The Initial Lawyer’s Meeting: What can I expect after my injury?

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Following a serious personal injury, seeking legal advice is never a bad idea. To some, the very thought about visiting the lawyer’s office is more intimidating than the injury itself.

The initial visit to the lawyer’s office should not be as intimidating as you think. It’s a chance for the lawyer to get a full understanding about your situation. This involves a number of common questions you can expect.

Below is a general guideline for understanding some key areas your lawyer will likely explore to get the information from you needed to understand your personal injury case.

 

Understanding the Incident:

In my client meetings, I always start with “how did the incident happen?” I want a full explanation about how the incident occurred. If it was a car accident, I’d like to know how the impact occurred. Was anyone charged? What was the damage to the car like? Were there any photos taken? Any witnesses contact information available? Another key document to secure is a copy of the police report identifying the names of all the drivers involved. I’d also ask whether a seatbelt was worn.

 

Understanding the Injuries:

You will be asked about what injuries you suffered as a result of the incident. You will likely be asked to identify and list all the parts of your body that hurt due to the incident. This will require a brief explanation about the type of pain you experience in each body part. The frequency, duration and intensity of pain you experience will also be useful to know. Is there any numbness or tingling? Is the pain sharp or dull? Is it constant or does it come and go?

The medical treatment received, medications taken and recommendations made by doctors or specialists as a result of these injuries is also important to know.

You will also likely get asked what treatment if any you are receiving at the present time.

Pre-incident vs. Post-incident Health:

It’s quite common to get asked about your health before and after the accident.

For example, if you had pre-existing health issues before the accident such as surgery, a previous accident, a slip and fall, a workplace injury or any other illnesses this information will likely be pertinent. You may also be asked if you required medication before the accident

Similarly, you may also be asked about whether there were any subsequent surgeries, accidents,  slip and falls, workplace injuries or other illnesses following the accident.

 

 Economic Loss:

If there is an income loss component to your case, your lawyer would want to know about it. In other words, whether you missed time from work due to your accident and for how long is important to know.

If you returned to work, did you return on modified duties or hours? What accommodations if any has your employer made for you?

It would also be useful to know how long you’ve been working at your job for before the incident and the general duties required of you to perform the job.

Of course your salary/hourly wage is important to know and whether you were reporting your income.

It would also be helpful to know if you had any collateral benefits through your workplace for health/dental or for short term and/or long-term disability. If so, who are the providers and how much was paid?

Other than income loss, there may be other areas of economic loss such as housekeeping bills, physiotherapy, medication costs etc. As a result, you should keep track of all these receipts and may want to provide them to your lawyer at the meeting.

 

Quality of Life:

 How your quality of life was affected after the accident is very important. Your lawyer may ask you to compare and contrast your quality of life before and after the incident to better understand your “pain and suffering”.

Socially, have you been going out less and why? Are your relationships with family and friends any different than they were before? How so?

How is your ability to look after the house and care for the children or others compared to before?

Are there any hobbies or activities that have been affected due to the accident?

 

Conclusion:

 Every case is different and there are no hard and fast rules about exactly what will be asked every time. However, the above information although not exhaustive is a general guideline for the kinds of information that will likely be asked of you.
The better prepared you are, the more prepared your lawyer will be in assessing your case and representing your best interests.