When it comes to premises liability law (when you’re injured due to unsafe conditions on someone else’s property), a good paralegal will be an integral part of your legal team’s approach. Paralegals assist attorneys with client communication, working with other offices or personnel, filing of documents, correspondence with adjusters or insurance carriers, investigation of the claim and parties involved, and much, much more. Paralegals conduct much of the work necessary to properly represent our clients in premise liability cases.
To start things off, the paralegal(s) will need to obtain as much information as possible from you, so they will normally start their review with the client intake interview and any follow-up correspondence. This helps them narrow down as closely as possible where the incident took place, if there were any witnesses or monitoring equipment, and/or incident report(s).
The paralegal(s) will then focus their investigation on specific details about the location. Searching through Assessor office records or a property ownership search will help determine ownership of the property in question, in order to start researching the listed owners to ultimately prepare specific notices to them, which the attorneys will then review. This is the part of the process that puts the responsible part on notice that we’re representing you in this claim. It’s also how we request specific documents or evidence that must be produced or preserved, as well as inquiring about insurance coverage
While your paralegal is conducting this initial research, they will also be directing investigators to go to the scene to obtain plenty of photographs of the location of the incident. They will also request the investigators canvass the area to see if there were any witnesses available, or if there were any nearby businesses whose surveillance systems may have inadvertently taken video of the incident. They work to ensure that critical evidence does not get overlooked.
The next step your attorney and paralegal will complete is to review any applicable laws, codes, and/or ordinances relating to the location of the incident. These rules and codes describe the requirements that any owner, tenant, or operators must abide by to keep their premises safe for others. Your paralegal and attorney then compare the images of the location and your description of the incident against whatever zoning laws, municipal codes, building codes, safety procedures, etc., may apply to see if there are any violations on the part of the responsible party(ies).
In addition to investigating the details of the incident, your paralegal may reach out to local authorities to see if any other complaints and/or violations have been logged for the same location prior to your incident. Your paralegal could also be directed by the attorney to help facilitate a scene inspection so a retained expert can go and physically inspect the location of the incident to provide their opinions for our claim.
Paralegals take charge of collecting vitally important information that cements the strength of your claim going forward. These tasks will also serve as a cornerstone to future investigation into the claim, like obtaining updated photographs of the location, or additional requests for documents scene inspection to see if there have been any changes to the location since your incident took place. Your paralegal will diligently monitor these matters for the duration of the claim.
While you recover from your injuries, your legal team is sifting through as much information as they can obtain to make the strongest case for you possible. Your paralegal will keep you informed but will also be working vehemently behind the scenes to help the attorney obtain as much information as possible. While these types of claims can be unique, a good paralegal can enhance the chances for a successful recovery through their work on your premises liability claim.