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Consultation Preparedness Checklist: 7 Documents Your Attorney Needs

Tennessee personal injury attorneys offer advice about what documents you should bring to your first consultation

If you have been injured in an accident, then obtaining compensation for medical treatment or property damage as quickly as possible is your primary concern. Not only are there established time limits to filing a claim (read The Statute of Limitations: Everything You Need To Know), but your insurance policy may not cover all the damages associated with the accident.

That is why promptly scheduling a consultation with a personal injury attorney is so important in accident cases. However, in order to begin working on your claim, your attorney will need to be able to accurately assess your liability and the cost of injuries and damages.

Here are 7 documents your attorney will need to asses your case during the first consultation:

1. Accident Report

One of the first and most important pieces of evidence you should collect for your personal injury claim consultation is the accident report. In the case of a car accident, an official accident report will be filled out by a police officer. The report will describe the scene of the accident, how the accident occurred, names of the drivers involved, insurance information from both parties, the issuance of citations, list of witnesses and their contact information, and can assist in determining who is at fault.

In other accidents cases, such as premises liability or medical negligence, a business owner or facility administrator is responsible for completing an incident report. Always request a copy of the report. Many businesses will refuse to give out a copy of the report. If this happens to you, consult an attorney. Oftentimes a copy of the report will be given to a victim only after a claim is filed.

2. Notes Regarding the Accident

Immediately following an accident, or as soon as you have been treated for injuries, it is a good idea to write down what you remember about the accident. Time can blur the exact details of the incident details that can may affect the outcome of your case. By recording everything you can remember about what happened your attorney may find useful information in proving your claim.

It is recommended that every driver keep a pen and paper in the glove compartment of their car in case of an accident. When taking notes, try to write a detailed description of the event that answers questions like:

  • What led up to the accident?
  • What was the time and date of the accident?
  • How were the weather and road conditions?
  • What conversations did you have at the scene of the accident? With whom? What was said?
  • What are your symptoms of injury and when did they appear?

Even after the original incident, continue taking notes about any health conditions that arise and conversations with doctors. All these seemingly unimportant details may be critical information for your attorney.

3. Photographs

A picture is worth a thousand words, which is why taking photos of an accident scene can play an important role in determining the extent of personal injury and property damage. In car accident cases, take pictures of your car, the other car, their license plate, the road, weather conditions, your injuries, etc. Some injuries, like bruising and swelling, may go away in time, while others may become apparent a couple days later. Be sure to take pictures of all visible injuries so that your attorney will be able to accurately asses the cost of treatment, even after the injuries have healed.

If you do not have a camera built into your mobile phone, then it is wise to have a cheap disposable camera in your car just in case. Or you can ask witnesses to take pictures and write down their contact information.

4. Declarations Page of Auto Insurance Policy

For people involved in car accident, showing your auto insurance policy to an attorney during a consultation is helpful in evaluating what kind of coverage you have and what damages you are entitled to. The Declarations Page is a document that you receive from your insurance company every 6 months, and it lists the details of your auto insurance policy, including whether or not you qualify for med pay coverage, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, or collision coverage.

5. Health Insurance Card

At the consultation, your attorney will also need to know if you have health insurance to cover the cost of medical treatment arising from your injury, and if so, the details of your policy. Even for car accident claims, health insurance can save you thousands of dollars by covering med pay, but some policies contain stipulations. Your attorney will need your health insurance company's information in order to determine exactly what your policy covers.

6. Medical Bills or Records

Keep all prescription receipts, discharge instructions, hospital bills, and other medical records relating to the accident. Your attorney will use these records to calculate the amount of compensation you may qualify for, as well as determine the future cost of medical treatment.

7. Pay Stubs

Lastly, if the accident caused you to miss work, or will cause you to miss work in the future, the attorney will need your pay stub to verify your wage loss. Your pay stub will contain the contact information of the institution in charge of your payroll.

Schedule a Consultation

Once you have gathered these documents regarding your accident, then it is time to schedule a consultation with an attorney. At Gilreath Law Firm, our experienced Tennessee personal injury lawyers in Knoxville, Nashville and Memphis provide a free comprehensive assessment of your case.

Call a Gilreath attorney to discuss your case today.

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Tennessee Personal Injury Lawyers at Gilreath & Associates offer free and personal consultation to help you evaluate your legal options.
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