US Legal defines “case file” as “a file which is established and maintained by an agency.” Lawyers, insurance companies, courts, and police officers all use case files to keep track of any materials or documents related to a specific claim, accident, or case. Case files exist in every field of law because the law requires documentation before any action can be taken. What a specific case file contains varies according to the availability of evidence, the type of case, the field of law, and so forth.
Patty’s personal injury attorney kept copies and originals of all her medical bills, receipts, photographs of the accident scene, witness statements, and accident reports in her slip and fall case file at his office.
George has suffered damage to his shoulder joint after a scuffle with Bill. After taking pictures of his swollen shoulder, torn suit jacket, and a sore on his wrist where Bill grabbed him, he presents the evidence to a personal injury attorney. Each time George visits the doctor, receives a bill in the mail, or discovers some new setback associated with his injury, he sends this evidence to his attorney. When it comes time to negotiate with Bill and his insurer, the evidence contained in the up-to-date case file gives George and his attorney enough leverage to insist upon a just compensation.
Other Important Information
Although it is possible to dispute the accuracy of information contained in many official records, judicial case files “must be maintained in their original form to protect the public interest and to preserve the integrity of the record system.” Most Utah courts have switched to electronic case files though lawyers will often continue to keep physical copies of every document. Courts also assign a specific number to each case to keep track of all the files. Case files kept by a personal injury attorney typically include any records about:
- the client (agreement to hire this attorney and give him or her power to act on the client’s behalf, all communication between them, basic client information, etc.);
- the injury (police report, photos, videos, 911 calls, property damage estimate, etc.);
- medical providers (bills, liens, prior medical records, medical visits since the injury, etc.);
- insurance company (client’s insurance agreement, any communication with them, demand letters, settlement offers, etc.); and
- court records (subpoenas, witness statements, motions, complaints, arbitration or court rulings, etc.).
Image “Alphabetical” copyright by Marcin Wichary.