You may be feeling nervous about your first visit to a San Antonio personal injury attorney. However, with a little preparation on your part, you will find that the meeting is productive and stress-free.
Documents and Photos in Your Possession
As a general rule, your San Antonio personal injury attorney will want to know everything you know and see everything you have related to the accident or injury. To start off with, the attorney will want to know where, when, and how the incident occurred. If an accident/incident report was prepared, bring your copy with you when you visit the attorney.
As your well-being is generally the primary focus of most personal injury cases, the attorney will want to know the name and address of any first responders or other emergency medical providers, doctors, or hospitals who have treated you. If you have pictures of your injuries or of any property damage, provide these to your attorney as well. It is a good idea to take pictures of all injuries and property damage as soon as possible after the incident. These pictures will be helpful when a demand is made for settlement on your behalf.
Other important information you will need is your insurance policy information and medical coverage information. It is essential for your San Antonio personal injury attorney to know about your medical policy. For example, you may need to continue seeking treatment by your own physicians through your medical insurance for the time being. In addition, the days you may have missed from work or any receipts or bills for anything you had to buy due to the incident should be reported to your attorney, as your attorney will factor all of this in when deciding how much to demand in settlement on your behalf.
Be Honest and Forthcoming
Sometimes, you may be asked difficult questions by your attorney, including, for example, questions about prior related injuries. Some clients are hesitant to discuss such matters, as they think it will keep them from getting a larger settlement. However, these details are highly significant to your case, as an opposing party may try to blame your current injuries from the incident on similar prior injuries. Your attorney needs to be prepared to respond to any such allegation. Moreover, clients often have trouble deciding whether to be honest about certain questions that attorneys may ask. Some of these questions include whether you were wearing a seatbelt or eyeglasses at the time of the incident; whether you had any alcohol, narcotics, or medication 24 hours prior to the incident; or whether you were using a mobile device or may have been otherwise distracted at the time of the incident.
The fear most clients have is that the answer to these questions will place them in a guilty light in an otherwise blameless situation. However, personal injury attorneys are experienced in these matters and have seen a wide variation of cases where clients make mistakes, but the mistake may have had little or no impact on the incident itself. It is important to remember that your attorney is on your side, but he must be informed of all the facts in order to best do his job. Plus, it is likely that the opposing party will still find out and use these “negative” facts against you. During your meeting be completely honest so that the attorney may formulate a plan to serve you in the best way possible. Any information you provide to an attorney will be kept absolutely confidential, even if you decide not to retain the attorney or to switch attorneys later.
Documents You Will Be Asked To Sign
Finally, you will probably be asked to sign paperwork so that the attorney may begin representing you. Your personal injury attorney will also probably need to gather some personal details, such as your Social Security number and a copy of your driver’s license. Most clients never fully understand why this is necessary, or the meaning behind the paperwork they are signing. When your attorney talks to physicians, insurance companies, and other attorneys on your behalf, he may be asked for this personal information in order to gain access your accounts, which is why it is necessary for attorneys to have these details on hand.
Most attorneys require you to sign a contract or agreement, which sets out the details of your representation by the attorney and authorizes him to work for you. You will also be asked to sign what is commonly called a HIPAA Release Form. HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which protects your private health information. Health care providers are prohibited from releasing your information to anyone, including your attorney, without a HIPAA authorization signed by you. In order for your attorney to have access to your health records and injury details, keep track of what you owe, and help negotiate these bills for you in the end, your personal injury attorney will need a signed HIPAA form. Ask your attorney any questions you may have about paperwork that confuses you before signing it, and ask him to go over the representation agreement with you clause by clause.
The San Antonio Personal Injury Attorneys at Brylak Law Can Help
It is imperative that your San Antonio personal injury attorney has all the aforementioned information in order to best protect your interests as a client. Bear in mind that it is better to give your attorney too much information than to leave something of great value out. To speak with a San Antonio personal injury attorney about your situation, call us today, at 866-883-5533, to schedule your free initial consultation or click the “Contact Us” button at the top of this page to reach us by email.