Being a paralegal is almost like being a private investigator. You know those murder mystery books we all love to read? Agatha Christie, Scott Turow, James Patterson… etc.
Ok, so maybe I’m not going to be chasing after a murderer or a drug dealer or in a jail cell interrogating a criminal. But I am going to be getting to the bottom of other issues.
As a personal injury paralegal, my job was to get to the bottom of why the plaintiff was so hurt and was the plaintiff really as hurt as he/she made it out to be. Yeah, I get it, reading medical record after medical record is not very glamorous but your diligent work can make or break the case. Most of the time it’s just going to be a boring exercise of figuring out what is actually ailing the plaintiff and sitting on the floor of your cubicle or office going through box after box or file after file of medical records. However, there is that one time when the review of a hospital record can produce the adrenaline rush of a murder case.
A long time ago…. Gosh, it really feels like an eternity ago. In my past life as a personal injury paralegal I received a case where a plaintiff had gotten rear-ended. The complaint alleged that plaintiff was not able to work and could not even walk up a flight of stairs without pain and getting short of breath. Due to the pain plaintiff claimed he was not able to exercise and therefore gained weight and all the maladies that come from being extremely obese. Plaintiff alleged that following the accident he had developed high blood pressure, asthma as well as other accident related pains.
I began my investigation by requesting medical records from the hospital where the plaintiff had been taken immediately following the accident. Those medical records revealed that at the time of the accident the plaintiff was already heavy and a 2 pack a day smoker. I also found out that plaintiff had been seen at the emergency room prior to that date following a previous auto accident and all the complaints were the same at that time.
Needless to say, this became my favorite case for a while. I could not wait to receive the next medical record or schedule plaintiff’s deposition. I knew this case inside and out. I became a true Erin Brockovich, or so it felt hahaha.
I guess my point is, you never know when one of your “boring” cases can turn out to be the new Agatha Christie best seller so you better review all documents as if all cases have best-selling author potential.
Hope you’re having a great weekend.
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