By Pauline Nassif, Civil Litigation Paralegal
To ensure that you will have a smooth initial consultation with your personal injury attorney you do not want to show up unprepared. You want to be able to provide your potential attorney with as much information as possible related to your accident and injuries. This is important so he/she can make a proper evaluation of your personal injury case. Bringing crucial documents with you will ensure a smooth initial consultation.
So make sure you bring these ten (10) types of documents to your personal injury consultation:
1. Medical Records and Bills
If you suffered any injuries as a result of your personal injury you have most likely been treated by a medical professional at an hospital emergency room, primary care provider, or doctor or nurse practitioner at an urgent care clinic. In any event, the medical provider may have given you a copy of your discharge record, medical record, prescription medication instructions, contact information of the provider with follow up appointment information, referral to a specialist, and potentially a bill for the treatment you received. These documents are important pieces of information which will help your attorney to better understand your current diagnosis, treatment plan, and other necessary information regarding your injuries. Your attorney will ask you to sign a medical authorization so that he or she may obtain additional medical records and billing statements on your behalf.
2. Other Party Information and Correspondence
Bring any relevant information or correspondence from the other party who is responsible for your injury. For example the driver's license, insurance and vehicle information of the person responsible for causing your auto accident or the incident or injury report, store manager's name and other witnesses' name and contact info if you fell on a wet floor at the grocery store. Additionally, also bring any correspondence from the insurer or attorney of the at-fault party or if you have received direct communication from the responsible party. This communication could be written, voicemails, emails, or even texts or Facebook messages. Bring a copy or recording to your consultation. This can be particularly important in establishing liability and for any settlement offers.
3. Police Report
You may have been given an exchange of information sheet by the police at the scene of your accident or you may be able to obtain a copy of a police report associated with your accident. If possible obtain the police report prior to your consultation and provide this information at your initial consultation with your attorney.
4. Insurance Policy Information.
Asking your insurance agent or insurance adjuster to send you a copy of your coverage selection page will assist your attorney in determining what is and isn’t covered by your insurance policies at your initial consultation.
You may have missed work due to the injuries you sustained in a personal injury. You may have been limited in your work hours due to a partial disability or you may have even permanently diminished your earning capacity. You need to bring prior paystubs to allow your attorney to properly calculate your potential damages.
6. Disability Notes
Your treating physician may have provided you with a disability note to stay out of work or school. Before giving it to your employer or school make a copy and provide it to your attorney at your meeting.
Perhaps you have had out of pocket expenses as a result of the personal injury you sustained. Keep the receipts from filling prescription medications, doctor visit co-pays, medical supplies, etc. And provide the receipts or copies of the receipts to your attorney so that he or she may assist you in getting reimbursed for your expenditures.
8. Official Documents
You may have received correspondence from another party on legal letterhead or perhaps you may have been issued a citation by the police at the scene of the auto accident, in any event be sure to bring these documents as well, as your attorney will want to discover what claims other parties are making against you.
9.Your Own Insurance Company Documents
Your insurance company may have sent you a letter and other documents which contain important information about your claim or which need to be filled out by you. Your attorney can assist you with filling out all your paperwork. Please be sure to provide these documents at your meeting.
10. A List of Your Questions
Experiencing a personal injury is a difficult time and you will have many questions that you want to have answered by a legal professional. It helps to write down your questions in advance so that you can be sure that you have a firm understanding of what to expect in the following days and weeks. Your personal injury attorney will be happy to provide you with answers to all your questions and put your mind at as much ease as possible during your claim.