Instructions To Briggs & Wholey Clients
In an effort to ensure that we obtain the best possible results for you, we have listed below a number of instructions. If you follow these instructions carefully, depending on what your case is, you will assist both of us in obtaining the maximum possible results: full and fair compensation for your serious injury. Some of these instructions may not apply to your case, depending on what your particular matter is with this office.
1. TALK TO NO ONE: Physical injuries, and the immediate treatment needed to attend to serious medical conditions, are often of a very personal nature. Do not talk with anyone about your injury, or how the injury occurred, except a treating physician you trust, and a representative of this office. In Maine, it is very common for an insurance adjuster to call you if you have been injured in a car accident.
In cases involving the wrongful death of a close family member, the responsible person or company might try to call you very soon after the death. This is not the time for you to undergo stressful conversations about a tragic loss.
In medical malpractice cases, a patient injured by a physician or in a hospital may be approached by a representative of the hospital seeking to pin a hurt patient down about details you do not feel ready to talk about.
If anyone calls you concerning your case, simply refer him or her immediately to this office.
2. PHYSICIAN: In Maine people may not complain a lot even if they have a painful injury. It is almost a reflex for most people to say: “Not too bad?” when asked “How is your pain?” Be honest, and tell your doctor: “On a scale of one to ten (“ten” being the worst pain, and “one” being no bother at all) my pain is “x”” .Remember that your doctor is going to write down what you say about pain, and you do not want to have to try to explain to anyone at a later date that you were just trying to be brave, but really your pain was a lot worse, or more frequent, than you let on to your doctor.
You should always tell your treating physician about any problem whatsoever which you have. Maybe your injury is not one that causes pain, but it affects you in some other way. Do not try to be as strong as you can about your injury. Your doctor needs to know about all of your complaints in order to properly treat your medical problem including: How it affects you at home; How it affects you at work; How it affects you in caring for your family; and How it affects you in enjoying the usual activities of your life.
Any time you do have problem, consult your physician and tell him as fully about that problem as you can, including any problems that you are having at work.
Please advise this office as to the name and address of any physicians whatsoever that you see concerning your injuries.
3. BILLS: Keep a complete and careful record of any and all medical bills and/or drug bills and forward them periodically to this office. Keep a record of any other expenses whatsoever which you incur.
4. CAR REPAIR: If you have an accident case, do not have the car repaired or allow it to be taken away until pictures have been taken of it. If you take pictures of it yourself, take pictures from any and all angles and take more pictures than you feel are necessary. When they are developed, forward both the pictures and the negatives to us along with the date that the pictures were taken.
5. PICTURES: You should have pictures or a video taken of yourself if you are in a cast or in traction and have as many pictures taken as possible from as many different angles as possible. Again, the prints and the negatives should be forwarded to us. Save any and all casts, pins or any medical apparatus whatsoever that is used to treat you. Make certain the doctor or physical therapist knows that we want any of these materials preserved for trial.
In addition, if you have a wound that you think will leave a scar, please take a photograph of how the wound looked when first treated. Serious bruises can be very painful, and a photograph will give a viewer a much better idea of what you went through than a word description given two years after the bruises.
6. WITNESSES: We want to talk to everyone who might know about how your injury occurred. In Maine, we are required to let the other side know the names of people who know something about your case. Please send us as soon as possible the name and address of any and all witnesses to the accident and any and all witnesses whatsoever who may know what you are going through with your injury and who would be able to tell us how you were before the incident and what problems you have after your accident. Do not leave out any possible witness whatsoever, including the name of any therapist, nurse who treats you, etc.
7. INSURANCE: If you were injured in an car accident, you should take the steps to collect on your own car damage from your own collision carrier if applicable. Your own Blue Cross/Blue Shield or your own medical payments coverage on your car policy should pay for your bills at the earliest opportunity. We can collect these later through the claim that we will be handling on your behalf.
8. DIARY: You should start keeping a diary at once. Just a few words jotted in simple notebook will help you remember your pain level, the things you couldn’t do, or the life events you couldn’t enjoy due to a serious injury. This will also help us to know about you, as an individual, and help us to convey the impact of your injury when the time comes to speak to the attorney for the person who caused your injury.
This record will be very valuable throughout your case. It will be kept strictly confidential. Your diary should include the following:
Your memory of the accident.
HOW THESE INJURIES HAVE AFFECTED YOUR LIFE - Explain in detail how this occurrence has changed your life. For example, the way you put on your clothes, the way you get in and out of bed, the way you take a bath, etc. By your life, we mean your work, your play time, your hobbies, your life as a husband or as a wife, etc. This includes your disposition, your personality or your nervousness, etc. We need to know how your injury has affected the marital relations between you and your spouse.
YOUR PAIN AND SUFFERING - We want a description of your pain, both at the scene of the occurrence and at all times thereafter. We want to know whether or not it is a shooting pain, throbbing pain, etc. We want your words and not anyone else's. Explain in detail any problem that you have with each part of the body. Also give details with regard to the medications you are taking, what they are, if you know. Keep a daily record of your complaints and progress. This can be very helpful when you are called upon to relate your pain and difficulties in Court, often many months after your accident.
USE YOUR HONEST IMAGINATION OF WHAT YOUR FUTURE HOLDS - You know your own life better than we do. Use your imagination and go truthfully into all aspects of your life. Explain to us (in the diary), in the greatest detail possible, how this occurrence has affected your life. For example, if you are injured in the summer, imagine how your injury will affect your ability to cope with winter weather and activities. Will you need help to shovel snow, maneuver through drifts of snow, bring in wood, and the like? Write that down. If you are injured in the winter, think ahead to things you will need to do to keep your home running smoothly, such as yard work, home repairs, and things of that nature. It is impossible to be too detailed. Think of a typical day in each season, and think of all the things you need to do, and want to do, from the time you wake up, until you go to sleep at night.
9. LOSS OF INCOME: Keep a very careful record of all of your loss of wages, potential income. Keep careful dates as to the amount of time that you were laid up and unable to work. Keep a careful record of anyone whatsoever who has assisted you in any way, including transportation, housekeeping, or any other way whatsoever. We want the name, address, and telephone number of these people.
10. QUESTIONS: This office will undoubtedly be contacting you periodically from time to time concerning your case. If you have questions concerning your case, please call us. Many times it will be impossible for our attorneys to return your call immediately, as it is necessary for a trial lawyer to be out of the office a great deal in court and working on other matters. If your calls are not returned promptly, as many times they will not be, you need not worry as we know what is going on with your case, and we are in charge of it. We will call you back as soon as we are available. It may be easier to answer your questions in email or letterform if you will simply write them down and send them to the office. It is impossible to accommodate you in the office without calling ahead and making a definite appointment. MAKE SURE WE ARE ADVISED OF ANY CHANGE IN TELEPHONE NUMBER, ADDRESS OR E-MAIL ADDRESS.
Copyright 2006, Briggs & Wholey