Organization is essential when preparing your case. Even before an attorney evaluates your claim, it is vital that you have all the necessary documents and information in order or else you risk delaying the resolution of your lawsuit.
Below, you will find a list of what to bring to your first consultation so that a personal injury attorney can begin working on your case immediately.
If you or another person took pictures of the scene of the accident and/or any injuries you sustained, be sure to bring them to the consultation. These photos may be crucial pieces of visual evidence that the attorney will be able to use to prove your case. If possible, bring print photos rather than digital files, as this will make it easier for the lawyer to discuss the details with you.
Incident Report or Written Description of Accident
Bring documentation of the incident to the consultation also-preferably an official police report, but you can also write down a detailed description of the event. Practice telling the story of the incident from beginning to end so that you come across clearly to the attorney.
Information of Witnesses
If you gathered names and contact information of any witnesses at the scene of the accident, be sure to bring this list with you to the consultation. Even if you did not get their contact information, briefly list a description of the people who were present. This could come in handy later in tracking them down.
If you received medical treatment for injuries you sustained from the accident, then you should have received physical copies of medical receipts, bills, and other records. The attorney will need to review this information at your consultation in order to estimate how much compensation you are entitled to.
Automobile/Health Insurance Policy
Bring a copy of your insurance policy so that the attorney can evaluate the details of your coverage. If you were involved in a car accident, you will need your auto insurance policy, as well as the insurance information of the driver who hit you; if you were injured in another manner-slip and fall, for example-you will want to bring your health insurance policy.
Letters of Correspondence
If you have sent letters to or received correspondence from the defendant or their insurance company, be sure to give the attorney copies of those documents. These letters may be something as simple as a notice that your request is being processed, or as in-depth as a demand payment letter. A judge will review all of these documents, so your attorney should also.
It may be intimidating and stressful to present your case to an attorney at a consultation by yourself, which is why it is recommended that you bring along a support person-preferably a spouse or family member-for moral support. This person should be intimately familiar with the accident and be able to assist by clarifying certain points to the lawyer. It is also a good idea to practice recalling your accident with this person.
Lots of Questions
As you prepare for your consultation, make a list of questions you would like to ask the attorney. You should ask questions regarding your case specifically, but also about the qualifications and experience of the attorney in handling lawsuits like yours. Most attorneys provide a free first consultation, so that is your time to get answers to your questions.