Accidents happen, but when an accident happens due to someone’s negligence or recklessness and results in serious consequences for the victim, it may legally qualify as a personal injury rather than just an accident.
As you face the repercussions of an automotive, dog bite, slip and fall, medical malpractice, or other form of personal injury incident, you may feel overwhelmed by your medical care needs, changes in lifestyle, and so on.
Having a consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible can help you take control of the situation and seek a fair settlement in your claim. This first meeting serves as the foundation for the rest of your claim, and being prepared can expedite the process.
In this blog, we list seven items you should bring with you during your initial consultation.
1. Contact Information for Involved Parties
Interviews and testimony can serve as a significant part of the evidence presented in a personal injury claim. Your attorney can handle gathering these accounts on your behalf, provided that he or she can contact the individuals involved.
Bring contact information that you have for anyone involved in the personal injury incident. In addition to the other specific party, take note of information for eyewitnesses, law enforcement, or medical responders, as well as for healthcare providers you have visited.
2. Incident Reports
Many types of personal injury result in a law enforcement response. If officers came to the site of your car accident, fall, dog bite incident, or other injury, these officials created an incident report detailing the scene. This report will contain any laws violated and any citations issued.
Request a copy of the report at the scene. If you did not receive a copy at the time, contact the local precinct to obtain a copy or bring the contact information for the station to your consultation.
Incident reports can often give insight into the incident. For example, if the other driver in an accident received a ticket for running a red light, this citation indicates negligent or reckless behavior. Incident reports can also provide additional contact information that you haven’t been able to obtain on your own but which has been gathered by officers.
3. Medical Records
Medical costs are often the primary type of damages assessed during a personal injury case. In order for you to file a claim, your injuries and their repercussions may need to reach a certain standard of severity, which you must prove through official, objective records.
Request as extensive of medical records as you can to bring to your consultation. These records may include diagnostic images, a prescription medication list, notes from multiple healthcare providers, diagnoses from behavioral healthcare providers, and billing invoices for services such as the ambulance ride.
Your prospective attorney uses these records to assess the scope of your claim and help you decide if filing a case is a wise course of action.
4. Personal Care Information
During your consultation, the attorney will take note of your insurance provider, coverages, and your current healthcare providers. Bring all current insurance and medical cards with you to the meeting.
In addition to these cards, you may want to bring a list of providers you see aside from your primary care provider and assigned specialists, such as a chiropractor.
5. Photographs Relating to the Incident
Photographic evidence of injuries and property damage can provide some of the most compelling evidence in personal injury claims. If you took photographs at the scene, had photographs taken of you at the hospital, or have documented your injuries since the incident, bring those images with you.
6. Summaries of Official Communication
In a personal injury claim, what you say to the other party, his or her attorney, and other entities such as an insurance company can have a significant impact on the outcome. In fact, most attorneys recommend that you do not give statements to anyone without legal counsel.
If you have been in communication with anyone involved in the case, bring a summary of your communication with you. Print out screenshots or copies of emails, SMS messages, and other electronic messages. Write down what you remember from phone calls. Bring all letters you have received.
7. Your Written Statement
Before your scheduled consultation, take some time to write down what happened during the incident. Include as much as you remember.
Your prospective attorney will likely ask you questions about this written account, but having the basic statement available can provide a starting place for the conversation.
Gather the items listed above to present to your prospective attorney during your consultation. In addition to these general guidelines, provide any information that the firm requests when you set up the appointment.
Your strongest claim can start before you even retain an attorney when you arrive at your consultation armed with appropriate evidentiary support and other documents. Take the time to get your personal injury claim off to its best possible start.
For assistance with a variety of personal injury claim types, trust the team at Otorowski Morrow and Golden, PLLC.