Your first meeting with a personal injury lawyer will be more productive if you gather information and documents about your accident ahead of time. Bring these with you to the meeting, and be prepared to explain what happened and how the accident has affected your life. Also write down a list of the questions you have.
A good car accident lawyer can make a dramatic difference in the amount of money you receive after a car wreck. But your lawyer can’t do his or her job without your help, and that’s why it’s important to be prepared when you sit down for your first meeting.
What should I bring to my appointment?
Gather all the paperwork you have relating to the accident. In a typical car accident case, your lawyer will want to see these types of documents:
- The police report.
- Your medical records relating to the accident. This includes doctor’s diagnoses, lab results, test results, medication records, hospital and emergency room discharge papers, and anything else that relates to your injuries and the treatment you have received for them.
- Medical bills for your treatment after the accident.
- Insurance information. This includes your health insurance card, your car insurance card and policy, the name and policy number of the other driver’s insurance company, and the name and phone number of anyone you have dealt with at either car insurance company since the accident.
- Any correspondence you have received about your insurance claim.
- Names and contact information for any witnesses.
- Any photos you took at the accident scene.
- If you have missed any time from work because of the accident, copies of recent pay stubs and a list of the days you missed.
If you can’t find everything, don’t worry. It’s better to see a lawyer quickly than it is to wait for weeks while you gather every single document you might need.
What else should I do to prepare for my meeting?
Make a journal. It’s helpful to write down exactly what happened before, during and after the accident. It can be painful to relive a traumatic event, and if the accident was serious you may not remember everything—especially not all at once. Writing down what happened helps you give you lawyer a clear account of everything you remember, and the process may help you recall additional details.
Also make notes about the way the accident has affected your life. For example, you might be feeling significant pain, or you may have had to miss out on certain activities or events. You may be feeling emotional effects such as sleeplessness, nightmares, anxiety or flashbacks. Share these notes with your lawyer – you may be able to recover money for these types of losses.
If you aren’t sure you have all your medical bills and records, make a list of all the healthcare providers that have treated you since the accident and the date you saw them.
What questions should I ask?
Your first meeting is just an initial consultation – you aren’t obligated to hire the lawyer to work on your case. You may have questions about the legal process and your claim, but you should also find out more about your lawyer’s experience and qualifications. Questions to ask include:
- How many car accident cases have you handled?
- Have you won car accident cases in front of a jury, or do you always just settle?
- Who will be working on my case, and what is your policy about keeping me updated and returning my phone calls?
- How do you handle payment? Your lawyer’s fee should be a percentage of whatever you eventually receive, not an hourly rate. This protects you do you don’t owe any if they don’t get you a financial recovery.
If you don’t feel confident that the lawyer has the experience and skill to do a good job for you, you should schedule a consultation with someone else. The money you receive in a car accident claim can make a big difference in your life, helping you pay the bills and receive all the medical treatment you need. Don’t leave your future in the hands of someone you don’t feel confident about.
Talk to an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer for Free
Our lawyers only do one thing: we help car accident victims, and we’ve been doing it for years. Our firm is known for its personal service and track record – and we never charge a fee unless we win you money. Let us give you a FREE consultation so we can show you what we can do for you. Call us at (404) 341-6555 or fill out the form to the right to get your free consultation today.