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As they say in the hotel chain commercials, "The Best Surprise is No Surprise."

Before going to court to try your injury, workers compensation or disability case, it is important to look at the OFFICIAL file. This is the file the judges and their staff will be looking at when deciding your case. Why is this important and why do we do it ?

  • *We want to make sure that the evidence supporting your case made it to the file. Clerks can make mistakes. Mail can get lost. People may have similar names.
  • *We want to make sure someone else’s documents are not in your case file. It can confuse the Court, irritate the judge and perhaps prejudice your case.
  • *We want to make sure the insurance defense lawyers have not snuck embarrassing or negative information in your file without telling anyone. In workers compensation cases, we have seen surveillance videotapes from the insurance company’s private investigators sitting in the file for the Judge to look at before trial. We have seen transcripts of taped or written statements as well as other private information placed in the file without a "courtesy copy" to us. ANd, we have seen materials from other cases our client or their family members may have been involved in put in the file without our client’s knowledge.
  • *We also want to follow up to make sure things we have asked to be done in fact are getting done. These can include: issuing subpoena to make sure that witnesses attend trial, hearings and depositions; reviewing files that have been requested from non-parties for production at the court prior to trial; and, that "special requests" have been acted upon (i.e., video equipment, translators, handicap accessible court room, computer equipment, special scheduling to accommodate a surgeon’s schedule, etc.).
  • *We also want to see what other notes may be in the official court file. Are there notes of telephone conversations with the other side ? Are there memos as to whether a trial will actually go forward as scheduled ? It is best to know these things as far in advance as possible. No one wants to make a wasted or unsuccessful trip to court.

We frequently go with our clients to look at their official files together. That way, we can make copies of anything we do not already have, share important papers with our clients and their families (such as the official accident reports, the official wage chart, the government’s earnings history, the official "attending physicians reports" and any Orders entered before we were retained) and we can explain what these important papers mean.

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