Motor vehicle collisions can be overwhelming. Aside from dealing with injuries sustained in the wreck, many people have to take time off work, go to numerous appointments with doctors, get their car fixed and deal with several insurance companies simultaneously. The constant phone calls alone can be exhausting. The attorneys at Allen and Allen help our clients sort through these complicated issues every day. It is important to remember however that hiring an attorney doesn’t solve every problem. Consistent communication is essential to the successful resolution of a personal injury claim.
At your initial consultation, your attorney and his or her staff discuss the facts surrounding the collision, the injuries you sustained and the treating physicians you have seen for accident related medical care to that point. They also gather contact information including your address, phone numbers, email addresses and employment information. It is important to provide the best and most current information possible. While no one imagines that maintaining contact will be difficult in that first meeting, life changes happen to all of us and contact may become more difficult over time.
To resolve your claim, your attorney needs to collect records and medical bills from all of your treating medical providers, contact the police officer who responded to the scene of the collision and any witnesses who may have been identified and contact any health insurance provider you may have. As you continue to recover and receive medical treatment, your attorney and his or her staff will do their best to follow the progress of your recovery. There are times when it is especially important to keep your attorney up to date with your progress. These include:
- Changing doctors/healthcare providers: Your attorney needs to have a complete understanding of your course of treatment and be aware of all doctors or other healthcare providers you see for any accident related treatment. We can’t collect records and bills from medical providers we don’t know about.
- Starting a new type of treatment: Your doctor may refer you to physical therapy or recommend a particular procedure for your accident related injuries. Be sure and let your attorney and/or his or her staff know about the new treatment and from whom you will receive the treatment.
- Stopping treatment: Let your attorney’s office know if you have to stop treating for any reason.
- Another injury: If you are hurt in an unrelated incident, make sure your attorney is aware of the details of that new injury and any medical treatment you receive.
- Filing bankruptcy: Bankruptcy may radically change how a personal injury claim is handled. If the medical bills become overwhelming or personal financial circumstances require filing, letting your attorney know about filing for bankruptcy can be essential to protecting your rights.
- Completed treatment: Once you have been released from doctor’s care and/or discharged from therapy or other treatment, your attorney’s office needs to know. It is time to collect your remaining records and bills and get your case submitted to the other person’s auto insurance carrier.
It is also critical that your attorney be able to reach you throughout the course of your claim to keep you informed of the progress that has been made. This important information includes:
- Settlement offers: Your attorney needs to inform you of any settlement offers and discuss how to handle these offers to resolve your case promptly.
- Filing a lawsuit: In the event that your attorney believes you need to file a lawsuit, he or she needs to discuss the particulars in filing and how it will proceed. There is a two-year time frame in which personal injury lawsuits must be brought in Virginia so it is crucial that your attorney be able to reach you to preserve this deadline.
- Discovery deadlines: Before your case goes to trial, information about the incident and the injury must be exchanged with the other side. Your attorney may need to get specific information from you to assist with this process. You also may need to attend a deposition or comply with a court order concerning matters in your case.
- Trial dates: Obviously, your attorney needs to be able to inform you of the date of your trial and schedule enough time in advance to prepare you for the court process.
Consistent communication makes the personal injury claim process run smoothly for everyone. If you move, get a new phone number or change your email address, contact your attorney’s office and provide this new information immediately. Working together through consistent communication is critical to obtaining a full and fair resolution to your claim.
Allen and Allen is one of the largest personal injury law firms in Virginia. We have over 100 years of experience and understand the importance of being able to maintain contact with our clients throughout the claims process.
About The Author: Sandy Gregor is a personal injury trial lawyer practicing at Allen & Allen in Fredricksburg, Virginia. She is experienced in the areas of car and truck accident litigation, product liability, and premise liability.