Client Handbook

How We Start Working For You

As the founder of the Law Offices of Howard Sussman, I want you to know that we are proud to represent you in connection with your personal injury claims. I want to provide you with the best legal representation possible. In order for us to do our job I want you to know some important information about how we handle cases and what you can do to help us. You may want to review the material as your case progresses.

At our first office meeting

  • We want to learn all the details of your accident and how it has affected your life.
  • We will want to understand how the accident happened, your injuries, your medical care, property damage and any wage loss.
  • You will be asked to sign certain authorizations for us to collect accident investigation reports, medical records, medical bills and employment information.

We start working for you

    • We will contact the police department that has investigated your car accident and obtain all records and reports concerning your personal injury claim.
    • We will contact your insurance company and the other party’s insurance company and notify them that we represent you concerning your personal injury claim.
    • We will request information from your employer to document your income so that we can make a wage loss claim for you.
    • We will request medical records and bills from your providers to make sure that we understand your injuries and medical treatment and provide ongoing information to the insurance companies to make sure your bills are paid and that your claims are properly evaluated.
    • We will interview witnesses to the accident and be able to use this information to strengthen your case.

Who to speak to

      • Please do not discuss the details of your accident with anyone other than the members of your immediate family. Anything you say could be interpreted by other people in many different ways. Anyone who seeks to obtain information from you may represent the insurance company for the other side. Any information you disclose may harm or jeopardize your claim. Tell anyone who tries to get information from you that you have been advised by us not to talk about the claim.
      • A representative from the other party’s insurance company may contact you and attempt to discuss the details of your claim. You should tell him or her to contact our office. You should then call our office and inform us of their attempts to contact you.

Wage Loss

Under the Minnesota No-Fault Act, you motor vehicle insurance company is required to pay for any wages you lose due to your injuries up to $500 per week. The balance will be collected through your bodily injury claim against the at-fault party. If you are out of work, or should be off work at any time in the future because of your injuries, your insurance company will need a written confirmation from your doctor, as well as documentation from your employer of the actual wage loss you are suffering. Likewise, we will help you make any short-term or long term disability claims, if you have an income disability policy.

Medical Expenses

Under the Minnesota No-Fault Act, your own motor vehicle insurance company is required to pay for all necessary treatment that is reasonably priced and attributable to your car accident. Most motor vehicle insurance policies cover up to $20,000 of medical expenses. In the event that your benefits are discontinued or exhausted, then we will direct medical providers to bill your medical insurance company.

Discontinuance off my benefits/

It is very common for car insurance companies to require that their customers attend a medical examination with a doctor of their choice. This frequently results in a discontinuation of a client’s personal injury protection benefits that pay for both medical expenses and wage loss. We will be able to challenge this discontinuance of your benefits and represent you in an arbitration hearing filed with the American Arbitration Association. At the hearing, we will request that an arbitrator assigned by the American Arbitration Association award all medical expenses and wage loss benefits owed to you by your insurance company.

Documenting your problems

We have found that keeping a diary of events as they occur can be very helpful later when you are asked to describe your injuries and the problems that they have caused you. It should include notes about pain you experience; visits to doctors’ offices; the dates of any physical therapy; the dates on which you are able to stop using such things as neck collars, crutches, braces, canes, etc.; the number of pain pills you take each day; dates when you are able to resume doing things that were not possible during early recovery; and all other details pertinent to your medical condition. Please keep a small notebook handy where you can write down this type of information.

Staying in contact with us

One of the best things that you can do to help your case, and help us prepare it, is to keep us fully advised as to all developments regarding your medical condition. We ask that you do so in writing, so that it can become a permanent part of your file, and we ask that you do so approximately every three months.

Please do not discard the containers of any drugs prescribed by your doctors. They may well be helpful later on in your case. Keep a list of non-prescription drugs (i.e., aspirin, Advil, etc.), heating pads, and all expenses that could possibly be related to your claim. Keep a careful list of all mileage, parking, and meal expenses related to your medical care.

Medical Care

Please faithfully follow the advice of your physicians. Aside from the fact that this will bring about your recovery, it will also prevent the other party’s insurance company from claiming that some of your medical problems were caused by your failure to follow your physician’s orders. It will also help me in proving that you, in fact, have injury and the extent thereof.

How long will my case take?

Under Minnesota car accident law, we are unable to file any lawsuit or claim on your behalf against the other driver’s insurance company until a determination has been made that you can meet one of a number of tort thresholds. In order to bring such a claim, you must be disabled from your normal daily activities for a period of 60 days or more, have suffered a permanent injury of disfigurement, or have incurred expenses for treatment of your injuries totaling $4,000 or more. Normally, a determination as to whether or not one of the tort thresholds can be met cannot be made for up to a year or more following the accident date.

When will I go to Court?

In some cases, we are able to settle accident claims through negotiation (without lawsuits). In other cases, however, the insurance company disagrees with us and you regarding the value of your claim.

In the event that we must file a lawsuit, it is possible that you would be asked to answer questions in person about your accident. This is called a deposition. It is a simple matter, and we will personally prepare you for it and be present while it occurs.

Conclusion

It is important for us to stay in contact with each throughout your case. We want to become informed about changes in your life, including your injuries, medical treatment, wage loss, change of jobs, and referrals to new doctors. We do our best job when we can stay in regular contact with you and we are able to provide information to you about your case and to bring you up to date about our work. Our telephone number is (612) 332-8430 and it is answered 24/7. You can email at howard@sussmanlaw.com.

  • The Law Offices of Howard Sussman works for injured clients throughout Minnesota including the following cities:
  • Minneapolis
  • Edina
  • Roseville
  • St. Paul
  • Bloomington
  • Brooklyn Park
  • Plymouth
  • Eden Prarie
  • Maple Grove
  • Burnsville
  • Eagan
  • Blaine
  • St. Louis Park
  • Richfield
  • Lakeville
  • Golden Valley
  • Maplewood
  • Woodbury