Once you've made the smart decision to hire a personal injury attorney to handle your accident, you can allow yourself time to heal and get your life back to normal. Your attorney will take the lead and lift the majority of the burden of dealing with the wreck from you. You can, however, greatly increase your chances of success by working as a team with your attorney. Read to find out how you can help your case by taking a team approach.
Get off to the right start
Your attorney will need some information about the wreck at your first meeting, so save yourself some time by assembling the below documents before your meeting. Many personal injury attorneys work on what is known as a contingency fee basis, which means that they base their fee on a percentage of what they successfully win for you from the at-fault driver. This also means that one thing you do not need to bring with you is any money for your first meeting. Assemble the following:
1. The accident or police report: If you did not receive it at the scene, you can usually procure a copy in the days following the wreck from the responding agency.
2. Insurance information; yours and the other drivers.
3. All names and contact info for all other parties, any witnesses and passengers.
4. A brief summation of all medical treatments you have had, so far.
5. A brief summation of all time missed from work, and a copy of a pay stub.
6. Repair estimate for your car, or a document indicating the status of a replacement.
Keep you own counsel.
There is a distinct possibility that you might receive a phone call from the insurance adjuster for the at-fault driver's insurance carrier. You can help your case immeasurably by simply refusing to speak to this adjuster, regardless of what they may be promising you. Never give a recorded statement to the other side; you are not required to do so and you could say something that might seriously jeopardize your case.
Be honest and forthcoming.
Your attorney needs to know everything about not only the wreck, but anything else in your past that could be discovered by the other side. Your criminal background, your work history, your medical history and more could be open for exploitation by the defendants, and the best way to combat this is by allowing your attorney time to prepare for any allegations well ahead of time. Your attorney and you have a special relationship, and everything you say, with few exceptions, is considered confidential.
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