Yes. For example, the most important piece of information that you will want to have is the amount of the other driver’s insurance coverage limit. This is rarely given out without an attorney’s help. Worse, without an attorney, you have no way of checking to see if the amount you are told is correct. The amount of the policy limit is critical. If it’s a small policy, it is more likely you will be able to settle the case more quickly. If you have underinsured motorist coverage, you can then begin making your underinsured motorist coverage claim. On the other hand, if the insurance policy is large, then you know that it makes sense to spend the necessary time and for your attorney to spend the money necessary to present your case as fully as possible. You can take this step, because there will be enough coverage available to pay your claim in full.
Once the attorney files the suit, the attorney can also send interrogatories to the other side, which are written questions that have to be answered. The attorney can take a deposition of the other driver so that they can be asked questions about the way that the accident happened. The attorney can speak with your doctors in a way that the doctors are comfortable with, whereas the doctors have to speak more carefully when speaking with a patient.
Your attorney can also arrange for the doctors to be available for their depositions. The doctors will then be questioned under oath by the other side. They can explain your injuries, and answer the other side’s questions. Your attorney can get copies of documents from the other side, such as their insurance policy, driver’s license, registration, any photographs that they have, and other information that would never be given out without an attorney.
Do Clients Get Discouraged During This Process?
Clients will sometimes get discouraged, particularly if they have an attorney who is not handling the case in a manner that keeps it going forward. An attorney should be communicating with the client as the case goes through the legal procedures so that you have input and help when you need it. Your attorney will assist you when you are answering interrogatories, which are written questions that have to be answered. Your attorney will work with you before your deposition, because you want to be properly prepared. Your attorney can see that you are comfortable being asked questions under oath with the court reporter present.
You want an attorney who will work with you on your medical situation so you know what you can do to be more successful when you see the doctor. Your attorney can discuss what you can be doing in your medical care to make your case go more smoothly. If you have an attorney who is doing the right things in the right way, it’s much more likely that you will not get discouraged. Instead, you’ll feel comfortable and satisfied with the procedure.
How Many Times Will I Have to Go to Court?
Clients are often surprised to find out that they only have to go to court a few times in the course of a proceeding. The real work is in the preparation.
The complaint is filed by the attorney with the court clerk; clients are not involved in this first step of “going to court.” The client will have to provide information with the attorney’s help that will be put into written answers to interrogatories and those will be sent to the other side, so this will not require a personal appearance.
You will have to go through a deposition, which is a session in front of a court reporter where your answers are all taken down and transcribed into a booklet. This should not be an uncomfortable proceeding in any way if your attorney has properly prepared you for the proceeding and discussed with you how to easily make a good performance in your deposition.
The other side has the right to have you examined by doctors of their choosing. You will have to be present at those examinations. If your attorney is helping you, your attorney should prepare you completely for these medical examinations. Either he or some representative, such as a nurse, should accompany you to the actual examination to protect you from any kind of abuse.
In order to settle the case, you will need to appear at either a settlement conference, which is a court proceeding with a judge or a specified attorney to try and settle your case, or a mediation session where a trained mediator tries to settle your case. Occasionally your case will be ordered to arbitration where an attorney, a retired judge, or an arbitrator will listen to a brief version of your case and then express their opinion as to the value.
Of course, if your case goes to trial, you will have to appear for the trial. Overall, there are not a lot of appearances. That said, the appearances you make are each important. Your attorney can make these appearances less burdensome or aggravating if your attorney properly prepares you and represents you. This will make you more comfortable when you appear in your case.
What is the Most Confusing Aspect of this Process for the People?
Anything is confusing if you don’t understand it. Any part of the process can be explained.
The reason that the process is confusing to some people is that their attorneys don’t spend the time to explain to them what matters and what does not matter and how the parts come together to make a case settle. Your attorney should be someone who will explain these things to you so that you fully understand what it is that needs to be done and why and how these elements work. If you have an attorney who does this for you, there is no reason you should feel confused.
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