We have all heard of personal injury claims and seen commercials for personal injury law firms. But other than just hearing the term personal injury, and knowing that you are trying to get compensated by the person who caused your injury, not all that much else is often understood by the average personal injury victim.
The Initial Consult in Boston Personal Injury Cases
During the initial consultation, the attorney will hear your story about what happened to you and how you were injured. He or she will likely ask about what medical treatment you are receiving and find out as much information as possible. This is a private and confidential meeting and there should be no cost to you. If any personal injury lawyer wants to charge you for an initial consultation, this might be cause for concern.In fact, as your experienced Boston personal injury lawyer can explain, there should be no fee unless they are successful in obtaining a fair settlement or a favorable verdict at trial. If you decide you want to hire the attorney you meet during your consultation, and the attorney feels you have a good case, the attorney will have you complete some paperwork and get started on your case.
There are however, a couple of things to keep in mind. The first is that if the attorney informs you that despite your very real injuries, you do not have a high probably of success for whatever reason, he or she is telling you that because it is essential that you be given truthful information regardless of whether it is what you wish to hear. The reason we say this is because choosing an attorney is very much about choosing someone you trust and want to work with. That trust means that you will be given honest advice at all times.
The Initial Investigation
As early in process as possible, your attorney will work on investigating the claim and there are a variety of reasons to start quickly. One of the most important things is to look for surveillance cameras that may have captured whatever the incident in question may be. For example, if you were the victim of a Boston car accident, there may have been traffic cameras or even store security cameras that caught everything and recorded it. In the old days, there was a very short window of time to get any tapes because video tapes are big and bulky and expensive so stores would not typically keep more than a week’s worth of tapes on hand at any given time. This means they would record over the existing footage a week later unless they were told to preserve the footage.
These days, nobody uses VHS tapes anymore and very few still uses optical media such a DVDs. The vast majority of security cameras record in digital format to a hard drive or even a cloud server. This means that it will likely save the footage for longer than a week, but not more than 30 to 90 days in most cases unless they are told to do so. This is because data storage is expensive as well. This is why we hear all of those commercials for so-called big data solutions.
To make sure we preserve any information, your attorney will have his or her private investigator go around to local business and attempt to get the footage on the spot. If that does not work, we can send the business a preservation letter that asks them to maintain the recording.
We also want to make sure you are following up with your treatment and getting the medical attention you need. We want to make sure there is not a significant gap in treatment because this is something insurance companies like to complain about when responding to a demand letter. This doesn’t mean you will not be successful if there is a gap in treatment, but it can require more back and forth between your attorney and the insurance company adjuster.
Once your medical treatment is complete and all other damages are calculated, your Boston accident lawyer will send a demand letter to the insurance company. This will include all damages. The amount will be higher than you will actually receive in the vast majority of cases as it is meant to be a starting point in the negotiations. The insurance company will send their offer, and this is an initial offer, for which there is often room to increase. The most important thing is to make sure you have an attorney who is actually willing to take a case to trial when necessary. Even though most cases will settle prior to trial, you want to make sure your attorney is not willing to take a bad offer just so he or she can move onto the next case. You want someone that treats each client with the respect they deserve and the attention their case deserves. You want somebody who will fight for your right to a full and appropriate financial recovery.
However, in the event that the insurance company does not offer you a full and appropriate settlement, it will be necessary to prepare a complaint and send a sample or draft of that complaint to the insurance company. This lets them know you are serious and will actually file a case if they do not increase your offer. However, they must know you are not simply bluffing, so if they do not increase the offer, your attorney will file the case in the Suffolk Superior Court if the accident occurred in Boston. In some cases, your attorney might consider filing the case in the federal district court which is the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts located on the waterfront in downtown Boston.
There are a lot of reasons why a case might be filed in the federal district court. Even if the case is not filed in the federal district court, but is instead filed in the state court, the defendant may file to remove the case to federal court. One of the reasons a defendant might do this is that they feel that federal judges are more insulated from the general public and would be more willing to side with them. This is not necessary true, but it is something that happens from time to time. The defendant may also prefer the federal rules of civil procedure, which are established by U.S. Congress as opposed to our state legislators.
If you have suffered personal injury in Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — 1-888-367-2900.
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Slip-and-Fall Injury Suffered by Child Litigated Years Later, April 2, 2017, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog