I wanted to give you a tip generally about all areas of the law. All areas of the law focus on what you can prove! Unless we are dealing with expert testimony (e.g. doctors, accident reconstructionist, etc.), the law really is not concerned about theories or opinions. As a result, documentation, in all areas of the law, is a huge essential to winning your claim or legal case.
For example, I am a personal injury attorney but I just helped a car wreck victim with her claim against a GAP insurance carrier; as her car loan exceeded the amount the insurance company claimed was the fair market value of the vehicle. While I expected a battle with this insurance carrier as they had not responded to my prior letters, I was told they would be happy to process the claim once they were forwarded documents such as: the car’s repair estimates; the car’s payoff and: the original promissory note for the vehicle. I believe my client may have already sent this material but, I cannot prove that she did or that she sent it to the correct fax number. So now, after a long delay by the insurance carrier, we will send the material by certified mail and/or facsimile and follow up with a phone call making sure the material was received. Thereafter, I may still follow up with another letter confirming my future conversations with the carrier that the material was received and I can expect my client’s claim to be processed within “X” days.
So to expand this philosophy to other areas of the law, if you loan someone money, be sure to put the terms of the loan in writing and get their signature on the same; preferably with a notary public witnessing it. If you send money into a collection agency, be sure to send a letter with it or write on the check; for example, “payment of $500 with $2,000 still owing” or “full and final payment of all money owed”. If you are dealing with a divorce and the ex-spouse does something against the Court’s Order, send yourself an e-mail describing the incident. When you are ready to bring this up to your divorce lawyer or the Court, you will have an easy way to access the date of the event and its corresponding details.
All areas of the law work off of what can we prove! And yet, we all forget the little details of events and conversations because our lives tend to run at 110 m.p.h. Therefore, whether it is through e-mail, facsimiles or certified mail, document your conversations/actions when you are dealing with a possible legal dispute. Also, unless the happenings of the incident are crucial to your case, you don’t have to incur legal fees by having an attorney review every little incident. Rather, because you have all the details of the event saved, you can present all the incidents at once so either a pattern can be seen and/or the attorney can distinguish between the important and unimportant details.