A life-changing injury or the unexpected and sudden death of a loved one is a stressful, and often chaotic time. The immediate focus is on receiving the best care possible, and picking up the pieces of the emotional devastation caused. Rarely do families consider the counsel of an experienced attorney during these times; and yet, finding good counsel can be as critical as finding the best medical team to treat your injuries.
Personal injury and medical malpractice cases are complex and challenging. Wrongdoers and their attorneys can, and often do, put up big roadblocks to discovering the truth and holding the wrongdoer accountable. Northwest Trial attorneys are highly experienced trial lawyers who are dedicated to discovering the truth, and obtaining fair and just compensation for our clients. We love what we do. We are committed to discovering the facts and finding the truth. If we take your case, we believe it is a meritorious case and will work tirelessly to recover payment of your medical bills, obtain the best treatment for your injuries, and recover on behalf of the estate of your loved one fair and just compensation for the loss of wages, suffering and physical pain, and distress you and your family have endured. You deserve the peace of mind knowing that you have that kind of advocate.
Finding a compassionate and dedicated advocate for justice is critical to rebuilding your life.
We try to treat our clients as if they are family. Many of our clients, and the families of those whose lives were lost because of the fault of others, have remained our friends years after we handled their case. Take a look at the testimonials from some of our clients.
Our attorneys work tirelessly on your behalf, teaming up with experts and medical specialists from around the country that support your case and provide compelling testimony on your behalf.
DO’S AND DON’T’S FOR INJURED VICTIMS
Whether or not you choose to hire Northwest Trial to represent you, consider following these “do’s and don’t’s”:
DO NOT DISCUSS YOUR CASE with anyone other than your attorney or your doctors. Always be aware of who is trying to talk to you about the collision or other incident and your injuries. Do not speak with the insurance company for the person who injured you. You are under no obligation to do so. Insurance companies often try to contact accident and other victims shortly after the collision or incident to get a statement from the victim; they act as if it is “standard operating procedure” to take a tape-recorded statement or otherwise interview you. Wrong; it is not! Giving an interview or statement to the insurance company, especially so soon after the collision or incident when you are likely still hurting and do not have your wits about you, will never help, and is likely to hurt, you. You also should be cautious about giving any statement to your own insurance company before you have consulted with an attorney.
DO PROMPTLY OBTAIN ALL THE MEDICAL TREATMENT YOU NEED. DO make sure that you tell your doctor(s) all of your symptoms so that he or she may write them into the medical record which can be produced in court or submitted to the insurance company at a later time. You, of course, should never exaggerate your symptoms, but you also should not try to be “tough” and minimize your injuries or pain complaints when talking with your doctors. In speaking with your doctors, always tell the truth, but be candid about all of the symptoms you have.
DO FOLLOW YOUR DOCTOR’S INSTRUCTIONS and do not disobey his or her instructions. This includes going to scheduled doctor’s appointments and continuing to be treated by your doctor until your doctor releases you. If you do not have health insurance, you should discuss with your attorney other options to enable you to continue to receive reasonable and necessary medical treatment.
DO CONDUCT A PROMPT AND THOROUGH INVESTIGATION. Whomever you choose as your attorney, it is very important that your attorney promptly obtain witness statements, police reports, medical records and anything else related to your accident and injuries. You can bet that the other party’s insurance company will be collecting as much information, as soon as it can, that may be used against you. Your case may require hiring a private investigator or an accident reconstruction expert early on. Witnesses disappear, or can have their memories fade with time. If a prompt and thorough investigation is not done, valuable evidence can be lost and your case hurt.
DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING dealing with your claim until you have consulted with an attorney. DO NOT, for example, sign a release for your medical records to the insurance company of the person who injured you. Of course, DO NOT sign any other release or agreement without talking with an attorney.
DO PHOTOGRAPH ALL IMPORTANT PARTS OF YOUR CASE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Over and over again in our trial practice we have seen the value and power of photographs that were taken early in the case. It is vital that photos be taken early on of the automobiles, bikes, machinery, etc. involved in the accident; your injuries; and the scene of the injuries. Photographs are tremendously powerful tools and evidence at trial. Jurors find powerful messages in photographs. It is very important that all important photographs, including photographs of your vehicle before it is repaired, be taken promptly.
