By the time litigation begins in personal injury cases – even before a lawsuit is filed, for that matter – the attorneys involved have likely spent hours, sometimes countless hours, working on the case.
That’s because these cases, whether involving motor vehicle crashes, medical malpractice, product liability or something else, require careful investigation and analysis – and much of that work happens before a case is ever filed.
“A good deal of the work on a case happens before a lawsuit is filed,” said David Muncy, a personal injury attorney with Plaxen Adler Muncy, PA., in Greenbelt.
In every case, he said, attorneys need to gather their client’s medical records and bills from the injury, as well as relevant past medical records, lost wage information, information on the effect the injury has had on their life, comments from witnesses, and more.
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In some cases, he said, reports from a liability expert or an independent medical examination or life care plan might also be needed.
“We also sometimes conduct pre-suit focus groups to test out arguments or approaches to a case,” he added. In medical malpractice cases, for example, “you cannot even file the lawsuit until you have an expert who has signed off that there was a breach of the standard of care by the defendant medical provider.”
Investigating cases prior to litigation not only strengthens the case for settlement, said Samantha Dos Santos, also an attorney with Plaxen Adler Muncy, it limits the potential for surprises in the discovery process.
Often, she said, government agencies have reports, photographs, video footage and inspections that can be