Once a personal injury lawsuit has started, you or your lawyer is obligated to provide the defense with a detailed itemized listing of exactly what your claims are and what injuries you have suffered. Additionally, your lawyer will have to itemize what your medical expenses are and something called special damages.
How much are your lost earnings, how much have you spent on medicine, and how much was the hospital bill? You will have to provide the defense with all this information so that they have a firm understanding of what your claims are. This information is provided to the defense in a document called the Bill of Particulars.
When do you have to provide the Bill of Particulars?
When you begin a personal injury lawsuit in New York, you have to file two documents, Complaint and Summons, with the court. The Complaint is a general statement giving the basis for the lawsuit, and the Summons is sent to the defendant. After receiving these documents, the defendant will respond by sending you two documents, which are an Answer to Complaint and Demand for a Bill of Particulars. In the Answer to Complaint, the defendant will either deny the allegations, respond with a defense, or claim ignorance about the matter.
How does a lawyer prepare the Bill of Particulars?
Your lawyer will first gather all of your medical records that are on file. Once the personal injury lawsuit has been started, your attorney will have your medical records reviewed by a medical expert to ensure the validity of your allegations and claims.
He will gather all the medical bills that you have been paying out of your pocket, as well as what your insurance has paid. Your lawyer will then inquire whether you have been attending your regular job, and if you have been absent from work due to your injuries he will gather the necessary information about your lost income and potential lost income as well.
Putting all this information together, your lawyer will have to answer the detailed question that the defense gives to you, which is called the Demand for Bill of Particulars. Your lawyer will have to go through each and every question, every demand, and answer all of them correctly. He will have to identify what specific injuries you have suffered because of the wrongdoing.
Importance of the Bill of Particulars
There can be instances where the defense can turn around and accuse your lawyer about not answering their questions with enough specificity. Due to this, the defense will say they do not know what exactly your claims are, or what the exact amount of your medical bills is. Therefore, to make sure, no time is wasted, Demand for Bill of Particulars should be answered as thoroughly and precisely as possible. The answers can take any of these forms:
- Providing the required answer
- Inability to answer the question due to lack of sufficient information at the present time
- The question is objectionable