100+ Things We Do For Our Clients…

California wrongful death lawyers use checklist to protect clients legal rightsMost people are not really aware of all the things good lawyers do to help protect their client’s interest. With this in mind, we want to share the following with you.

First of all, we’re not sure exactly what other lawyers do for their clients but below is an overview of what we do and recommend that other attorneys do for their clients. This list is based on almost 3 decades of experience and is by no means all inclusive. In any case, this list should give you a good idea about what to expect.

Normally, after we meet with you and are hired (normally on a contingency fee basis), there many things we do to protect your interest and get your case ready for settlement, mediation, arbitration or trial.  Although listed in bullet-point fashion, one or more of the following items are usually done together with some items dependent upon another.

This list is by no means all inclusive and not every step is required to be done in every case.  Also, please keep in mind that certain steps– law firm “insider secrets”– are purposefully excluded.  Even so, we hope this list gives you some idea of what we bring to the table and can do for you.

Accident or Collision Cases

  • Assist you with getting quality medical care, treatment or surgery (your doctor or we can recommend well respected experts in the community)
  • Immediately help with any pressing family/collision related issues
  • Determine correct defendants and theories of liability- research law and causes of action
  • Coordinate all medical bills paid by health insurance and/or automobile med pay
  • Coordinate medical liens if necessary (doctors are paid at end of case- no out of pocket expenses for you)
  • Obtain traffic collision report
  • Notify all interested parties by telephone and in writing of our legal representation of you
  • Have investigator interview all drivers and witnesses either in person or by phone depending on the facts and issues
  • Have investigator obtain declarations, under oath, of important witnesses
  • Send letter/telephone each driver- send registered owner 5 page questionnaire asking for their version of the facts
  • Send a declaration to the “at fault” driver asking him or her to admit responsibility for the accident
  • Send letter/telephone to each driver and registered owner asking for full declaration re disclosure of all insurance coverage such as auto, homeowner, umbrella…
  • Send letter/telephone all insurance companies and claim adjusters representing each driver and owner
  • Depending on the type of case, request specific documents, items and things from other side’s insurance company (auto, motorcycle, large truck, train, plane, premises liability, professional malpractice, dog bite, brain injury, paralysis, burn, assault, battery or wrongful death- detailed list of items are used for each different type of case)
  • Make formal demand to preserve all evidence
  • Determine if any of the drivers were operating their vehicle while in the scope and course of employment (company may also be liable and additional insurance/assets may be available)
  • Send letter/telephone to each witness with 4 page questionnaire asking for detailed description of what they observed
  • Send letter to the DMV reporting the accident pursuant to California law (SR1 report)
  • Send letter to the DMV requesting disclosure of insurance information on other driver (SR19 report)
  • Investigate scene of collision (pictures/videos of intersection/road, skid marks, obstructions, damaged property, view from each driver’s perspective while driving down street…)
  • Collect and preserve evidence from collision scene or vehicle such as broken glass, damaged tires, improperly working seat belts, torn and blood stained clothing…
  • Determine location of vehicles (tow yard or storage facility) and document damage with photographs and video tape
  • Coordinate rental car for client until property damage is finalized
  • Investigate and ascertain costs of repair or replacement value of our client’s vehicle and other property damage (broken cell phone, glasses, and other personal items)
  • Coordinate and negotiate repair or replacement of our client’s vehicle with insurance claims adjuster
  • Coordinate property damage deductible reimbursement to client from insurance company
  • Coordinate and obtain copies of all medical records and billings
  • Coordinate payment of all outstanding medical billings by health insurance or automobile med pay coverage
  • Use special declaration to ascertain all loss of earnings and benefits you sustained or lost because of this collision
  • Use special document to determine all out of pocket expenses and losses you sustained or lost because of this collision
  • In wrongful death cases, coordinate independent autopsy if necessary
  • In wrongful death cases, coordinate funeral service expenses
  • In wrongful death cases, coordinate veteran benefits
  • In wrongful death cases, refer client to estate planning specialist to review and update all estate planning documents
  • In wrongful death cases, review all life insurance policies to determine benefits to client and other survivors
  • In wrongful death cases, ascertain financial losses to family such as loss of income or retirement plan benefits
  • In wrongful death cases, conduct extensive interview with surviving family members to ascertain relationship and loss (loss of love, society, companionship and affection)
  • Counsel client(s) as to all available legal theories, responsible defendants and causes of action
  • Conduct professional asset background check of defendant (real estate, bank accounts, investments, beneficiary of an estate plan…)
  • Initiate settlement and jury verdict search re similar settlements and verdicts
  • Pull and review prior cases handled by our firm together with previous legal analysis and legal pleadings, discovery, and trial items
  • Put together and discuss with you our draft settlement demand package and/or presentation (written demand letter setting forth and attaching copies of all important facts, traffic collision report, theories of liability, description of injuries, damages, future medical issues, treatment, surgery and damages, all medical records and billings, loss of earnings, other out of pocket losses, our assessment of similar state and national settlements and verdicts with attachments, a summary of similar cases and results by our firm with attachments, supporting medical, economic, accident reconstruction, biomechanical expert opinions as needed, photographs, charts, graphs, draft lawsuit…)
  • Early in case, prepare draft jury instructions and draft of opening and closing arguments (few lawyers do this early in the case)
  • Coordinate settlement dialoge as needed and communicate all important facts and opinions to client for final decision
  • Apply 25 years and thousands of cases of experience to negotiation settlement until case is resolved for full value pursuant to client’s authority
  • Follow up with all the above until everything is done and all necessary information is obtained

