Do I need a lawyer when I’ve received a letter of representation about a personal injury?

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Do I need a lawyer when I’ve received a letter of representation about a personal injury?

In my home, I had a person that was bit by my dog a while ago. At this time, I’ve received a letter of representation from their attorney requiring that I furnish over all records of my dog to the lawyer. Should I do this? Do I need a personal injury lawyer too? The letter mentions that if we do not cooperate then the lawyer would have to follow litigation. Also, the damages were only superficial to the person and they were fine within a week. They did not spend the night at the hospital either. In Norristown, PA.

Asked on August 19, 2010 under Personal Injury, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

1) You don't need to turn anything over until/unless you are sued and the proper legal mechanisms which are part of a lawsuit (called "discovery") are invoked, except...

2) If you have homeowner's insurance, you should notify your insurer of the claim and cooperate  with your own insurer, which may involve turning over records to your insurer. (Failure to notify and cooperate could invalidate coverage you'd otherwise have available.

3) The person bit cannot recover more than their actual damages (e.g. medical costs, lost wages) plus possibly pain and suffering (for more  serious injuries). If you are sued--or wish to consider settling--you will have the chance to see (in court) or ask for (as part of settling) evidence of the injuries, their severity, and any costs or economic losses.

4) Once you're threatened with a lawsuit, you probably should retain a lawyer to defend you and/or negotiate a lower settlement on your behalf; though if your insurer defends you, they will provide the lawyer.

5) Getting back to (1), above--don't provide anything until you consult with an attorney.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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