Information You’ll Need to Pursue Your Claim
To properly build a personal injury case, you’ll need some standard documents that are common to almost every claim. As a part of his or her duties, your Colorado auto accident attorney will help you complete them, and answer any questions you might have about each one.
Upon selecting an attorney to represent you in your personal injury case, you will need to sign a retainer agreement to complete the hiring. A retainer agreement is essentially a work-for-hire contract between you and the attorney that explains the relationship. It generally covers the following:
- Fees. Personal injury attorneys typically take cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning the lawyer will be paid a certain percentage of the monetary damages awarded when the case settles or goes to trial.
- Costs and expenses. In addition to legal fees, clients are also responsible for any costs incurred during the case, including copying charges, postage, and expert fees. These costs are typically advanced by the attorney and reimbursed by the client at the conclusion of the case.
- Services. This section explains the work that the attorney will actually perform, but usually makes no representation regarding the extent of the legal services or the total amount of fees and expenses the case will require.
The retainer agreement also contains a provision explaining that the document is a legally binding contract between the parties, and advises the client to carefully read it before they sign.
Settlement Demand Letter
A well-written settlement demand letter will summarize the claim, clearly state the amount of compensation necessary to settle the case, and limit the ability of an insurance claims adjuster to object to the amount of money being asked for. The elements of an effective settlement demand include:
- The phase, “FOR SETTLEMENT PURPOSES ONLY,” in case the claim doesn’t settle and goes to trial.
- A statement of the facts of the case.
- An explanation of why the defendant is liable for the injuries.
- A list of all the injuries suffered and the corresponding medical expenses, including out of pocket expenses like co-pays and prescriptions.
- A record detailing all wages lost due to the injuries.
- A description of any ongoing pain and suffering or emotional distress.
- Copies of documents to support the claim.
- The amount being demanded to settle the claim.
Settlement demands are not usually written until the injured party is near the end of their medical treatment and their primary care physician has placed them at maximum medical improvement once their condition has stabilized.
Summons and Complaint
If your case does not settle and the statute of limitations is approaching, your attorney will need to draft a summons and a complaint to file the lawsuit in court. The summons officially starts the lawsuit, and needs to be properly formatted and served to the defendant according to the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure. The complaint discusses the claim in great detail, setting out the facts and legal reasons (cause of action) that the injured party believes are sufficient to support a personal injury claim against the party (or parties) against whom the case is being brought.
If you’ve been injured in an automobile accident and need competent legal representation, contact Colorado personal injury attorney Dan Rosen for a free consultation.