When you meet your new client for a Workers’ Compensation claim, you are always going to ask “Where were you when you were hurt?”
In Spanish you would ask “Donde estaba cuando usted se hirio?”
Let’s do our usual dissection of this question. ”Donde” means “where”. ”Estaba” is the past tense of “estar” which means “to be” or, in this case, “were”. The other past tense of “estar” is ”estuvo”, but “estaba” is used when we are not asking about an event that is a specific moment- your client worked at the job site for at least a little while before he was injured. ”Estuvo” would be used if the question was “Where were you at the exact moment that you were hit by the car?”
“Cuando” means ” when”. ”Usted” means “you”. “Hirio” is “hurt”- it is the past tense, singular. The infinitive is “herir”
Listen to the question:
Copyright, 2012, Jeff Scholnick. and Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Scholnick, P>A
This is a blog that was created to assist attorneys communicate better with their Spanish speaking clients. In the last few entries, we have been learning sentences and questions to help personal injury and workers’ compensation attorneys perform the initial interview with their clients. In order to make your job easier, I have crafted questions that require a demonstrative response. That way, you don’t have understand all of their Spanish words, if they show you what happened. The hope is that, by concentrating on functional Spanish, you will save enough of your gray matter to keep up with the newest cases decided by the highest Court in your State. We may as well try to keep things simple, since we have enough complications in our practices. Below is another such sentence.
In English: ”Please draw a picture of where you slipped and fell.”
In Spanish: ”Por favor, haga un dibujo donde se resbalo y cayó.”
Let’s do our usual dissection of this sentence. ”Por favor” means “please”. ”Haga” actually is the command form of “hacer” which means “to make” or “to do”.
“Un” means “a” in the masculine form because it applies to the masculine “dibujo” which is the noun “drawing”. The verb “to draw” is “dibujar”. ”Donde” is “where”. ”Se” is the pronoun “you”. ”Resbalo” is the past tense “you slipped”. The infinitive is “resbalar” which is “to slip”. ”Y” is “and”. “Cayó” is the past tense “you/he/she fell”. The infinitive is “caer” or “to fall”.
Below is Lucy Pardo’s rendition of this sentence:
Copyright, 2012, Jeff Scholnick, Esq., and Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Scholnick, P.A. All rights reserved.
This is a blog that was created to help attorneys communicate better with their Spanish speaking clients. Better communication leads to more satisfied clients. The more satisfied the clients, the more likely they will refer other people. Clients who are satisfied don’t complain to the Attorney Grievance Commission or your local bar association. Everyone ends up happier.
In the last couple of weeks, we have spent most of our time learning sentences and questions related to criminal cases. However, personal injury and workers’ compensation attorneys also may need to learn sentences to help them in their practices. Let’s look at one of those sentences that can be used in the initial interview. Notice that the sentence is designed to elicit a demonstrative response. I figure that, if you only know a little Spanish, a question such as “How did the accident occur?” won’t help us much because it will generate a descriptive response with Spanish words that you don’t understand. Isn’t it more productive to ask your new client to draw a picture, so that you can watch and comprehend what happened?
In English: ”Please draw a picture of where the accident occurred.”
In Spanish: “Por favor haga un dibujo a donde ocurrió el accidente.”
As usual, let’s dissect this sentence, so that we can remember it. ”Por favor” means “please”. ”Haga” is the command version of “hacer” for “you/he/she”. In other words, you are saying “Make me a picture” which is a command. ”Hacer”, the root word is “to make” or “to do”.
“Un” is “a”. ”Dibujo” is the noun “drawing”. (The verb “to draw” is “dibujar”.) ”Donde” is “where”. ”Ocurrió” is the past tense of “occur” for “you/he/she/it.” The root word “to occur” or “to happen” is “ocurrir”. ”El” is “the”. Finally, “accidente” is “accident”.
Listen to Lucy speak this sentence below, especially the word “dibujo” because the “j” is pronounced as an “h”.
Below are a couple of accidents that might take a little while to draw…. OUCH!
Copyright, 2012, Jeff Scholnick, Esq and Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Scholnick, P.A. All rights reserved.