event a settlement is not negotiated by agreement, your case will proceed to trial. Rest assured that we will be prepared for presentation of the case at trial, if necessary. In such event, we will be in increased contact for trial preparation, and you will certainly be aware of the trial date well in advance of trial.
8. How does the client best communicate with the attorney?
You may contact Joe Byars by phone at (479) 494-1800, or if any of our attorneys are unavailable, ask to speak with the attorney’s paralegal and assistant and leave a detailed message with her. In many cases a member of our staff will be able to assist you. You may send an e-mail to Joe Byars at firstname.lastname@example.org .
As you can imagine, we handle a number of cases for many different clients, and we do our best to give each case the attention they deserve. There will be certain times during the pendency of your claim, often due to approaching deadlines, whether set by the Court or our own internal process, when our attention may necessarily be on a different case. Please understand that all of our cases and clients are important to us, and we will address your questions as soon as we can.