Your initial consultation with your New York personal injury attorney sets the stage for how successful your case ends up being. There are simple steps you can take to ensure your first meeting is as productive as possible.
If you’ve been in a cataclysmic accident, and are not in any shape to gather and document evidence, then your attorney will start to do that for you once your attorney is hired, or as lawyers say are “retained”.
However, if you are conscious and lucid after your accident, then you should do everything in your power to gather as much evidence as possible. For a car accident you should take photographs of the accident scene and of the damage to the cars. Show the position of the cars relative to the location of the accident as well as any skid marks if there are any. Get the name and number of the other driver, along with their insurance information. Get the names and contact information of any witnesses. Secure a copy of the police report.
You must tell your attorney if you have given any written or oral statements about the facts of the accident to anyone, or have ever spoken to any insurance lawyer, investigator or adjuster before your meeting with your attorney.
Since evidence may start disappearing shortly after an accident it’s a good idea to gather as much as you can, while you can. Whatever evidence or information you were able to get, bring all of it with you to your consultation.
Your medical bills, ambulance bills and records of all of your doctors, therapists, testing, and x-ray records and bills, are all going to become a part of your personal injury case. You should also save any prescription instructions or discharge instructions and provide them to your lawyer as well.
You should have a list of all the names and addresses of the hospitals, doctors and therapists where you were treated for your injuries as your lawyer will need this information to send for all of your medical records.
If you had a prior medical condition, for example, if you already had a bad back, and, in this accident aggravated your back, so that it is now worse than it was before, then you must let your attorney know about all of your prior accidents, injuries, and medical providers so that all your medical records can be obtained and all your present injuries set forth so that they can be compensated. If your lawyer is not told about your prior accidents, injuries, or medical providers then your attorney and your experts will not be properly prepared and will be taken by surprise.
It is important to be aware that your lawyer will base your pain and suffering claims on what is included and documented in your medical records.
If your accident meant that you had to take off from work to heal and recover, you should bring your tax records or W2s, as well as information about any workplace or union benefits you may be receiving. If you are a member of a union you should try to get your union benefit book to see exactly what your benefits are now and how much they will be higher in the future. If, because of your injuries, you will be unable to work in the future then your loss of earnings claim will become a substantial part of your damages.
If you know of any witnesses that would be helpful to proving your case, either with regard to the liability issues or as to your injuries, then you should give the witness(es) name(s) and address(es) to the attorney so that their name and address can be exchanged with the other side. If a witness’s name and address is not exchanged with the other side then they will not be permitted to be called to testify on your behalf at trial.
If the lawyer does accept your case, then you will be asked to sign a number of forms, starting with a retainer agreement, the legal document that means you are hiring the attorney to represent you. This retainer spells out the agreement between you and your attorney and also sets the fee that the attorney will receive if your case is brought to a successful conclusion. All New York personal injury attorneys charge basically the same 1/3rd fee and work on a contingency fee basis, which fee is paid only if you win your case.
You will also be asked to sign various forms, including: HIPAA authorizations so that your attorney and also the other side can obtain all of your medical records; if you are receiving, or have been the past recipient, of Worker’s Compensation, Medicare, Medicaid or Welfare, authorizations are required so that your attorney and the other side can obtain those records; a Notice of Client Rights that explains your rights when you bring a lawsuit; an employment or IRS authorization to obtain your records if are claiming to have suffered lost earnings, and possibly some other forms as well.
When you hire your lawyer, you will also be given some advice and information:
Not to discuss the facts of the case with anyone else or give anyone any statements about the case without your attorney being present.
Not to place anything on social media, such as Facebook or Linked In, about your case. It is best that you just cancel your social media accounts totally while your case is pending. Just remember that anything you post can and probably will be read by the other side and will be used against you.
You must keep your attorney up to date on any changes in your contact information such as your address or phone numbers, any changes to your injuries, your medical treatment or your employment status.
Even if you are hospitalized as a result of the injuries you suffered in your accident, try to call a lawyer to come and visit you in the hospital. The sooner you bring us in on your case, the stronger your case is likely to be.
At Jaroslawicz & Jaros, we have over 40 years of experience helping accident victims in New York recover compensation. The clients we represent benefit from the personal attention of our knowledgeable and experienced attorneys.
The attorneys at Jaroslawicz & Jaros have obtained verdicts and settlements of over $1 Million for hundreds of our individual clients. Since all New York personal injury law firms generally charge the same legal fee why not hire an experienced law firm with a proven track record?
When you retain the New York City accident lawyers at Jaroslawicz & Jaros, you will always work directly with your lawyer, and not with a paralegal or secretary. We will always be available to you! Our hundreds of positive client reviews and testimonials speak for themselves.
Contact the attorneys at Jaroslawicz & Jaros for a free legal consultation regarding your rights and your legal options. If we agree to handle your case, we will work on a contingency fee basis so that you don’t have to worry about any upfront costs.
You can reach partner Abraham Jaros directly, either call his cell 917-842-9544, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or call Jaroslawicz & Jaros at 212 227 2780 in New York, or toll free 800-269-2780, or submit an online questionnaire.