The first time you visit your personal injury attorney, you may initially feel overwhelmed with questions and requests for documentation. However, it is not difficult to prepare for your first meeting. As a rule of thumb, it is important to remember that your attorney probably wants to know and see any and all of the information you have relating to the accident or injury. To start off with, the attorney will want to know where, when, and how the incident occurred, including a copy of the accident report. It is recommended to report the accident as soon as possible, and have a copy of it on hand if feasible when you visit the attorney. If not, your attorney can easily request a copy for you.
As your well-being is generally the primary focus of a personal injury case, the attorney will want to know the name and address of any doctors, ambulance services, or hospitals you have visited. Your attorney may recommend you to doctors who will treat you with the understanding that they will be paid once your case is settled. This will allow you to be treated, without having to pay the cost upfront. If you have pictures of your injuries or of any property damage, you should provide these to the attorney as well. It is advisable that pictures be taken of all injuries or damages as soon as they are sustained. These pictures will be helpful when a demand is made for settlement on your behalf.
Other important information you will need is your insurance policy information and medical coverage information. It is essential for the attorney to know about your medical policy. For example, you may need to continue seeking treatment by your own physicians through your medical insurance for the time being. In addition, the days you may have missed from work or any receipts or bills for any purchases made due to the incident should be reported to your attorney, as the attorney will factor all of this in at the time of deciding how much the attorney should reasonably demand on your behalf.
Most attorneys require you to sign a contract or agreement, which basically sets out the details of your representation by the attorney and authorizes them to work for you. Personal injury attorneys typically work for you based on a contingency agreement. What is a contingency agreement? This means, you will not have to pay your attorney anything upfront, but a small percentage of your settlement will be retained by your attorney, as the attorney’s fee. Your medical liens and outstanding bills are also usually paid directly out of settlement proceeds. Most attorneys can help you get these costs reduced after a settlement has been received for you. You should ask your attorney any questions you may have about paperwork that confuses you before signing and ask them to go over the representation agreement with you clause by clause.