Procedures and Client Expectations When Suing an Employer
Interviewer: When someone asks you to file a case, what are some of the events that are going to occur in their case? Do people have to go to special doctors to be evaluated? What’s involved?
Stephen Boutros: I secure the medical care they need. Again, that’s first and foremost. I make sure that people get the healthcare that they need to get on the road to getting as well as they can get. I call that Maximum Medical Improvement. Meaning that someone is either fully recovered or they’ve gotten as good as they’re going to get. They’ve recovered to the extent they’re going to recover.
When I initiate a lawsuit, it begins by serving the lawsuit on the negligent parties, the employer in the non-subscriber case. Once the lawsuit is filed and served, I go through a period of time that is called Discovery, where I exchange documents and written information between the parties. Then, I take depositions where I begin to take sworn oral testimony from all the witnesses and parties involved. That’s really where case is won or lost, in the Discovery phase. This is where you get the evidence and information you need and to take the depositions in such a way to prove your case.
You have to take strategic depositions. Just going in and asking blind questions won’t get you where you want to go. You need to know where you want to go and ask the questions in a way that you get the necessary information. You formulate your questions based on the documents you previously got during the written Discovery process.
After Discovery, most cases go to mediation. This is a chance for the parties to sit down with a professional mediator, an independent party and help the parties negotiate a settlement. If you can’t resolve the case in mediation, then you go to trial, and that’s where my office come into play. The greatest advantage that I can bring is my experience. I’m a board-certified personal injury trial lawyer and I’ve successfully tried 80+ jury trials in my career. I believe that once you are in the courtroom, there’s no one better than me, in the city of Houston, to excel and advance the client’s interest.
Screening Workplace Injury Cases
Interviewer: You said that you carefully screen cases. What makes a good case versus a marginal case?
Stephen Boutros: Through the initial screening, I have to learn the basic facts of what happened. I have to know the evidence I anticipate collecting and whether I can meet the legal burdens that I have to meet to make the case. I have to know the injuries are legitimate and warrant the type of time, effort, and money that I am going to put into the case. I go through a screening process to make sure that the case is legitimate, the damages are significant, and that I’ll get the evidence to meet the elements of the case.