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Saturday, December 22, 2007


ABA General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division American Bar Association
Chair: Patricia Sexton, Kansas City

Kenneth Vercammen, Esq. Deputy Chair & Editor

In this Issue:
1.What to Expect in a Personal Injury Case
2 Season's greetings
3. More Personal Injury and Civil Litigation articles added to website

1.What to Expect in a Personal Injury Case

Compiled by Kenneth A. Vercammen, Esq

The procedures in a Plaintiff personal injury case may take from six months to several years, and a client’s patience may be sorely tried during this time. However, it has been our experience that clients who are forewarned have a much higher tolerance level for the slowly turning wheels of justice. The following a is portion of the details you may wish to inform your new personal injury clients after you have been retained:

Procedurally, the following events occur in most personal injury cases. First, your Attorney must complete our investigation and file. This will involve the collection of data from your physician, your employer, and our investigator. When we feel that we have sufficient information to form an opinion as to the financial extent of your damages, we will commence negotiations with the opposition for a settlement.

Filing of Complaint

If early settlement is not productive, then a complaint is filed, and the parties
served with notice that a claim has been made. The opposition then is given a fixed time to file what is known as an "Answer." The Answer if usually followed by a request for written interrogatories. These are questions that must be answered by the claimant with the aid of counsel. Generally, written interrogatories are followed by the taking of depositions, which is recorded testimony given under oath by any person the opposition wishes to question.

Doctor/ Treatment

It will help your case to tell us and your doctors about any injury or
medical problems before or after your accident. Good cases can be lost by
the injured person's concealing or forgetting an earlier or later injury or
medical problem. Insurance companies keep a record of any and all claims
against any insurance company. The insurance company is sure to find out if you have ever made a previous claim.

Tell your doctors all of your complaints. The doctor's records can only be
as complete as what you have given. Keep track of all prescriptions and
medicines taken and the bills therefore. Also save all bottles or containers
of medicine.


You should keep a diary of your experiences since your accident. In addition to this daily record, we also ask you to start describing a single day in the course of your life. In other words, describe what you do when you get up in the morning, the first thing you do after you go to work, what type of work and effort do you put into your employment, what activities you engage in after work, etc.

In other words, we need you to describe the changes in your working life,
your playing life, your life as a husband or wife or child or parent. In your written description of your day, we would appreciate your explanation in the greatest detail possible and in your own words how the accident and subsequent injuries have affected your life, your personality, and your outlook.

And remember that suffering does not entail mere physical pain; suffering can be emotional and can be transmitted to your family and friends, at work and at play. When you have completed this description, please return it to this office in the enclosed envelope.

Record Medical and out of pocket expenses

You can also begin to set up a system for recording the expenses incurred in conjunction with your claim in minute detail. Medical and legal expenses are a strong part of the value of your lawsuit, so good records of these expenses must be kept at all times. Your attorney will keep track of your legal expenses, which may include costs of filing, service of process, investigation, reports, depositions, witness fees, jury fees, etc.

From time to time, however, there will be expenses incurred that you must keep track of yourself. We ask you to make every effort to avoid any possible error or inaccuracy as jurors have a relentless reverence for the truth. Keep your canceled checks and your list of expenses together, for we will need them at a later date.

The Deposition

The deposition is just as important as the trial itself, and in the event you are deposed during the course of this action, you will receive detailed instructions as to procedure. After taking depositions, the case will be set down for trial. Following the setting of the case for trial, there will be preliminary conferences commonly known as pretrial hearings.

Altogether, these procedures may take from six months to several years, and your patience may be sorely tried during this time. However, it has been our experience that clients who are forewarned have a much higher tolerance level for the slowly turning wheels of justice.

Do not discuss the case

The insurance company may telephone you and record the conversation or send an adjuster (investigator) who may carry a concealed tape recorder. You should not discuss your case with anyone.

Obviously, we cannot stress too strongly that you not discuss this matter
with anyone but your attorney or immediate, trusted family. You should sign no documents without the consent of this office. Remember that at all times you may be photographed and investigated by the opposition. If you follow the simple precautions which we have set out in your checklist, we feel that we will be able to obtain a fair and appropriate amount for your injuries. If you get any letters from anyone in connection with your case, mail or fax them to your attorney immediately.

