Five Things You Should Bring To Your First Meeting With A Personal Injury Law Firm
You may have been involved in an accident of some type -- whether in a motor vehicle, a commercial business or some other public place. Perhaps your injuries have left you with medical bills, required time away from your paid job and otherwise cost you financially. Meeting with a personal injury law firm to discuss your case is a great idea -- but what should you expect, and what should you have with you?
First of all, remember that a personal injury attorney wants to help you, and has the knowledge and experience to assist you in navigating the negotiations and paperwork required from insurance companies, law enforcement agencies and medical offices. So if you don't have documentation of your accident or injuries readily available, don't let that stop you from going to a meeting. But if you have some materials accessible, that can help the lawyer to accurately assess your individual case. Here's what you should try to compile:
- Copy of the police report or accident report. Especially if you were involved in an auto accident, there should be paperwork from a third party about your case. Call your police department with the date and location of the accident, and expect to pay a small fee to get a copy of the documents. In some jurisdictions, the police will refer you to the city or county courthouse, where records are filed. This can take 1 to 2 weeks to get in some areas so plan ahead.
- Photos. Nothing helps an attorney visualize the scene like actual photos. It's okay if you don't have any images from the accident; have a friend or relative go back to the scene and take pictures of the streets and signage for a motor vehicle accident or the building where you were injured. Bring photos of your injuries -- if possible, right after they happened. You should also take photos of any damage to your property, like your car.
- Wage loss information. Have a month's worth of pay stubs so your attorney knows what you were making. You should also have a written record of which days you were unable to work and whether or not you were paid.
- Insurance policy. Bring your car insurance declaration page and account details, as well as any communications you've had with the insurance company after your accident. That can help your attorney understand what is and is not covered and what your insurer has already informed you.
- Receipts and invoices. Your car had to be towed. Your bumper had to be repaired. Your handbag was damaged and had to be replaced. Whatever expenditures you've had as a result of the accident you were involved in should be brought to your attorney.
Even if you're just having a consultation with a personal injury law firm and aren't yet sure if you'll be working with one of the firm's attorneys, you can be confident in bringing detailed records. Your communications with the lawyer, even if you don't go on to hire him or her, are protected by attorney-client privilege.
Have more questions about what you should bring? Ask your lawyer's office a week or so before your meeting to find more information. That will give you time to put together any documentation you need to share.