Answers To Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Injury Litigation
The following provides answers to some of the most commonly asked questions. Should you have any questions that are not listed below, please feel free to contact our office to speak with someone today.
How do I start the process?
Initially, you will meet with one or more of the Rutberg Breslow Personal Injury Law attorneys to gather (intake) information around your injury. Your case materials will be thoroughly reviewed by Mr. Rutberg first to identify any issues needing immediate attention. Your case will then be assigned to an attorney who will be responsible for the progress and advancement of your case in pre-trial proceedings.
Your case materials will be forwarded to an administrative attorney who will set up a file and database for your case and work in conjunction with the assigned attorney to take all the necessary preliminary actions. Some of those include formal identification of any defendants, initial claim letters to defendants and insurance carriers, and ordering medical records. The next phase of your case begins with an investigation.
What happens during the investigation?
This phase can involve many things depending on the facts and legal issues of your case. Some of those can include a detailed review of your medical records, interviewing witnesses, photographing accident scenes or materials, gathering evidence, and reviewing police reports and the reports of any consulting experts we hire for your case e.g. engineers or medical specialists.
What occurs after the investigation?
The attorney assigned to your case will review the results of the investigation with Mr. Rutberg or Mr. Breslow to determine the best course of action. If we determine that your best interest requires that we “file suit,” a Summons and Complaint will be prepared, filed, and served on all defendants. This step starts the action in the court system. The attorneys for each defendant will then reciprocate by serving us with a document known as an Answer, usually within a month after we served the Summons and Complaint. We then prepare a Bill of of Particulars document for each defendant.
What is the Bill of Particulars?
During the litigation phase of your case, a Bill of Particulars will be prepared for each defendant. This document describes the nature of the injuries, specifies the areas and acts of negligence that you are claiming, and itemizes your non-physical harms and losses such as loss of income and medical expenses. We will have some of that information from your intake and our investigation, but we often will contact you for additional information.
Why are Bills of Particulars so important?
Bills of Particulars are important because anything not included in the original or a later Bill of Particulars cannot be claimed if the case goes to trial.
When does the Discovery phase begin and what does it entail?
When we serve the Bill of Particulars we also begin the Discovery phase of your case, essentially a mandatory exchange of legally specified information between all parties to the lawsuit. By now you will have probably attended a Preliminary Conference of your case with the assigned Judge and the defense attorneys. At this point we will schedule the defendant’s depositions (also called examinations before trial or EBTs) along with yours.
What is a deposition?
A deposition is a procedure that can take place in an attorney’s office, at a courthouse, or a legal stenographer’s office. You will be put under oath and asked questions regarding your case. The stenographer will capture all the questions and answers. Your assigned attorney will fully prepare you for all deposition questions, give you exact instructions on how to conduct yourself, and be there with you throughout the deposition. With our assistance, you will find that it is not a difficult proceeding.
What else should I know about the deposition?
Even though your case is very important, it is common for depositions to be adjourned to new dates. In fact, your deposition may be rescheduled several times. Many uncertainties exist in legal scheduling, such as a trial lasting longer than expected or conflicts that may exist in attorney schedules because they have legal obligations related to other cases.
Will I need a physical examination?
In many cases, the defendants are entitled to physical examination(s) of the plaintiff by physicians they select. The purpose is to allow them to verify or challenge the nature and extent of the injuries you claim. If this applies to your case, we will be in touch with you about scheduling this physical exam – usually after your deposition.
What can I do to help further the progress and positive outcome of my case?
It’s very important for you to maintain your medical treatment consistently, follow your doctor’s instructions, and update us on any ongoing medical treatment you may receive. Also, never exaggerate your injuries or depart from the truth in any part of your case.
How long will it take?
We will do everything possible to move your case along as quickly as possible. There is a tremendous amount of work that goes into every case – it takes the combined effort of everyone at Rutberg Breslow Personal Injury Law. Therefore, you may hear from different individuals from the law firm throughout your case and someone other than your assigned attorney may answer some of your questions. In that way we can process your case as efficiently and quickly as possible utilizing the talents and abilities of everyone in our firm.
What can I expect for how often I’ll get updates on progress for my case?
We are committed to being very accessible to our clients as well as providing clear and consistent communications. If you don’t hear from us for a period of time, we don’t want you to think we’re not working on your case. We are always working towards our goal of completing your case and getting you the best possible results. We will keep you advised of any major developments, but some of the more routine work will be completed without your knowledge. We always welcome you to contact us with any questions or concerns. Your case is very important to us.