October 26, 2014 • Legal Terminology
What is a Bill of Particulars?
If you are injured in an accident and you want to claim damages, you will most probably have to file a lawsuit in New York. Once the accident case starts, your attorney needs to provide the defense with a detailed itemized list of what your claims are and what injuries you have suffered due to the accident.
This is called Bill of particulars, and additionally, your lawyer will have to itemize all your medical expenses, and special damages. This list will show how much you had to spend on medicine for treating your injuries, and how much income you have lost. All this information has to be provided so that the defense has full understanding of your claims.
How is a Bill of Particulars Prepared?
For preparing the Bill of Particulars, your attorney will have to gather all your medical records. Once the lawsuit has begun, your attorney will review your case and have all the information about the allegations, all the information about your medical bills, and the costs you have incurred for treating your injuries. Medical expenses will be divided in two based on what you had to pay out of your pocket and the amount your insurance has paid.
Your attorney will have to identify what injuries you have suffered because of the accident or wrongdoing. He will also gather information about your lost wages, since you could not attend work due to your injuries.
The defense will put forth a demand for Bill of particulars, which will contain all the questions they want answered. Your lawyer will go through each of these questions in detail and provide the required answers.
Issues with an Incomplete Bill of Particulars
There will be instances where the defense might say that your lawyer has not answered certain question/s with enough specificity, or that certain questions were ignored altogether. Based on this, the defense can therefore claim that they do not exactly know what the medical bills are, or what the claims are. In such instances, your attorney will have to supplement the first list with the additional required information. If your lawyer fails to list sufficient information in detail, then proving your claims can become difficult at the time of trial.
The defense can object saying that the plaintiff (you) did not inform us about a particular theory that is being brought up against us. Since the defense does not have sufficient notice about the particular theory, which could be negligence or malpractice, they will be unprepared to address the issue. The defense will therefore claim that the plaintiff should not be allowed to bring claims addressing that particular theory.
The Importance of a Bill of Particulars
Therefore, a Bill of Particulars should have all the information asked by the defense, and should list in detail the nature of your injuries, medical costs, and lost income. If it is incomplete and some theory is left out, then you may not be able to claim damages based on that theory during the trial.