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It is important to be as organized as you possibly can be during your initial personal injury consultation. This will enable the lawyer to better evaluate your case and determine how they can help you. Below, you will find a list of what to bring during your initial meeting – this should serve as a case consultation template.
If you have been personally injured, things may start to get emotional when you talk about the situation. In this state of mind, you may forget important details and it may be more difficult to summarize the situation in a coherent manner. For this reason, it can be very helpful to prepare a written statement that summarizes the situation to take with you. This way, you can simply hand the summary to the lawyer instead of trying to verbalize it on the spot. This will give the lawyer a good framework on which to build. Try to keep your written summary to one page and make it easy to scan.
In addition to the written summary, one of the most helpful items you can bring is a sequential timeline of events. Include the dates and times of all the important events and be as accurate as you can. The timeline should include things like the date and time the incident first occurred, each time you received medical treatment and where, the names of the doctor(s) who treated you, when you talked with the police and the names of who you talked with, if and when you had contact with the insurance company and who you spoke with, if anyone else has contacted you about the case, etc. When lawyers build a case, they usually create a detailed timeline. Your timeline can be a good start to build on for a personal injury consultation.
If you are in need of a personal injury attorney, you are likely very stressed. It can help to have a spouse, a family member, or a close friend in the meeting with you for moral support. This person may also be able to help clarify points you are making to the lawyer.
If you have received medical treatment due to your personal injury case, you should have on hand copies of any medical records you have received over the course of the treatment. This includes a description of the treatment and the bill for the treatment.
If the police were involved in your situation, you should try to obtain a police report and/or an information exchange sheet before your meeting and take it with you. You should also bring the name, and badge number if you have it, of any police officer you have spoken with.
If applicable, you should bring the name of your insurance company, their address, their phone number, and the policy number. It can also be a good idea to have a copy of the policy. The lawyer may want to review it to see what you are entitled to.
A picture can be worth a thousand words when building a case. Even if you just took a snapshot at the scene of the incident with your cellphone, you should bring it along. Also, your doctor(s) may have visual documentation of your injuries as well. You can request copies of these. Even if you didn’t take a pictures at the time of the incident, it may be helpful to go back and take pictures of the scene for reference when explaining what happened.
If you have missed work due to your injuries, it is important that you document lost wages. Bring along pay stubs, tax returns, business records, or any other documentation you have that could be used to calculate how much wages or business you have lost. If you have taken personal time or sick leave, bring along documentation of this as well.
The lawyer will want copies of personal documents for your file including driver’s license, social security card, and possibly your birth certificate. Bring along any other documentation that could be helpful as well. For example, if you were bitten by a dog at a party, bring along a copy of the invitation. If you were in an automobile accident, bring along the name of the other driver and their insurance information if you have it. If you were injured by a defective product, bring along a sample of the product including its label and a receipt where you bought it. If you were injured by a pharmaceutical drug, bring along a copy of the prescription. If you were injured by a bus, bring along the bus number and the driver’s name if you know it.
If there were any witnesses in your case, bring a list of all the information you know about these witnesses including their name, phone number, email address, and physical address. If you do not have this information but there were witnesses present, make a list of everything you can remember about the people who were at the scene. This information could be helpful in tracking down witnesses.
As you are preparing for your initial meeting, it would be a good idea to keep a running list of questions that you have. If you don’t write them down, invariably you will forget something important. It is a good idea for you to ask if the attorney/law firm has experience with your type of case, how much experience they have, approximately how long the case will take, and what type of settlement can you expect. Most attorneys will provide a free legal consultation. The May Firm has a great deal of expertise in personal injury cases and has won millions of dollars on behalf of their clients.
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