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How a case is prepared
In accident cases involving major injuries it is essential that an attorney is employed immediately to begin preparation of the case. Delay can result in loss of important evidence, witnesses changing their stories, legal deadlines missed, and other time-critical factors.
Let's take a typical big-rig accident case. Mr. King will -
1. Immediately conduct a thorough interview of the victim or the victim's family or survivors
2. Advise client to begin keeping a daily diary to capture his or her daily experiences, thoughts, emotions, and how the accident has affected his or her life.
3. Secure proof that victim was properly insured for driving a motor vehicle
4. Immediately purchase the victim's car wreck to preserve as evidence
5. Employ a private investigator to inspect and photograph the car wreck, the accident scene and other relevant sites interview witnesses, and track down other physical evidence (such as bloodstained clothing, etc.)
6. Secure documentation that the principal defendants were insured
7. Employ an accident reconstruction expert to examine car wreck for evidence
8. Obtain an aerial photograph of the accident scene to preserve skid marks, abrasions on the asphalt, and preserve a picture of the way the scene looked before changes might be made by future construction
9. Obtain the accident reports, photographs, witness statements and other evidence collected by police agencies
10. Photograph the injured or deceased person, particularly hospital scenes, etc. and visible injuries to show to the jury a few years later if the case goes to trial
11. Collect evidence of marital and family relationships
12. Collect evidence of the victim's lost earning ability
13. Obtain documentation of insurance, commercial carrier permits, complaints etc. from the relevant offices of the Department of Motor Vehicles and CHP
14. Identify all possible responsible parties, including the truck driver, the rig owner, the trailer owner, any trucking or other firm that may have hired the rig for hauling, and etc.
15. File any complaints against public entities that may be required by law
16. Prepare, file and serve the lawsuit on all potential defendants
17. Take depositions of all witnesses and defendants; conduct other discovery as needed
18. Research all questions of law
19. Prepare a day-in-the-life video of the victim or victim's survivors
20. Obtain documents from the defendants that may have evidentiary value
21. Obtain documents from public agencies, other trucking firms, customers or former employers that may have evidentiary value
22. Conduct a financial investigation (asset check) on each principal defendant
23. Obtain medical reports and records of cost of medical services provided to the victim
24. Consult with forensic experts in event case may go to trial; interview economists, physicians, psychiatrists, accident reconstruction experts, actuarial experts, vocational rehabilitation experts, and others as needed
25. Prepare graphic displays of accident scene, injuries, etc.
26. Attempt settlement
27. Prepare the client/plaintiff to testify at trial, and make other trial preparations as may be needed
28. Prepare jury instructions, evidence exhibits and documents, witness subpoenaes, pre-trial motions and memoranda of law, jury voir dire, direct examination, cross examination, closing argument and etc.
29. If a reasonable settlement cannot be had, proceed to jury trial.