What Should You Bring to Your First Meeting with Your Personal Injury Attorney?
Perhaps you’ve suffered personal injuries due to the negligence or intentional acts of another person that resulted from a motor vehicle crash, medical malpractice, premises liability, products liability or any other type of wrongful behavior. You’ve considered your options and wisely determined that it’s time to confer with an attorney.
As your first meeting approaches, it’s completely normal to feel some apprehension. After all, most people are not accustomed to dealing with the legal system. But as with almost everything, preparation can reduce, or even eliminate, stress or anxiety.
In this article, we’ll discuss how you can best prepare for your first meeting with your new lawyer and what you should bring with you to the meeting.
Law Enforcement and Other Investigative Materials
In many personal injury cases, some type of investigation results. For example, law enforcement officers prepare accident reports after investigating traffic accidents. Insurance companies, grocery stores, and other businesses conduct investigations when people are injured on their property. In fact, the injured victim is sometimes asked to fill out a form.
You may or may not have access to these various documents. However, if you have copies of any such reports or any other materials related to the investigation of your accident, bring them with you.
Photographs and Video
We’ve heard all through our lives that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” This can be especially true when recreating an accident scene or explaining damages to a jury. If you have photographs, videos, or other representations of an accident scene, damaged automobiles, injuries, parties, or anything else related to your case, bring them all to the meeting. Even a photograph that you think is unimportant or of poor quality may reveal something that your attorney thinks is important.
And don’t shy away from photographs that you think are harmful to your case. It’s better that your attorney knows everything now. Plus, your attorney’s assessment of the photograph may be different than yours.
Medical Treatment and Diagnostic Information
Every medical diagnosis and all medical treatment notes are important. If you have notes or other information from hospitals, doctors, and other medical care providers, bring them. That way, your attorneys can start putting together your medical history as soon as possible.
Your prior medical history may also be relevant to the case. Therefore, you also need to bring any information you have concerning injuries or accidents that occurred before the accident you intend to discuss with your attorney.
Costs and Expenses Related to Injuries and Medical Treatment
Remember, when you are injured as a result of another’s negligence, you are entitled to recover all of your medical expenses and other costs related to the accident. Therefore, it’s important to bring all records of expenses you have incurred. This can include hospital bills, doctor bills, prescription costs, nursing care, chiropractor bills, ambulance expenses, diagnostic expenses (such as x-rays, MRIs and CT scans) and any other similar expenses.
Personal injury victims are also entitled to recover for lost wages. Therefore, if you have missed work, it’s helpful to bring some recent pay stubs, tax returns, or other documentation of your earnings and salary. Also bring any information you might possess which documents the amount of time you have missed from work.
Bring copies of all correspondence from or with any insurer. Bring a copy of the declarations page of any insurance policy that you think might apply to your case, including your own auto and health policies. Sometimes, personal injury victims are surprised to learn that a variety of different insurance policies might be applicable to the case. Therefore, your lawyer will quiz you carefully in this regard.
If you have received any documentation from an insurer regarding the accident or your treatment, bring it. This includes any documents, questionnaires, or forms that your health or automobile insurer has asked you to complete.
Information Concerning Witnesses
If you have contact information for any witnesses, bring it with you to the meeting.
What if I Don’t Have Everything?
Don’t worry and don’t stress. Just bring what you have.
The lawyers at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield have investigated hundreds of accidents and can use independent avenues to locate much of the needed information you can’t put your hands on. We’ll work with you to develop a plan of action on how to get everything we need.
Bring Lots of Questions
At Nelson MacNeil Rayfield, we know you have lots of questions. Feel free to write them all down and bring them with you. We’ll take the time to answer them all. And rest assured that we’ll work with you until the end to make sure that the wrongdoers who caused your injuries will be held accountable. It’s the only fair result for injured victims, and the only way to make sure society remains as safe as possible for all of us.