When we get calls from folks, inevitably the main question they have is: “Do I need a lawyer?” We covered the considerations that go into that question in Part I of this series here
For Part II, we're assuming that you've decided you might need an attorney and you've scheduled your free initial consultation. If you have decided you might need an attorney and you have not yet scheduled your free consultation – please feel free to do so here.
The purpose of this post is to simply give readers an idea of the types of things or documents you should bring to the initial consultation – however, it would not be possible to outline everything that would be appropriate in every situation. Also, not everything on this list must be brought to the initial consultation. But, more information is always helpful and never a bad thing. Many times, much of the information in the list below can be obtained by the lawyer over the course of the attorney-client relationship (sometime after the initial consultation). If you have any doubts about what you should bring to the initial consultation, the only complete and correct answer is, “Talk to the personal injury lawyer.”
At any rate, here are some potential considerations for what you could bring when you first consult with an attorney (items in bold are more critical):
- Any and all documentation pertaining to what happened and who(m) was involved:
- Police Report;
- Traffic Exchange Form;
- Accident Report filed by involved persons or an at-fault entity;
- Any notes you took at the scene;
- Photos from the scene;
- The names of any potential witnesses to the incident;
- Any citation issued to the person at-fault;
- Any and all information you have on the other person(s) involved in the incident.
- Any and all documentation pertaining to the insurance coverages involved (as to every driver and/or vehicle/home owner, etc.):
- The declarations page from your auto insurance policy;
- Your auto insurance policy, if you have a copy;
- Your auto insurance card;
- The declarations page and policy for your homeowners insurance, if it might be applicable;
- Any notes you took at the scene pertaining to the other driver's/owner's auto/homeowners insurance policy;
- Any notes you take pertaining to or describing any conversations you have with either insurance company;
- Any letters you have received from either insurance company.
- Any and all documentation pertaining to the injuries you suffered:
- A list of all the symptoms you have suffered since the crash and (roughly) when you began feeling them (or no longer felt them);
- A list of all the medical providers you have seen since the incident and the location for each;
- Any discharge notes or medical records or instructions or prescriptions each provider has given you since the incident;
- Any bills or receipts incurred since the incident relating to your medical conditions that resulted from the incident;
- Any photos you have taken documenting the injuries you suffered as a result of the injury;
- A list of preexisting conditions of a similar nature to the symptoms you have been experiencing since the crash;
- Any notes from your medical providers advising your employer you cannot work (see next bullet point).
- Any and all documentation to support any wage loss you have suffered as a result of the crash.
- Pay stubs establishing your wages and a schedule establishing the hours you typically worked at the time of the incident.
- Any and all documentation supporting the property damage losses you may have incurred.
- An estimate from a body shop;
- Photos of the damage to both cars;
- Any correspondence from either insurer regarding the property damage aspect of your potential claim;
- Any offers made by and insurer to you or checks issued referencing the property damage aspect of your claim.
- Any and all information you have regarding your health insurance coverage.
- Your health insurance card(s).
- Any and all documents you have received from the state workers compensation department, if you were injured while on the job.
- Any and all documentation that would evidence any out of pocket expenses you had to pay as a result of the incident occurring.
- Any and all documentation pertaining to any bankruptcy proceedings you may be a party to, if applicable.
Again, this is merely an illustrative summary of the types of things you could bring when you consult with a personal injury attorney. Personal injury consultations are free with our attorneys, and we will do all we can to help and inform you based upon the information you provide us – regardless of whether or not you ultimately hire us to represent you.