5 Things to Bring to Your First Meeting With a Colorado Personal Injury Attorney
If you’ve been injured in an accident due to another person’s negligence, one of the first things you might do is look for a personal injury attorney.
Most personal injury lawyers offer a free initial client meeting, where the two of you can meet and discuss your case. At this meeting, the attorney will learn more about your injuries and the circumstances of the accident and whether or not to offer legal representation. This is also where you can decide if you want to pursue the case, and if so, if this is the lawyer you want to hire.
The purpose of this white paper is to offer guidance regarding what to bring with you so that both you and your attorney will get the most benefit possible from this important first meeting.
1. Documentation of the Accident
Hopefully, you wouldn’t show up to class without bringing your homework, and the same is true of an appointment with an injury lawyer. Here is some of the documentation that you want to be sure to bring with you to the meeting:
- Accident report. Contact the law enforcement agency that responded to your accident and request a copy of the official accident report so you can bring it to the meeting. The accident report will provide a wealth of information to your attorney, including details about the parties and vehicles involved, how the accident occurred, and whether any citations were issued.
- If you took any photos at the scene of the accident, bring those with you. If you didn’t take any pictures at the scene, it’s not too late. Go back and photograph the exact location of the collision, making sure to include any road signs, obstructions, and road conditions in your pictures, if possible. If your vehicle hasn’t been repaired yet, photograph any visible damage to it as well. If you have them, bring photos of your injuries too.
- Witness information. If any passengers, other motorists, or pedestrians might have witnessed the accident, you should bring their contact information with you to the meeting as well. If you don’t have this information, look for it on the accident report or call the investigating officer and ask if he or she can provide you with this information.
Generally speaking, the more official documentation you can provide at the initial meeting with an attorney, the better.
2. Information Regarding Fault for the Accident
Determining who was at fault, or liable, for an injury is an important issue in every personal injury case. In Colorado, courts are required by law to apply a modified comparative fault rule in negligence cases.
In Colorado, a modified comparative fault rule mandates that an injured person’s damages award be lowered according to his degree of relative fault. This means that as long as your fault for the accident is determined to be less than 50 percent, you will be eligible to collect a damages award, although it will be reduced in proportion to your fault. But if your fault is estimated to be 50 percent or more, you will likely be unable to recover damages from the other party, even if he is 50 percent at fault as well.
3. Economic Damages
You’ll need to show your attorney verification of monetary losses you suffered as a result of the accident. These economic damages might include past and future medical expenses and loss of past and future earnings.
Here is some of the medical documentation that you’ll need to bring copies of:
- Ambulance and emergency room report, if applicable
- Medical records, including those of all treating physicians, physical and occupational therapists, chiropractors, surgeons, and any specialists you saw
- Medical billings
- Records documenting mileage to and from medical appointments
- Laboratory and other test results, such as X-rays and CT scans
- Hospital records, including the discharge summary
- List of prescription medications, including receipts
- Documentation regarding any medical devices included in your treatment, such as braces, crutches, walkers, wheelchairs, TENS units, etc.
If you lost wages or the ability to work because of your injuries, come to the meeting prepared to explain your situation to your attorney, and bring documentation (pay stubs and/or employment records) that will provide proof of your loss.
4. Non-Economic Damages
Some of the most serious and painful damages sustained in a personal injury are often those that cannot be easily measured. These non-economic damages, commonly known as pain and suffering, might include disability, physical impairment or disfigurement, emotional distress, inconvenience, or loss of enjoyment of life. A description of how the injury has affected your family and relationships, as well as any reduction in your ability to engage in activities you enjoyed before the accident, will be extremely valuable to your attorney as he begins to quantify the losses that you may be entitled compensation for.
Because there is no exact standard for measuring non-economic damages, it is important that your attorney understands the pain and inconvenience you endured because of your injury so that he or she can demand that you be compensated for these damages accordingly.
5. Insurance Information for All Parties
To evaluate your case accurately, your attorney is going to need to know as much as possible about your insurance, as well as the coverage of the party who is responsible for your losses.
Here is some of the insurance information that will be helpful to your attorney:
- The name and address of your insurance company.
- Contact information for the other party’s insurance company, if you have it.
- The name and contact information of your insurance agent.
- A copy of your insurance policy, which outlines how much coverage you have, whether or not you have added medical payments coverage to your policy, and any limitations or exclusions.
An insurance adjuster may already have contacted you regarding giving a recorded statement about the accident. It is generally best not to agree to give such a statement until after you have spoken to an attorney, so the initial client appointment is a good opportunity to discuss this as well.
Conclusion & Next Steps
Once you’ve completed your initial meeting with your attorney, hopefully, you’ll both have a more accurate picture of your injuries and what your case might potentially be worth. By providing all the information you can to your attorney at the initial meeting, you’ll be that much further toward settling your case and moving on with your life, post-injury.
About Our Firm
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, hiring an experienced personal injury attorney is critical to receiving fair compensation. My name is Dan Rosen, and I have over 30 years of personal injury experience, properly assessing damages, and fighting to get my clients the compensation they deserve for their injuries. I’ve personally handled tens of thousands of injury accident cases, and have settled over $100 million in claims for my clients.
At the law offices of Daniel R. Rosen, it’s our goal to get you through your accident, injury, or wrongful death claim as quickly and smoothly as we can. We have offices in Denver and throughout the greater Colorado area.
Contact us today for a free consultation.
Additional Personal Injury Resources
Getting injured in a car accident is challenging and stressful enough. Navigating the legal process doesn’t have to be. We’re here to guide you every step of the way. Please click on the auto accident resources below to learn more, or contact us with any questions or to schedule a free consultation.
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