As a personal injury client, you likely have little to no prior experience navigating the legal system. It can be overwhelming and confusing to try to understand your case and what is going on. Rafi Law Firm has employees called paralegals on staff who can help.
Paralegals are different than attorneys. They cannot offer legal advice or formulate your legal strategy, but they can assist clients and attorneys in other ways such as conducting interviews and research, as well as drafting and filing documents. For this blog post, the paralegals at Rafi Law Firm all sat down to put together a list of things that all clients should know – and often do not.
Lawsuits Move Slow
Oftentimes, the question of “how long will my case take?” eventually turns into “why is my case taking so long?”. The short answer is that there is a lot more that goes into a case than most clients realize. Firstly, we cannot even begin to resolve your case until we know the full extent and severity of your injury. Settling before understanding your whole recovery process may mean that you miss out on the help you need.
After we understand the extent of your injury, only then can we move on to collecting records and bills to prepare a demand letter to send to the party who injured you. After this letter is sent, the other side typically has 30 days to respond. If they deny our offer, this is when a lawsuit finally begins. To learn more details about the timeline of a lawsuit, click here.
Though attorney-client privilege is a right reserved solely for attorneys, paralegals still must uphold and protects the rights held between an attorney and a client. This means that your information is in trustworthy hands. Likewise, it is in your best interest to be open and transparent with all members of your legal team, including paralegals.
Honesty is key – to paralegals, an arrest on your record from years ago is not a big deal. However, if you withhold that information, it might end up a more significant issue. Another crucial area for honesty is reporting your level of pain. Both under-exaggerating and over-exaggerating can be equally as detrimental to your case. If you over-exaggerate, you could be caught through medical diagnostics and lose your credibility and may lose out on your recovery. If you under-exaggerate, you may not receive all the medical attention that you need and get a lower payout than you would have earned had you told the truth.
Document everything regarding your accident and your injury to the best of your ability. Pictures, videos, phone logs, text messages, and documents are all incredibly valuable to maximizing your recovery. If you are ever unsure if a document is relevant, send it anyway. Your paralegals would much rather have too many documents than not enough.
Stop Posting on Social Media
If you are seeking a recovery after a major injury, it does not help your case for the defense to see pictures and videos of you dancing and partying. Social media may be part of your routine, but during your case, your paralegals want you to know that you should refrain from posting, or at the very least, do not post about the case and adjust your privacy settings.
You should also adjust your tagging settings – you may not be posting, but if your friend’s cousin does not know any better, the defense may find her post and argue that you must not really be that injured, even if you just smiled in her picture to be a good sport. If a photo does pop up, let a paralegal know as soon as possible, but do not delete the post, as this could be argued to be destroying evidence and could minimize your recovery.
Email is Best
When sending documents to your paralegal and legal team, send them over via email. Traditional mail can be slow, and envelopes are easily and often lost in transit. Email guarantees that there is a record of what you sent, both in your outbox and our inbox.
Anything Goes in Discovery
During the discovery period, the defense can – and will – ask you everything. We will help prepare you for any questioning, but this ties into the point about honesty. If you are honest with us, we can be more prepared. You must be truthful during the discovery period. If you were on your phone during the accident, do not lie. The defense will find out, and unless we know beforehand, we will not be prepared to defend you.
Your Paralegal Knows Your Case
Do not be afraid to speak to your paralegal instead of your attorney. Although they cannot give you legal advice, they can answer most of the questions you likely have. Your paralegal is also just as familiar with your case as your attorney is – if not more. They are a valuable resource available to you, and they will be happy to keep you updated and informed as to the status of your case.
Your paralegal works hard, not just on your case, but on many cases at once. We recognize that you are an integral part of your own legal team as well, and the more patient and understanding that you are, the happier the whole team will be. At the end of the day, we are all just human beings who are not perfect, but we always try our best and do whatever it takes to make things right and maximize your recovery.