Paralegals are a great profession if you’re looking to make good money without spending too much time in college. Most paralegals finish their schooling within two years! It’s also perfect for those who like each workday to look different. One day, you might be looking into Gainswave before and after pictures and the next you’re researching the effects of Botox.
Here’s what to expect as a plaintiff personal injury paralegal.
Request Medical Records
Get ready to become a professional at requesting medical records. Medical records are vital to any personal injury case. After all, it’s what proves your client’s injuries. This is why requesting medical records is one of the most important functions of a paralegal. While this task is time consuming, you’ll easily get the hang of it over time. Usually, you’ll have your client sign what’s called a HIPAA authorization, which gives medical facilities the authority to release their records to your firm. Your job is to send out the authorization to the appropriate facility and keep track of when the records come in.
While you won’t always be creating the pleadings yourself, you’ll certainly be drafting your fair share of pleadings as a paralegal. Your attorney will typically give you what they want in their pleading, and it’s your job to draft it to the court’s standards. This includes making sure you have the correct headings and including any exhibits in the appropriate format that your attorney mentioned in their pleading.
Attorneys are busy, and so are paralegals. One of the ways that a paralegal assists their busy attorneys is to handle a majority of the client communication. As you will be working the ins and outs of the case, it’s often the paralegal who will call clients with updates on their case. You’ll be the point of contact between the client and paralegal. If you don’t enjoy talking on the phone, this probably isn’t the best job for you.
While some attorneys and paralegals have a legal secretary, this isn’t always the case. Depending on how much assistance you have, you might be responsible for handling administrative tasks. This means calendaring, scheduling travel arrangements, and making sure the printers have enough ink cartridges. Usually, larger firms have other staff who handle administrative tasks, but if you work for a solo practitioner, be ready to order the coffee for the office.
It comes as no surprise that you’ll be performing a lot of legal research as a paralegal. After all, you’re there to help your attorney in any way that you can. While the attorney went to law school, you come with a fresh set of eyes. Also, if you’ve worked as a paralegal for a long time, you might have more knowledge than some law school students or recent graduates. You’ll act as a second set of eyes for your attorney. We hope that you like to research case law if you’re thinking of becoming a paralegal!