Do our clients ask their doctors legal questions? Because they sure ask us a lot of medical ones. I wonder why that is.
Meeting a personal injury lawyer is a bit like going to the doctor. You report what’s bothering you, how it happened, and where it hurts. You explain what you used to do that you can’t do now. You may even feel a bit nervous. Your story is very personal; you sit across a desk and ask for help from a stranger who has expert knowledge and skill. Secretly you may wonder if they really care, or if they are too busy to help you.
Developing a relationship of trust is just as important in the law office as it is in the doctor’s office. It’s important to us, too. If we have a good rapport, we are better able to work with you and make good decisions together.
But we’re personal injury lawyers, not doctors. While you are telling your story, we’re listening for a whole other set of reasons. You need to know what we’re listening for, and come to see us with that in mind. Here’s what to do:
- –Give us as accurate a chronology as possible. Bring your journal or calendar with you if it helps.
- –Bring relevant documents, but don’t worry if you don’t have everything. Things to bring include bills, receipts, police reports (or other data from the police), auto insurance information, doctors’ appointment cards (or doctors’ addresses and your treatment dates), a list of the medicines you take, a recent pay stub (for wage loss), insurance forms, any disability claims forms, and anything other papers you have that relate to your claim.
- –Be ready to explain how your life and abilities have changed. Think of someone who could talk about this subject credibly as a witness on your behalf.
- –Make a list of financial losses.
- –Think about the reasons you believe someone else is at fault. How would things have turned out differently, but for the defendant’s conduct? Is there something you could have done differently to prevent your injury?
- –If your claim involves bad medical care or a defective product, explain carefully why you think that is, and how you came to discover it.
Remember, we can’t give medical advice. But if you come to us prepared to discuss your legal claim, it might just put you on the road to recovery.