When you meet your attorney for the first time, it is not possible to assess your case without looking at medical proof. You are asked to sign “HIIPA Medical Authorizations” in order for your lawyer to obtain the medical records from hospitals, doctors, physical therapists, etc. Once your law firm has copies of all records, the case must be reviewed to see what the client’s “damages” are.
“Damages” includes the specific injury and the prognosis of that injury, your lost income or lost profits, and your out of pocket expenses. It also includes the future costs of such damages.
After a lawsuit is filed, your lawyer than prepares a document called “Bill of Particulars.” It is necessary to have all of your specific injury information, including bills associated with the treatment of those injuries. We need to know how long you were confined to your home and/or your bed after the accident. Proof of lost wages is needed to prove that you suffered an economic loss. If you have future surgeries or treatments, the lawyer needs to know the approximate cost of these medical procedures.
In our law firm, we send you a questionnaire which requests details of your injuries, treatment, lost wages, etc. The client can help us properly prepare the Bill of Particulars by saving receipts for out of pocket expenses, bills, proof of employment, photographs, etc. This is a collaborative effort on the part of law firm and client. We need to be sure that the Court knows the details of your claim in order to maximize on the amount of your compensation.
Every few months, my law firm will send you an “Update Letter.” This letter will outline all of the medical records that we have in your file. It will list them by name of doctor / medical facility and dates of treatment. If we do not have records, we expect the client to write back to us and provide any new information needed to complete the “Bill of Particulars.”
Not only is this document important for procedural reasons (i.e., the Court mandates that we complete it), but it is useful to me when I am discussing your case with an insurance company. It will provide all of the important information to me in a concise format. It allows me to highlight the positive points in your case and it is useful when I am in front of a judge at conferences.
My advice is that you should have a folder that contains all bills, your doctors’ business cards, photographs, etc., as well as notes which reflect dates of treatment, the types of treatment, etc. This will help your attorney to prepare a Bill of Particulars and will expedite your case.