This post discusses what happens at your consultation, and provides a list of things you should, in a perfect world, bring with you. None of this is required, of course. All we really need to see is you.
I usually begin every consultation by asking how you are feeling. Most everyone who meets with me in injured, and I do like to understand the nature of your injury. It is also just polite! I will then usually ask you to explain how the accident happened. We will spend some time discussing the details, as I have to get a clear picture of the facts so we can assess liability.
Once I have the details of your accident and injuries, I will explain how the personal injury system works, and how I see your case playing out. We will spend some time answering your questions, and covering issues like PIP, health insurance liens, how to get your medical care paid for, making sure your car is repaired or paid for, etc. There are a lot of details and most people have a lot of questions about specific issues that have cropped up in their case.
Then, if you decide to retain us, I will ask more detailed questions we need to set up your case. I will give you a retainer to sign, and some HIPPA authorizations (to allow me to get your medical records). Hopefully you will meet my paralegal. I will give you a folder with useful information in it, and copies of everything you signed. I will answer all your questions (and point out that you can call me later if you have more – because it is a lot of information to digest), and make sure you are satisfied before you leave.
If you have the following information and can bring it with you, it will be helpful. Otherwise, we will probably request that you bring it to us after the first meeting.
- Details about the car accident, or other incident that caused your personal injury. We need details such as location, date and time, and what happened.
- Any information you have about the person who caused the accident, such as an exchange of information form, or photos you took of their driver’s license or license plate (it’s a good idea to do that after a car accident).
- Any contact information for any witnesses to the accident or incident.
- Any police report information you may have. If you do not have the actual police report, you probably have an officer’s name and case number where you can order a report. We will order it for you, but we need that information to do it.
- Any photographs of the accident scene or the vehicles involved. They can be on your phone, and you can email them to us later. But bring the phone so we can look at the pictures together.
- The names of any treating doctors or other health care providers you have seen, including any diagnostic testing facilities where you may have gotten an MRI or a CT scan.
- Your health insurance information. Bring your actual insurance card if you can, or take a photo of it you can email to me after the meeting.
- Your own car insurance information. In a perfect world, you would bring your actual policy and dec page (the first page explaining your limits and how much you pay), but at least bring your car insurance card, or take a picture of it on your phone.
- Any documents you may have received from any insurance company connected to the car accident (your own insurance company, or the insurer for the person who hit you).
- Contact information for any insurance adjuster handling your case.
Again, none of this is mandatory. It just makes your consultation go more smoothly, and it helps me better assess your case. Feel free to come as you are and we can get all of this information later.