Here’s the simplest answer: any document or piece of evidence you think might relate to your case. When your case involves a slip or trip and fall, defective product, medical malpractice, or a loved one who got hurt at a nursing home or assisted living facility, it’s especially important to make sure you can give an accident injury attorney all the facts about how the injury occurred. (We actually have separate articles if you get hurt in a car, motorcycle, or semi-truck accident or get hurt at work.)
Below is a list of items you can gather to bring to your first meeting if you have them. If you don’t, no worries—one of the critical things a good attorney does is a sound investigation to help gather all the evidence you need. This list is ideal, but you don’t need to worry if you’re missing some of these items.
Evidence You Can Bring to Your First Meeting With a Personal Injury Attorney
To help you more, I’ve listed them in the order of importance from my years of experience helping folks like you.
- An accident report, if one exists and if you’ve got it. Sometimes our slip or trip and fall victims get an incident report from where they got hurt. This can be a key piece of information, as it often contains your statement about the incident. Sometimes it even contains what other employees or management said about it, which can be critical evidence. And if you haven’t reported it yet, here's why you need to right now.
- Pictures related to your case. This could be from the scene or depict anything related to your injuries. Folks often don’t have pictures from the scene of a fall, and they certainly don’t have any from how medical malpractice occurred. But if you’ve got severe injuries, some of the most powerful evidence in your case can be pictures showing gory wounds, broken bones, and what your injured limbs look like when stitches or casts are removed. These pictures can often be an important timeline of the treatment you endured to recover from your injuries. It’s also powerful to capture your limitations and suffering, like using crutches, a cane, or a wheelchair, or sleeping in a recliner because your bed hurts due to your injuries.
- Contact information for any witnesses. While you will almost never get helpful statements from anyone who works for the business, hospital, assisted living facility, or doctor who hurt you, some of the most important witnesses in your case can be people in your life who’ve seen your struggle overcoming injuries and the pain and suffering they created. We need to get in touch with them immediately so we can start building your case for pain and suffering—which we really don’t call pain and suffering.
- A short typed or written statement summarizing your accident. Because the facts of an injury are of utmost importance in these cases, it’s vital for you to make sure you’ve had time to think about them and record them, so the attorney has a clear understanding of exactly how you got hurt. That’s how we begin to evaluate whether we can prove fault that opens the possibility for a legal financial recovery for you. Make sure you put “WRITTEN FOR LEGAL ADVICE” on it.
- A medical provider list summarizing your treatment. This helps us figure out who we need to get medical bills and records from faster. It’s especially critical for you to take a little time to compile a complete list if you’ve gone a long time without hiring a lawyer because you’ve undergone extensive treatment from multiple providers over a long time.
- Any communications from an insurance company. This could be letters, emails, or texts. This can give us an idea how they intend to defend against your case. Plus, it lets us know who we need to get in contact with at the insurance company if we represent you, so the claims rep or adjuster knows they don’t deal with you anymore, they deal with us. This is often the first great relief to our clients, who no longer have to worry about falling prey to the adjuster’s dirty tricks.
- Any medical records you have. While we don’t expect anyone to have all or even most of their medical records, if you can share anything you have with us, it’s a help. We may be able to figure out the nature and extent of your injuries, which helps our evaluation. It also gives us valuable contact information for your providers so we can get these records and bills requested faster.
- Any medical bills or proofs of payment you have. Again, this helps us identify providers we need to get bills and records from.
- Information related to your health insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare. Hopefully, if you’ve got these options, you’ve used them to pay for your injury care. While you do have to pay them back, this is the best way to pay your accident-related medical bills. Giving us this information lets us get in contact with them so we can begin the subrogation process to repay them and protect you from failing to pay them back.
- If you lost income because you couldn’t work due to your injuries, documentation of lost wages. Many people can’t work as a result of injuries, and you can legally recover your lost wages. If your doctor wrote you out of work, get us any information you have related to this. It may be copies of his excuses, letters, or other documentation of your missed work that could even come from your employer. You can bring us pay stubs or even tax documents if they clearly show the wages you lost. Don’t worry. We’ll make this process easy on you too.
- Copies of your photo ID, such as your driver’s license. We may need this for our file to help identify you.
If you have the time to do it, you can massively impress your personal injury attorney by organizing everything by category into a folder or file. That’ll help attorneys like me, who actually review this information before we meet. When we get that done faster, we can get to answering your questions quicker.
If you’re worried about the meeting, don’t be! If you’re thinking about coming to see me, here’s how that meeting works.
If you’re not ready to meet, you don’t need to worry about that, either. Feel free to call toll-free at 888-230-1841 or fill out a Get Help Now form. You’ll get your questions answered by an experienced accident injury attorney.
And if you need a little more encouragement about what it’s like to work with us, check on these reviews from people who actually hired us or just met with us, posted on websites we don’t own: Avvo.com and Google + reviews.