DO KEEP A DIARY in which you briefly note how you feel every day, including how often you may be suffering from pain, the duration and intensity of the pain, and activities that may be affected as a result of your injuries. This diary can be very important later when it comes time to settle or try your case.
DO KEEP AND SEND YOUR ATTORNEY COPIES OF ALL BILLS AND RECEIPTS that you receive as a result of your claim (whether paid or not). Be sure to save everything: doctor bills, hospital bills, physical therapist bills, pharmacy bills, bills for health appliances, and all other bills you incurred because of the accident or your injuries. If you cannot prove the amounts you paid, you cannot recover those amounts. If your insurance company (whether auto or health) is refusing to pay medical bills you are incurring because of the collision, your attorney should attempt to assist you in obtaining payment for these medical expenses.
DO DISCOVER ALL OF YOUR INJURIES. It often takes many days, if not weeks, for somebody who is injured to begin to figure out the nature and extent of his or her injuries. It is natural for an injured person to “discount”, or not feel or be aware of, his or her injuries in the first few days following a collision or other incident in the hopes that he is not injured seriously. This is especially true of traumatic brain injuries, including concussions. That is why it is important to wait until you know the nature and extent of all or your injuries, including waiting until all necessary medical tests and studies have been performed, before you give a statement to an insurance company. See point #1 above.
DO HAVE YOUR ATTORNEY WORK WITH YOU TO FIGURE OUT ALL AVAILABLE INSURANCE COVERAGE. In many cases, an injured victim can collect from two or more insurance policies. We have handled many cases where we have collected from both the wrongdoer’s policy, and the insurance policy of our client. Our philosophy is that an attorney representing injured people and their families should know more about insurance coverage than insurance companies and their agents do. Your attorney should explain to you the meaning of terms such as “policy limits”; “personal injury protection”; and “underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage”. Your attorney also should have experience with the laws and regulations regarding insurance and insurance companies, and know how to leverage an insurance company’s mistakes into possible coverage. For example, we have obtained underinsured motorist coverage for our injured clients from their own insurance company, although their insurance company initially denied such coverage, after we discovered that the insurance company failed to obtain a written waiver of coverage as required by law.
DO NOTIFY YOUR ATTORNEY OF ANY CHANGES IN EMPLOYMENT, raises or reductions in salary, or loss of job. Similarly, if you are required to miss any work due to your injuries, keep your attorney informed of all work missed and dates that you return to work.
DO, IF YOU ARE SELF-EMPLOYED, KEEP A RECORD OF ALL THE TIME THAT YOU ARE UNABLE TO WORK or perform your duties, and discuss with your attorney how your attorney might best demonstrate your loss of profits as a result of your inability to perform your work.
DO BE READY TO FILE A LAWSUIT. Insurance companies often have no incentive to settle cases unless they can settle the case for less than just and reasonable compensation, or they feel the pressure and risk of an approaching trial date. Some smaller cases, in our opinion, may be settled more economically for the injured person without the involvement of a lawyer. In most cases, however, especially in any case involving serious injuries, it is much better for injured people to have experienced trial lawyers on their side when dealing with insurance companies
DO ASK AN EXPERIENCED PERSONAL INJURY TRIAL LAWYER TO EVALUATE YOUR CASE. If you are reading this, it is likely that your injuries are serious enough to have caused you to go to the doctor. Since you have had a doctor give you an opinion on your injuries, it just makes sense to have an experienced lawyer give you an opinion about whether you have a legal claim and, if so, what it is worth. There are always two questions in any potential legal claim: (1) Liability: who, if anybody, is at fault? (2) Damages: what are the injuries? An experienced trial lawyer will evaluate the facts of the accident or incident (including interviewing you, and reviewing police reports and witness statements); and your injuries (including reviewing your medical records; researching the nature, extent and permanency of your injuries; reviewing with you your past and likely future disability and income loss; and researching jury verdicts on cases that have elements similar to yours.)
DO HIRE A LAWYER WHO TRIES CASES AND WHO IS NOT AFRAID TO GO TO COURT. Insurance companies know which lawyers will take them to trial if the insurance company does not offer fair and just compensation, and which lawyers do not try cases and, at some point, will settle. There are a lot of “personal injury” lawyers who rarely, if ever, try cases. There are a lot of lawyers who do not like trying cases. We try cases. We do not believe that injured people and their families obtain fair and just compensation unless they are represented by lawyers who are willing to try cases.