Injury Checklist: What to Bring to Meet Your Lawyer
If this is your first time hiring a lawyer, the process can seem daunting. It is even more stressful to seek a lawyer's services because you were recently injured.
Before you meet with your personal injury lawyer for the first time, collect any documents relating to your accident and injury. Keep them in a folder or large envelope. Below is a car accident checklist of some documents to take to your lawyer after a car crash.
|Name and address of ambulance service
|Name and address of the emergency room where you initially went
|Dates admitted to the emergency room/hospital
|Names and business addresses of all doctors who examined you (if you can't remember every doctor's name, at least the names and locations of the offices, clinics, or hospitals you visited, so the attorney will know where to request medical records)
|Names and addresses of chiropractors you have consulted
|Names of all people involved in the accident
|Names and addresses of witnesses to the accident
|Dates you missed work because of the accident, your employment status, and your pay rate (for calculation of lost income damages)
|Name and telephone number of each insurance adjuster you have talked to
|List of people you have talked to about the accident or your injuries
|Copies of any written statements
|Your automobile insurance policy if you were injured in a car accident, along with the "declarations" page or "coverage certificate" that shows what kinds of coverage you've purchased and the policy limits
|Your homeowner's or renter's policy, along with the declarations page or coverage certificate
|Medical or disability insurance policy or coverage certificate
|Other policies, including major medical, hospitalization, veterans' insurance, and the other party's insurance information
|All correspondence you have received from any insurer about the accident or your injuries
|Receipts for things you have had to buy because of your injury
|Receipts for things you have had to fix because of the accident
The First Meeting: Questions to Ask a Lawyer
You want a lawyer who is right for you. While every lawyer has their own style, there are some basic things you may want to know before hiring them. Feel free to meet with several attorneys before you decide who to hire.
Besides having the proper documents to show your future lawyer, it's a good idea to prepare a list of questions for your first meeting. Some questions you might ask an accident and injury lawyer would include:
- How many personal injury trials have they handled? Of those, how many did they win? How many cases were settled?
- What percentage of their practice is in the personal injury area of experience you need?
- How long have they been in practice?
- Would the lawyer handle the case personally? Would your case go to another lawyer or support staff in the firm? If other lawyers or staff may do some of the work, could you meet them?
- What problems does the lawyer foresee with your auto accident case?
- How would the lawyer handle your situation? What is the process?
- How long will the case take?
- How will the lawyer communicate with you and keep you updated?
- How would the lawyer charge for their services? Is the fee fixed, set at an hourly rate, or by a contingency fee?
- What types of experts would the lawyer use to prove your case?
- Is there a time limit by which you must settle the case or file a lawsuit?
- How can I deal with the insurance company? What should I do if the insurance company denies my claim or offers a low settlement?
- How important is the police report in my case? What should I do if the police report contains errors or inaccuracies?
- How can I handle property damage claims? Should I repair my vehicle before settling the claim?
- What steps should I take to document my injuries and medical treatment? What kind of medical evidence will be necessary to support my claim?
- How do I calculate the value of my car accident claim? What factors get considered? Medical expenses? Lost wages? Pain and suffering?
- What should I do if I don't have contact information for the other driver in the accident? How can I locate witnesses or gather evidence from the scene of the accident?
- Can I pursue a personal injury claim even if I didn't immediately seek medical care after the accident? What if my injuries worsen over time?
- What compensation can I seek for pain and suffering? Are there any limitations or caps on these damages in my jurisdiction?
- How can I get the license plate number and driver's insurance information if it wasn't given at the accident scene?
- What are the potential time limits or statutes of limitations for filing a car accident injury claim in my jurisdiction? What happens if I miss the deadline?
- Can I seek compensation for a rental car while my vehicle gets repaired? How does the insurance coverage for a rental car work in these cases?
- How will the lawyer gather evidence about the weather conditions at the time of the accident? Can weather conditions affect my claim?
- How can the lawyer help if the accident caused fatalities or severe injuries? Are there other legal considerations in such cases?
- Should I give a recorded statement to the insurance company? What should I avoid saying to protect my claim?
- What roles do the driver's license and insurance coverage play in my injury claim? Can I still pursue an insurance claim if the driver didn't have insurance or enough insurance?
Get Legal Advice from an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in an accident, you may need an experienced car accident lawyer. Protecting your rights and pursuing a car accident case are just some of a lawyer's obligations. They often will provide a free initial consultation. Contact a local car accident attorney for a free case evaluation today.
Disclaimer: There is a statute of limitations on personal injury cases. Accident victims should act now to seek compensation for their injuries and vehicle damage.
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