So you've set up your first meeting with a personal injury attorney to discuss a potential claim. This initial consultation is a great opportunity for you and a lawyer to get to know each other briefly and to determine if you want to hire that lawyer through a formal attorney-client relationship.
Clients can get the most out these initial consultations by coming prepared with a list of questions and documents related to the case. But what documents will you need to bring? Well, it's best to bring everything. Auto accident attorneys can better evaluate and navigate a case when they can examine all the records to determine what may be relevant and what is not.
Here's a list of the types of documentation you should gather prior to meeting an attorney:
1. All photographs and evidence
Provide a copy of all photographs of injuries you and others sustained, photos at the scene of your injury, and photographs of any vehicles (automobile, semi-trucks, motorcycles) involved in a collision that are relevant to your case. If your photographs are in digital form, be sure to give your attorney a high-resolution version of the photos — resizing or minimizing these photos results in loss of quality, making them harder to zoom into.
If possible, keep any physical objects such as shoes, broken items (like cell phones or glasses), clothing or other items you wore at the time of the accident.
2. Medical Records and prescriptions
Provide your lawyer with all emergency room discharge papers or other hospital records related to your injury, and the names and locations of all primary care physicians, doctors and therapists. When it comes to personal injury cases, there are several advantages to having all the medical records: it allows both parties to assess the physical injuries and strength of the case, it provides proof of the injuries, it helps calculate the compensation for damages, and it provides a medical expert or professional to determine the cause of the injuries.
And you'll want to provide a list of all prior injuries and medical conditions, and the treating physicians and primary care physician.
You'll also want to hang on to all drug bottles, braces, splints and other orthotic devices.
3. Health Insurance Card and Auto Insurance Declarations Page
As for health insurance information, provide copies of all medical bills, health insurance Explanation of Benefits (EOB) or medical payment benefit statements, as well as copies of your health insurance cards including, your Medicare, Buckeye, Caresource and/or Wellcare Cards.
For your auto insurance information, provide a copy of your Auto Insurance Declaration page for your attorney's file.
4. Police Reports
Bring a copy of the police report, or a police report number if you don't have the report. While a police report is likely not admissible in court proceedings, they provide very valuable information for personal injury cases. The report should specify the date and time of the incident, the weather conditions, the names of any witnesses to your injury, and other information surrounding the circumstances of your accident.
5. Names, Phone Numbers and Claim Numbers
Put together a list of the names, phone numbers and claim numbers for any insurance claim that has been started and provide it to your lawyer. This also includes documents mailed to you by anyone related to or involved in the case. Remember not to discuss your case or give a statement to the other driver's insurance company until you consult with an attorney.
Keep a daily diary record or journal of your medical and emotional condition.
6. Relevant Legal Documents
If your case concerns the death of a loved one, relevant legal documents include the decedent's death certificate and will. If the case concerns someone who is unable to make decisions independently, such documents would include their Power of Attorney, Living Will and Guardianship paperwork.
How an auto accident attorney can help you
If you or your loved one were injured or killed in an automobile, motorcycle or trucking accident, you need the help of an experienced attorney to preserve your legal rights. Contact the auto accident lawyers at Lowe Eklund Wakefield Co., LPA now for a free consultation to find out how we can help protect you and your family.