Respond to a new lawsuit by both an answer and also an accompanying demand for information that the plaintiff’s attorney cannot refuse to give you in a limited time period. This simple tactic impresses the plaintiff’s attorney. It is important to make that impression, because it gives you a psychological advantage. Additionally and importantly, this simple tactic requires the plaintiff’s attorney to invest valuable attorney time in responding to you, rather than attacking you.
Impress your client. Send a copy of the letter to your client and insurer, along with your answer to the complaint. They will see you are moving quickly.The simple tactic of demanding disclosure of damages at the same time you serve your answer impresses your defendant client, and also your client’s insurer, with your efficiency and dedication to the cause of defense.
It is important to impress your client with the idea you know what you are doing, and are doing it fast. Both the client and also the insurer will listen to you best if they think you are aggressively defending. The client’s insurer rarely sees defense attorneys that immediately take the initiative. Thus, you will stand out from the pack when the next defense case comes up for assignment.
Although it can be modified for other courts, this Defense Demand Damages Disclosure is designed for federal bodily injury cases Modify it according to your rules if they differ from the federal rule on initial disclosure.
In federal court and most state jurisdictions there must be some sort of an initial “voluntary” exchange of information between the parties before the parties can serve discovery interrogatories. E.g., see the federal rule.
“A party may not seek discovery from any source before the parties have conferred as required by Rule 26(f), except….” Fed. R. Civ. P., Rule 26,(a)(3)(D)(1) Timing.
In such a jurisdiction, you cannot serve a set of interrogatories with your answer. How do you still gain — in the first hour of work on the file — the initiative and power of putting the plaintiff’s attorney staff into using their time to respond to you. The answer in a bodily injury case — send a letter asking for the sort of computations that take plaintiff’s staff time to prepare. Be nice, but insistent that the federal rules of procedure for initial disclosure requires an initial disclosure of all documents that the disclosing party may use to support its claims and a meaningful, complete-to-date disclosure of a computation of damages, with all records on which the computation has been based and all documents which may be used to support damages to date.
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