I found an Attorney! What do I need for my 1st meeting?
5 Things to bring to your first meeting with your lawyer
Whether you have been in a car accident or fallen at a store and suffered injuries you may be considering hiring an attorney. It is difficult to navigate the red tape of insurance claims and difficult to make sure you are getting what you really deserve. The simple fact is, consulting with a personal injury attorney to protect your interests and fight for your rights, is a good decision. An Allstate study done in 1995 revealed that personal injury victims recovered 2 to 3 times more money when represented by an attorney. This is a significant difference.
Meeting with an attorney as soon as possible after an incident is important as time is of the essence with any case. Statutes of limitations vary from state to state; but all types of cases do have a finite end date of when you can start a claim. If you are injured starting treatment right away is important.
Once you have hired an attorney you will be scheduled for your first meeting. What should you bring? The more you have with you-the sooner the case can be initiated. Here is a quick reference guide as to what you should have with you for your appointment.
1. Location of the accident. If you took pictures, bring them. Bring the accident report if the investigating police officer provided one. If you fell in a store, make sure you have pictures of the area you fell along with a description of the hazard that caused the fall.
2. Time and details.
3. Injuries. Demonstrating your injuries with documentation is vital to recovering damages. Make a list of all your injuries and your diagnosis and prognosis, cost estimates and contact information for all facilities you visited and all professionals you came in contact with.
4. Documentation. Bring all documents related to the accident.
- Photos are always a great idea. In this day and age with all our picture taking devices; it should be top of mind to take photos.
- Any police/accident reports,
- Paystubs if you have missed any work and
- Contact information from parties or witnesses to the incident.
5. Correspondence. Sometimes you may be contacted by your insurances company or those representing the AT-FAULT party. A good rule of thumb is not to speak with anyone except your attorney; always refer calls to the attorney as well. Bring Letters & Email correspondence from any insurance company. Some insurance companies may tempt you by sending a “check” for a lowball amount to try to settle quickly. Don’t sign anything or deposit any checks before speaking with your lawyer. The insurance company does not have all the facts about your case and any check they have written will most certainly be for a very low amount.
Dealing with the aftermath of an accident can be a daunting and stressful time. Hiring an attorney should put your mind at ease. Having someone on your side; protecting your rights and interests is the key to ensuring you get what you deserve. Having the right information with you at the time of your meeting with your attorney saves the guess work in recapping the story of the accident. A clear account of the incident makes a stronger case and gives you a chance for a better settlement.