Most personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation to discuss the circumstances of your accident, your injuries, and what steps should be taken next. Whether meeting in person or over the phone, it is a good idea to prepare a list of questions that you hope to have answered as you navigate the next few months of dealing with the aftermath of a car accident, including questions about treatment, medical bills, rental cars, insurance adjusters, etc. It’s also helpful to gather documents and information for the attorney to help analyze how they can best help you.
What Questions Should I Ask?
When you call me for a consultation, I will walk you through the typical process and timeline of a personal injury claim, as well as provide you with recommendations on how to preserve information and details that will be important to presenting your claim to the insurance company. Make sure that you also consider questions and issues that are of highest concern to you. These will vary from person to person based on your circumstances, but some questions you may want to ask your attorney at your initial consultation include:
· What should I do when the other driver’s insurance company calls me?
· Is it okay to give a statement to my own insurance company?
· Who will take care of my vehicle damage?
· How long will it take for me to get my car back?
· Can I get reimbursed for personal property items that were damaged inside my car?
· Will I get paid for the work I had to miss?
· How can I get treatment if I don’t have health insurance?
· My doctor sent me a bill. Do I have to pay it right now?
· Can I get my settlement money before I have finished treating?
· How long will it take to finish my claim?
· What happens if we can’t settle with the insurance company?
These questions will change and evolve throughout the duration of your claim, so you will always have opportunities beyond the initial consultation to ask your attorney about these issues. But it may be helpful for you to be thinking about them and have answers to them early on so that you can make the best decisions on how to proceed with your medical care and claims process.
What Documents Should I Bring?
It’s a good idea to compile all of the documents you have related to the accident and your treatment to present to your attorney. Then, your attorney can determine what should be used and store it in your file for safekeeping until it is time to send your demand package. It will also be easier for you to answer specific questions your attorney might have about your accident if you have already gathered the documents in preparation for your consultation. Be sure to provide the following items to your attorney when you have them:
· Accident Exchange Information Cards
· Police Officer contact information
· Witness information
· Letters from insurance companies (including claim number and adjuster information)
· Policy information (automobile and health insurance)
· List of medical providers you have seen after the accident
· Any medical bills you have already received
· Discharge paperwork or medical notes from providers
· Receipts for out-of-pocket expenses (for items such as medical equipment, medication, uncovered rental car expenses)
· Photos (accident scene, vehicle damage, bruises and cuts)
If other questions come up throughout your treatment and claim process, always be sure to consult with your attorney on the best way to proceed. I appreciate communication from my clients so that I can ensure that they are doing everything they can to follow medical recommendations and avoid actions that might jeopardize their claim.
This article should be used for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader. If you need legal advice regarding these issues, please feel free to contact me at 480-450-0626, or contact an attorney in your area.