How Often Should I Contact My Personal Injury Lawyer?
A serious personal injury can significantly disrupt the victim’s life. There are the obvious ramifications of being injured in pain, and not being able to do the things one wants to and would normally do. The injured person may not be able to work or work their customary hours. Paychecks are missed, or are short. Bills mount. The medical bills start to accumulate. Then there are the not so obvious stressors. What about the future? What if surgery may be required, or if the injured person cannot return to their former position at work? It goes without saying this post-accident recuperative period can be a stressful time, filled with anxiety. A lack of information or a lack of understanding of the processes and time-frames involved can certainly exacerbate that anxiety.
The road to recovery, physical as well as financial, is a process and not an event. In the typical personal injury case, it is unlikely that the status or posture of claim is going to change much on a daily basis.
The best personal injury lawyers in Maryland are going to explain the steps necessary to achieve full and fair compensation for the accident. Having said that, there are some general observations about when you should contact your personal injury attorney:
- Certainly, any time that there has been a major and significant development in the course of your medical treatment, a phone call to your lawyer to advise is appropriate.
- Definitely, any time that you independently uncover a previously unknown material detail about your case or your claim, a phone call to your lawyer is appropriate.
- Clearly, any time that you have a pertinent, substantive question that only your lawyer can answer, a phone call is appropriate.
A top, competent injury lawyer, of course, is going to advise you of all pertinent events in your case. A competent accident lawyer is going to advise you of settlement offers, and discuss those offers with you. Any effective car accident attorney is going to let you know promptly when you have settlement funds that have arrived. Certainly, if your claim is one ih which litigation became necessary, your lawyer will advise you af all important events, and any events requiring your participation. Generally, a personal injury case follows a fairly specific timeline.
- Investigation and treatment.
- Demand and negotiation.
- Settlement or lawsuit.
What we tend to see is a significant number of requests for “status” or "update" arise during the treatment phase of this timeline. The reality is, during this phase of the claim the "status" is the recuperation of the injured individual. In that sense, the inquiring client is in the best position to know the status of their healing process, and, in that regard, generally has more information about the process of their recovery than the lawyer of whom they are asking the question. While an injured individual is receiving active, ongoing treatment, daily or weekly phone calls or requests for the "status" of a case are likely to be ineffective, and potentially counterproductive.
At this point, there really is no status of a case to report, largely because there is no case yet, at least not in terms of what has been filed in the court of law, or submitted to an insurance company.
It goes without saying the an injured individual likely has lost income, and perhaps has medical expenses that continue to mount. These are clear stressors that impact the mental well-being of many an injury victim. The fact remains, however, that the true process of recovery does not begin until the treatment phase ends, or the condition of the injured individual reaches a baseline. During this time, the only relevant status is that of the medical treatment being given to the injured person and that person's recuperation. The injury victim is going to be in the best position to know what the status of their treatment is. In fact, this posture remains for a good 60 days or so, in the typical personal injury case, after the injured person has completed their treatment. It is at that point, after treatment has concluded, that a personal injury lawyer is going to add the final details of information gathered and submit a demand for settlement to the insurance company. At this time, there is a claim or case. There is a likely a negotiation process that follows, and potentially offers and counter-offers being exchanged.
It is at this point in the process, demand, and negotiation, that “status” first becomes a relevant concept and a pertinent inquiry.
At this stage, your accident and injury lawyer will advise you of any offers and give his or her opinion on whether or not the offer is a reasonable one. During this phase, your attorney will discuss whether or not litigation is appropriate. If it is determined that litigation is necessary, the progression of the case, and accordingly the status of the case, will be governed by the scheduling order issued by the Court.