* Questioning: If any person approaches you with respect to this accident without your attorney's permission, make complete notes regarding the incident. These notes should include the name and address of the party, a description of the person, and a narrative description of what was said or done. Under no circumstances should you answer any question(s). All questions should be referred to your attorney's office.

* Surveillance: Remember at all times that you may be under surveillance and, therefore, subject to being photographed or filmed by the adverse party. Be advised that there are cases where photographs and films have been introduced in court showing claimants who were allegedly in serious condition participating in activities which they alleged they were unable to do. You do not have to live in fear of being photographed, of course, if your cause is a just one.

However, when carrying on your usual activities, keep in mind at all times that you are subject to investigation. If you have been seriously injured, do not do anything that will jeopardize your case during the course of your daily life. You should always follow your doctor's advice. If you have to do things which cause you pain, this can usually be explained to the full satisfaction of any court or jury.

There are cases where the insurance agent has attempted to discredit a
personal injury plaintiff by taking movies of the claimant engaged in various physical activities. In one case, large rocks weighing over one hundred pounds were placed at the door of the garage during the night so that claimant would have to be forced to remove the rocks in order to drive to work. This, of course, was filmed and used to discredit the plaintiff's claim in court.

Kenneth Vercammen, Esq.
Kenneth A. Vercammen is the Managing Attorney at Kenneth Vercammen & Associates in Edison, NJ. He is a New Jersey trial attorney has devoted a substantial portion of his professional time to the preparation and trial of litigated matters. He has appears in Courts throughout New Jersey each week on personal injury matters, Criminal /Municipal Court trials, and contested Probate hearings.

2 Season's greetings from Kenneth Vercammen, Esq., his family and Frizby the dog.
See photo
One of the pleasures of this holiday season is the opportunity it gives to thank many people for their friendship, goodwill and the very pleasant association we enjoy. We sincerely appreciate this relationship and are thankful for the confidence many people have shown in us. We appreciate continued referrals. We want to take the time to extend to our friends and clients our sincere gratitude because it is good friends and clients that make our business grow. Client recommendation is a very important source of new clients to us. We are grateful for the recommendation of new clients. We will do our best to give all clients excellent care. We shall do our best to justify all recommendations.
In the true spirit of the season, may we all be thankful and share in the hope for peace on earth and goodwill toward our fellow man.
May the new year bring happiness and good health to you and those you love.

More Holiday cheer at this great site:

Wesoly Siat, Bozega Narodzenia [Merry Christmas in Polish}

3. More Personal Injury and Civil Litigation articles added to website

What to do in an Accident
What to Expect in a Personal Injury Case
What is a Deposition?
Dog Bites
Uninsured & Underinsured Injury Cases
Workers' Compensation
Hit and Run Injuries
Fall Down Law in New Jersey Based on Jury Request to Charge
Accident Victims Rights: Insurance to Pay for Medical Treatment
NJ Medical Fee Schedule
Lost Wages
Submission of Bills to Car Ins.
Filing of Complaint
Investigation of Defendant Ins.
Interrogatory Questions to Plaintiff
Diary & Record keeping
Subpoenas in a Court Case
Wrongful Death
Medical Malpractice
Personal Injury: Winning Strategies - Book Available
Fighting Insurance Companies
Personal Injury Interview Form
Personal Injury Fact Sheet


The American Bar Association Tort & Insurance Law Committee of the General Practice Division monitors federal and state legislation affecting rules of procedure and tort reform The committee presents and sponsors programs at the Annual Meeting often dealing in tort and litigation issues.
Articles needed for American Bar Association Tort & Insurance Law Committee Newsletter
They feature a newsletter with Personal Injury forms and articles plus tips on marketing and improving service to clients. Kenneth Vercammen of Edison serves as the Editor. Please email articles, suggestions or ideas you wish to share with others in the Tort and Insurance Committee. You will receive written credit as the source and thus you can advise your clients and friends you were published in an ABA publication. The ABA is increasing the frequency of publication of their email newsletter. Send us your short tips on your great or new successful marketing techniques. You can become a published ABA author.


TORT AND INSURANCE COMMITTEE General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division

Chair: Patricia Sexton, Kansas City

Kenneth Vercammen, Esq. Deputy Chair and Past Chair
2053 Woodbridge Ave.
Edison, NJ 08817
(Phone) 732-572-0500
(Fax) 732-572-0030
Personal Injury blog-