Lessons From A St. Louis Personal Injury Lawyer
Wolff and Wolff has proved itself to be a trusted St. Louis car accident attorney and has experience in a variety of different cases. Such examples include vaping incidents, car, truck, motorcycle, and bicycle accidents, medical malpractice, worker’s compensation and more. Wolff & Wolff Trial Lawyers have a combined 90 years of experience practicing personal injury law. Those years of professional practice come with many valuable lessons learned. Here are some of the 40 most valuable lessons learned from being in practice in the field of personal injury law.
Medical records are hard to obtain
You typically never get the full medical record the first time you request it. There are parts of the record that you may not be able to obtain easily. For this, you will need to get emails, phone records from consults, phone messages, and any other information that can help you obtain these records.
Some defense lawyers have never seen a discovery request
It is true! These lawyers may exasperate you. You have to keep your head down and your eye on the ball. The louder the defense screams, the better chance you have.
Prepare every case for trial. Excellent preparation sets the case up for a maximum settlement opportunity.
You can have bad clients, too
A client who has been through several lawyers may be a client you wish you did not have and can complicate the process.
Client control is the key
Client control is very important. Should you let your client take control, there is always the possibility that the outcome will not result in your favor.
Do not just wing a deposition
Preparing for a deposition and knowing what to expect will be more effective than showing up and just winging it.
Keep the five-minute rule in mind
When the jury asks for liability exhibits and gives a verdict within 5 minutes of receiving the exhibits, take whatever offer is on the table. It is a defense verdict.
Do not underestimate the power of social media
Defendants sometimes put really damaging information on Facebook and other social media sites. You should investigate the different social media platforms as soon as the case is in your office.
A lay witness can be of help
One good lay witness is better than any five family members.
If it seems like you know what you are doing, the court will be more likely to believe what you are presenting.
Be nice to assistants
When you need a doctor on your side, be sure to be extra accommodating and friendly to the doctor’s assistant.
Do not go with your first drafts
If the opening statement you give is your first draft, it should be edited to ensure it is not too long or confusing.
Start working on your opening, closing and your voir dire once you start learning about your case.
Do not trust mediators
A good mediator is hard to come by. Most mediators do not work with the parties as they should.
The early bird catches the worm
Show up to court early and make friends with the court clerk. This can save you a lot of time.
See the scene for yourself
Visit the scene of the occurrence. Google Maps is great, but nothing that compares to being at the scene yourself in order to better understand the circumstances surrounding the injury.
Do not use the term “accident”
Never call what happened to your client an accident. It is a crash, a wreck or an event caused by a negligent act.
Be wary of the foreseeability card
Most judges forget about foreseeability. Do not let that occur to you. Foreseeability is a great set up for your case.
Stop being cheap
Spend money on good exhibits. There is no time to be cheap.
A co-counsel can always be of help to you
If you do not know how to work your case properly, there is no harm in getting a co-counsel. It can be beneficial and you can learn a lot.
Bond with your client
On a wrongful death case or any case, go to your clients’ home if you can. You may get ideas, can bond with your client and gain your client’s trust.
Never stop amending until you are satisfied
Keep amending your interrogatory answers after you constantly review them to make sure your file is current and up to date.
Keep on digging
If you get shut down when looking for something, you need to come after it from another direction. If you keep digging from above, below and from the side, you should find what you are looking for.
There is nothing wrong with getting along with the other counsel
It is okay to trust the opposing counsel unless you catch them lying, then you should never trust OP again.
Order an x-ray for broken bones
An x-ray of a broken leg tells the story better than the medical record that says the leg is broken.
Take your time to hit the books
There are a lot of good books out there. Read them. Anything by Friedman, Malone, Keenan, Koskoff, Rowley, Ball, Spence, Mitnik, or Moe Levine is worth reading and learning from. However, do not forget that you still have to think about your case and apply the lessons accordingly.
Utilize up to date
Up to date is the best place to learn about medical issues.
Channel your inner creative
Be creative in your research. Different databases will give you different articles.
Do not forget to use listservers. If you have a question, there should be someone that can attend to your case. It is better to ask a question than guess and be wrong.
Whatever happens, you should not stop getting a case
The longer you go without trying a case, the harder it will be to go back to the courtroom.
Focus groups are important
Learn how to do a focus group properly or hire someone to run a focus group for you. It will give you a lot of information about your case that you may have not thought about.
It helps to make a list
Make a list of the 20 ways you can lose your case. Figure out how to neutralize them or use them to your advantage.
Have time for yourself
Make sure that you make time for your family, recreation, vacations, rest, and exercise. If you do not take care of yourself, your performance quality may take a hit.
It is important for you to have fun while working
If you are not having fun at this, there are other professions out there that may be more suited for you.
Nothing beats hard work and patience
Shortcuts will never work out.
Treat others well
Treat people the same way that you want to be treated.
Do not be afraid to learn more
Keep going to practice seminars and never stop learning.
Always keep your word
If you do what you say, you will be respected more.
For anyone out there who takes an interest in personal injury law, these are the things that you should keep in mind. Throughout their years in the industry, these are what the lawyers at Wolff & Wolff have learned and keep in mind during every case.
About The Author
Alvin Wolff has practiced personal injury law for nearly 40 years. During his tenure, he has handled more than 7,000 cases involving matters of personal injury. He has tried more than 100 cases before a jury. As a leading St. Louis personal injury attorney, Alvin says what drives him is that personal injury law is about helping people. He is licensed to practice law in Missouri and Colorado and is a community-minded citizen who is deeply involved in local charities.