Damages List

AuthorLeonard H. Bucklin
13. Damages List
This is the place for a summary, not a long description.
When the judge asks, “What are your damages?” When the jury needs to know,
“What is the rational way of adding up the economic damages from loss of the contract
to sell 1K Widgets?” When the mediator asks, “What are your out-of-pocket costs?”
When your defendant’s insurer questions, “What are plaintiff’s out-of-pocket expens-
es?” “How long was the plaintiff in the hospital?” “What are the injuries that were diag-
nosed?” Those are the times you must be able to respond with a bulleted list which is
short, direct, categorized, and dollar-specific.
We provide a form to summarize damages in a personal injury case. Begin complet-
ing the form as soon as the case starts. It will help you determine:
– How much the case is worth to you as an attorney, and how much in
resources you can afford to spend on the case.
– If there are holes in what should be known about damages. Your staff can
work on filling gaps while you are out of the office.
§13.1 Tip and Form: Medical Bills
In the typical bodily injury case the defense puts in a general denial of everything you
pleaded. That means that at trial you will have to prove the medical treatment was rea-
sonable, that it was caused by the accident, and that the charges were reasonable. Do
not be caught flat-footed at trial by an objection to introduction of the medical bills on
the ground that they have not had the necessary foundation of testimony on what was
reasonably necessary for medical treatment.
As soon as the defense gives you a general denial answer, including a denial of your
pleading of medical expenses, do two things.
1. Immediately send the defense a nice letter enclosing a medical authoriza-
tion from your client for them to inspect medical records. Opposing counsel
will get it sooner or later, so give it to them right away to justify step 2 below.
2. Sixty days later send out the following Request for Admissions.
We place this Request for Admissions Re Medical Expense behind the “Damages List”
tab so that you will handle it during the first ninety days of the litigation. That is the cru-
cial time period for you to establish that you will take no nonsense from the defense.

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