Lawyers’ Corner: Third Party No-Fault Tips from Sarah Stempky-Kime

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Some auto accident lawyers can be intimidated by Third Party lawsuits, especially when Traumatic Brain Injury is involved. Attorney Sarah Stempky-Kime has some tips to remove the fear and make your Third Party Practice more effective.

Earlier this month, Attorney Sarah Stempky-Kime paired off with defense attorney Carrie A. Kennedy of Plunkett Cooney In the Institute of Continuing Legal Education’s Third-Party No-Fault Tips and Trends. In it, they give their best advice to successfully litigate the most complex Third Party no-fault litigation. Here are some of the highlights.

Watch the Seminar: Third-Party No-Fault Tips and Trends (Subscription Required)

Preparing for Depositions

Whether you are getting ready for a plaintiff’s deposition or the that of the at-fault driver, the key is being prepared. Before any depositions are scheduled both sides should issue thorough interrogatories and subpoena and review the injured party’s entire medical record.

Counseling the Client

Sarah Stempky-Kime says the key is to know your client’s medical history better than she does.

Part of successful trial advocacy is properly preparing your client for the case and the deposition. Both ICLE speakers emphasized the growing importance of social media. Sarah Stempky-Kime encourages all her clients to set their profiles to “private” and be aware of what they post. A good health day might be cause for celebration, but taken out of context it can imply the client is less disabled than he actually is.

Stempky-Kime also recommends talking to your client early in the case about the impact of her injuries on her life – even weeks in advance of the deposition. This will help your client realize more subtle impacts over time – like her inability to bend down to load the dishwasher. These specific examples will help establish a substantial impact on her daily life and survive a motion for summary disposition later on.

Pre-Existing Conditions

This kind of preparation is especially in cases with significant pre-existing conditions. Defense attorneys will try to show that your client’s limitations are because of the condition and not a result of the accident. But through a thorough examination of your client’s abilities and limitations, you can actually make your case stronger by showing that the injury took away one small ability that was very important to the client.

Traumatic Brain Injury Cases

Many less-experienced attorneys shy away from traumatic brain injury cases. But these can be some of the strongest auto accident cases. Under the Michigan No-Fault statutes, a person with TBI diagnosed by a doctor who regularly treats the injury, his attorney does not have to establish a serious impairment. An affidavit to this effect by the doctor will defeat any motion for summary disposition.

Auto accident attorney Sarah Stempky-Kime and the team at Christensen Law have years of experience dealing with the toughest personal injury cases. If you have questions about how best to represent your clients, contact Christensen Law today to schedule a meeting.