By Teresa Gallucci
Paralegals and Your Lawsuit: How a Legal Assistant Helps You Navigate Your Case
Paralegals are often the first people you’ll encounter when Brown and Crouppen agrees to look at your case. They are the ones who will begin our initial investigation into your claim from obtaining a copy of a police report, contacting insurers to confirm coverages to searching property ownership records, among other research.
Paralegals will need this information to make sure we have all parties relevant to the claim in our system and have properly notified them of our representation of you for the claim. This also ensures your paralegal knows what insurance carriers we will be dealing with, what those coverages might be, and the details about the policy. During this investigation, your paralegal may call you with some follow up questions to obtain more details or confirm some facts with you about the matter.
Another important component taking place during this time is your treatment. While your paralegal is conducting the initial investigation, you should be continuing your treatment for your injuries. This treatment is vital to your claim, as it is the evidence for your injuries suffered due to the at-fault party’s negligence.
Your paralegal will be checking in with you periodically to stay updated about the status of your care and recovery. Normally, you can expect to hear from your paralegal about every thirty (30) days for updates, but it may be more frequent depending on the individual situation and type of treatment we are tracking. We want to give you and your medical provider adequate time to complete the treatment(s) between our check-ins.
You can expect your paralegal to follow up for the duration of your treatment.
Can I call my paralegal in the interim periods between his/her follow-ups?
You can ALWAYS give your paralegal a call / text / email at ANY time with any questions, concerns, or additional updates you may have. We understand that things may change rather quickly between our proactive updates with you, and we’re happy to hear from our clients at any time to address any issue that may arise. This decision is wholly up to you, but know we welcome hearing from our client(s) anytime.
Is there any specific time I should make sure to call my paralegal between their updates?
Absolutely. Great times to contact your paralegal rather than wait for the next update call from our office might include: when you’re scheduled for surgery or another major medical procedure; when you are released from care by your physician(s); when you are contacted by an insurance carrier asking for details about your claim or incident; when you are contacted by a provider or collection office regarding a bill for services; should you have a question regarding use of health insurance.
The list can go on and on, but the message is the same – if you have a question or concern, or should your treatment status change, reach out to your paralegal. We will be happy to help address your concern, and keep your file updated to maximize your potential recovery.
So what happens when I’m done with medical treatment?
At the point that you have been released from care by your treating physician(s), your paralegal will collect relevant documents for your claim including medical bills and records, lost wage documentation, updated photographs from you (if necessary), and any other item the attorney may feel is needed. As your paralegal completes these steps, there is not always a great deal of information that changes day to day due to the time it will take for us to collect these items. You can still expect to hear from your paralegal on that same thirty (30) day interval with updates about where we are in the process of this collection. While we understand that waiting out this process can be nerve-racking, your paralegal wants to be able to provide substantive updates when we reach out to clients, which is why we operate on this interval.
Should you want to contact your paralegal to talk in between those updates, please feel free to do so – again, we’re always happy to hear from our clients, your paralegal may just not have a lot of progress to report as this process can take some time.
When paralegals have all my information collected, what’s next?
When medical record and bill collection is completed, we will ask one of our medical paralegals to complete a medical summary or chronology for us on your file. This will provide a second set of eyes reviewing the medical records in depth to ensure we have a complete set of your medical documentation, as well as yield a timeline for your attorney to utilize showing all your treatment in date order. If this review shows we are missing a bill and/or record, or that we need additional items ordered from other providers, your paralegal will order it and track it down. If the review shows that our set of medical bills and records are complete and accurate, the file is prepared and given to your attorney so he/she may begin their review to prepare the file for negotiations.
My file is currently being negotiated. How will I find out what’s going on?
It is important to note that any offers made will be conveyed to you by your attorney, but your paralegal will continue to reach out to you every thirty (30) days to update you of the status of your claim during the time when your file is being negotiated.
My claim has settled. Will I still regularly hear from my paralegal?
You will. Your paralegal will be working with a member of our settlement specialist team to complete tasks necessary to disburse your settlement, but those tasks will take some time. Your paralegal will continue to remain available to provide you with updated status of your file, and you should still be receiving updates on that same thirty (30) day interval.