Personal Injury Cases: Case Intake and Screening

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  • REM
  • REMPersonal injury claims are met with automatic skepticism. Plaintiff’s counsel’s case intake and screening must take into account our community’s exposure to tort reform, and aversion to personal injury lawsuits.
  • MWYWe all get really excited when a potential client calls—”they want to hire ME!”—but we need to take a deep breath and perform some basic risk management tasks.
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  • REMTHIS MAY REQUIRE ADVICE FROM A CONSULTING EXPERT.
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Transcript

  • 1. PERSONAL INJURY CASES: Case Intake and Screening Rich Mrazik and Mike Young May 7, 2014 parsonsbehle.com
  • 2. 2 Know what you’re up against …
  • 3. 3  Get the bare minimum: – Potential client – Potential adverse party – Nature of case  Then pause . . . Step One: Client Contact
  • 4. 4  Perform a conflict check  Perform initial self-awareness check – Can I handle a new matter right now? – Can I handle a new matter like this right now? Step Two: Initial Risk Management
  • 5. 5  Build a relationship between you, the client, and your staff.  Draw out the client’s story—and his personality.  Evaluate the client’s expectations. Then pause . . .  Reserve time to perform due diligence.  Manage the client’s expectations. Step Three: Interview the Client
  • 6. 6 Duty Breach Causation Damages Step Four: Pre-Suit Analysis Who did what wrong? - Who are the potential defendants? - What kind of case is it? - Was the conduct negligent? Intentional? - Does it breach a duty or standard of care? No harm no foul? - Did the breach actually cause damages? - Did the breach foreseeably cause damages? - What are the damages now, and in the future?
  • 7. 7 Anticipate defenses: 1. Lack of duty 2. Immunity from suit 3. Procedural noncompliance 4. Statutes of limitation 5. No proximate cause 6. No injury 7. Allocation of fault Step Four: Pre-Suit Analysis (cont.)
  • 8. 8  Assess your economic risk: A = total damages that can be proved B = risk of a bad ruling or loss at trial C = costs of prosecuting the case  Compare (A × B) versus (C)  Re-perform self-awareness check: – Can I handle this case, right now, alone? – Do I need help? More time? Both? Step Four: Pre-Suit Analysis (cont.)
  • 9. 9 Basic Case Value Metric Cost of Prosecuting Case Prospective Recovery
  • 10. 10 DARE MIGHTY THINGS.
  • 11. 11  Accept the case – Communicate with the client – Get to work!!  Decline the case – Communicate with the client – Don’t second guess your decision Step Five: Make a Decision
  • 12. 12  Rich Mrazik – rmrazik@parsonsbehle.com – 801.536.6931  Mike Young – myoung@parsonsbehle.com – 801.536.6963 Questions?