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Doing Your Part

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Doing Your Part

Lawyers are retained to represent injured persons for the purposes of obtaining compensation for injuries or damages incurred as a result of being involved in an accident. In order to properly prepare a personal injury claim there are a number of individuals who will play a role in doing that. The most important however is YOU.

Preparing and presenting a case for trial in many ways is similar to rehearsing a play which will eventually be presented before either a judge or a judge and jury. The lawyer is essentially the director of the play and there are a number of actors who have roles. The most important role is usually you. The other actors in the play consist of family, friends, fellow workers, employers, doctors and other experts. It is the lawyer’s job to determine what actors are needed for the parts in the play to make sure that their evidence fits within the framework of the case.

When presented, a personal injury lawsuit is generally similar to a three act play. Act One involves the injured party and telling the story of their life up until the time of the accident. Act Two relates to the recovery phase, treatment, rehabilitation and how the injuries and other damages are affected by the passage of time. Act Three is the conclusion or the end of the story. Oftentimes a play cannot be presented because there is no end to the story. This can occur when recovery is not complete or a final diagnosis has not been made. For that reason personal injury cases can take two or more years to complete in order that “the end of the story” can be revealed.

Your lawyer can assist you in understanding your role within the play but it is imperative that you contribute and cooperate and in essence rehearse your part within the play. This will often include keeping in contact with your lawyer, therapists and doctors. Keeping notes on a regular basis which can be used to go back and refresh your memory so that you can give reliable and honest answers and explain how the accident has affected you, your family and your ability to engage in the activities of daily life. Your lawyer may set up appointments for you with various doctors and experts and it is important that as an injured person you make efforts to attend scheduled appointments and to follow the advice given to you by those experts namely maintaining an exercise program or treatment regime.

A cooperative effort between you and your lawyer will ultimately achieve the best result either by way of settlement or an award of damages after trial.

Leigh Pedersen