If Case is Not Settled and Litigation Becomes Necessary

  • Additional research of law and available causes of action (if needed)
  • Prepare Superior Court Summons and Complaint alleging all viable causes of action
  • Coordinate the filing of the Summons and Complaint with Civil Cover sheet with the clerk of the Superior Court
  • Calendar all post-filing filing dates (5-10) and service on defendant and for return of Summons
  • Review assigned judge and file document/motion to request new judge if necessary
  • Contact and retain consulting and trial related experts
  • If necessary, use investigator and/or online services to location defendant’s for service
  • Prepare Statement of Damages and coordinate service of process on defendant
  • Special letter to defendant with copy of lawsuit explaining defendant’s first party bad faith rights against his own insurance company
  • Review incoming Answer, Demurrer or Motion to Strike from defendant’s lawyers hired by defendant’s insurance company
  • Telephone call to defense counsel to introduce ourselves and to discuss case issues and possible settlement
  • Review defendants initial Judicial Council Form Interrogatories, Special Interrogatories, Inspection Demand, and Notice of Deposition (discovery)
  • Send instructional letter to client with defendant’s initial discovery
  • Calculate and calendar all dates client’s discovery responses are due
  • If defendant served a Demurrer or Motion to Strike, prepare and filed Oppositions and calendar all response and hearing dates
  • As required by the Code of Civil Procedure, review client’s responses to all discovery and prepare and service original verified responses to defendant’s attorney
  • On behalf of client, prepare and served client’s initial discovery to defendant (Judicial Council Form Interrogatories, Special Interrogatories, Request for Admissions, Demand to Produce Documents, and Notice of Deposition
  • Calendar and appear at court ordered Case Management Conference
  • Prepare client and attend client’s deposition at defense attorney’s office
  • Take defendant’s deposition (traditional or video) at our office
  • Take deposition of all important witnesses
  • Review incoming Demand for Independent Medical Examination (IME) from defendant
  • Special letter to client with copy of IME and coordinate final IME instructions and date
  • Prepare and respond to IME with special pleading regarding certain terms and conditions
  • Client appears at IME with our office either recording or videotaping examination process
  • Receive and review defendant doctor’s IME report
  • Receive and forward defendant’s supplemental discovery (Special Interrogatories, Request for Admissions, and Inspection Demand)
  • Prepare and serve on defendant our client’s supplemental discovery (Special Interrogatories, Request for Admissions, and Inspection Demand)
  • Prepare for and attend continued Case Management Conference or initial Status Conference and set trial date
  • Letter to client with all mandatory dates and date of trial
  • Coordinate pre-trial settlement mediation or arbitration if ordered by the court or thought useful by counsel
  • Prepare mediation or arbitration briefs and documents
  • Prepare client for mediation or arbitration
  • Appear with client at mediation or arbitration and present case
  • If case is resolved via mediation or arbitration, prepare settlement documents and file notice with court
  • If case is resolved via mediation or arbitration, coordinate deposit of settlement funds in to trust account
  • If case is resolved via mediation or arbitration, disburse funds to client with detailed final financial statement
  • If case is NOT resolved via mediation or arbitration, continue with pre-trial preparation and requirements
  • If required, file opposition to defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment
  • If required, prepare and file plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment
  • Prepare Demand for Exchange of Expert Information and serve notice to other side
  • If ordered or coordinated, prepare for and attend with client a court order pre-trial Mandatory Settlement Conference (MSC)
  • Prepare and serve response to Demand for Expert Exchange
  • Notice and take depositions of expert witnesses
  • Coordinate other side taking depositions or our client’s expert witnesses
  • Coordinate and comply with all mandatory pre-trial discovery and trial document dates (about 75 specific dates)
  • File jury fees
  • Schedule pre-trial issue conference with opposing counsel
  • Obtain all final medical records and billings and any other evidence (photos, videos…) that will be used at trial
  • Participate with opposing counsel re pre-trial stipulations to save all parties time and money
  • Coordinate the appearance of trial witnesses at trial
  • Issue subpoena’s to compel attendance of trial witnesses if needed
  • Prepare all pre-trial Motions in Limine
  • Prepare and coordinate with opposing counsel Joint Exhibit List
  • Prepare and coordinate with opposing counsel Joint Statement of the Case
  • Prepare and coordinate with opposing counsel Joint Stipulated Facts
  • Prepare and coordinate with opposing counsel Joint Jury Instructions
  • Prepare and coordinate with opposing counsel Joint Witness List
  • Prepare and coordinate with opposing counsel Joint Verdict Forms
  • Attorney pre-trial final preparation re voir dire (jury selection questions and strategy), opening statement, direct examination, cross examination, and closing argument
  • Prepare and participate at the trial (normally 1 to 3 weeks of time)
  • If appropriate, review and file Opposition to defendant’s post-trial motions (Motion for New Trial, Motion for Judgment Not Withstanding the Verdict…)
  • If appropriate, attend post-trial hearing(s) to oppose defendant’s motions
  • If appropriate, coordinate with client on post-trial appeal issues and representation

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Mitch Jackson and Lisa Wilson are Orange County California personal injury and wrongful death lawyers- accidents, motorcycle accidents and large truck accidentsWere you aware of all the above steps?  As you can see, there’s a great deal of work and expertise involved with investigating and handling a personal injury or wrongful death case.  Because you only have one opportunity to obtain a settlement or verdict in your case, it’s important that you do everything you can to maximize your chances of success.

Please give us a call if you have questions or need help your personal injury or wrongful death case.  We always look forward to putting our almost 3 decades of experience and expertise to work for our valued clients.  But don’t simply take our word for it.  See our client testimonials and case results!

 

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