How Should You Prepare When Meeting With a Dallas Car Accident Lawyer?
Being in a motor vehicle accident can be frightening, especially if you were injured. You may be in pain, and you may be worried about how you’re going to pay your medical bills and meet your financial responsibilities if you are out of work. If you have been injured in an accident, and have set a meeting with a Dallas car accident lawyer, you are taking one of the first steps towards getting your life back to normal.
To make sure your first meeting goes as smoothly as possible, here are a few things to do:
Write Down What You Remember About the Accident
Ideally, you are well enough and have the presence of mind to do this within a day or two of the accident. The sooner you can collect your thoughts and get them down on paper the better, because as time passes, certain details can become fuzzy. Your written account should include:
- The date and time of the accident
- The exact location of the accident (for instance, the intersection of Preston Road and Mockingbird Lane)
- The weather at the time of the accident — blazing sunrise, raining, etc.
- Road conditions — slick, single lane due to construction, etc.
- A description of how the accident happened — who hit who, rear end collision, broadside, etc.
- What you were doing right before the crash — looking both ways, slowing for the stoplight, putting on your turn signal, etc.
- If you saw what the other driver was doing — talking on a cell phone, running a red light, etc.
It’s entirely possible you won’t remember some of the details, especially if you suffered a head injury, or you are on pain medication. That’s alright. Just write down as much as you can. We help clients who have been injured in bicycle accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, bus accidents and more.
Bring Your Copy of the Police Report
If the police were called to the scene of the accident, which they should have been if injuries were involved, you should have a copy of the police report. Bring that with you. The police report contains a lot of information your car accident lawyer can use to help evaluate your case and help you file for damages.
The police report contains a treasure trove of information, including:
- The name and contact information for the other driver
- The names and contact information for any passengers
- The name and contact information for any witnesses to the accident
- The year, make, and model (ex. 2001 Ford Fusion)
- License plate information for the vehicles involved
- The insurance companies involved and the policy numbers
- If vehicles were towed, where they were towed
- If people were injured, what treatment they received and if they were taken to a hospital, what hospital
- A diagram of the accident, and a written narrative of how the officer thinks the accident happened, and what factors were involved — weather, speed, etc.
Now, it’s important to note that the last item, the officer narrative, is only the officer’s opinion of how the accident happened, based on his/her investigation.
Bring Pictures of the Accident Scene if You Have Them
If you or a friend was able to take pictures of the scene immediately after the accident, that can be very helpful. Pictures on your smartphone will be just fine. If you weren’t able to get pictures before the scene was cleared, that’s OK. You can still take pictures of the damage to your car. It’s also possible the police report will include pictures, or your car accident lawyer can subpoena video from the local TV stations or photos from the newspaper if the accident was reported in the media.
The pictures can show a lot about how an accident happened, based on the placement of the cars after the accident, where the vehicles sustained damage, where debris landed, if there are skid marks, etc.
Bring Evidence of Your Injuries and Medical Treatment
To sue for damages, you must have been injured in the accident, and the severity of your injuries and whether they are permanent or not will help determine how much money you can recover. You will want to gather documentation and photos connected to your injuries and treatment, including:
- Emergency medical treatment report from the ambulance company
- The names of hospitals, medical clinics and doctors who have treated you for your injuries
- Your initial diagnosis and treatment
- Any medical test reports (X-rays, blood tests, etc.)
- Any prescriptions (a list of prescriptions, not the actual medications)
- Any follow up treatment you have already had, or are scheduled to have, such as surgery or physical therapy
If you don’t have all of this paperwork, your car accident lawyer will have you sign some paperwork that allows for the release of your medical records.
And again, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Take a picture yourself, or have someone take pictures of your injuries. Many times, your bruises have faded, cuts have healed and there is no outward evidence of the injuries you sustained by the time your case goes to trial or out of court settlement. The pictures help tell your story.
Bring a List of Questions for Your Lawyer
You want to know what experience your lawyer has before hiring him or her. Some questions to ask:
- How many accident cases like yours have they handled? Did they win? How recently?
- Have they gone to trial, or do they only settle out of court?
- How do you communicate with them? Phone, email? How quickly do they respond?
Talk to Experienced Pintas & Mullins, a Dallas car accident law firm, for Free
Speaking to one of our experienced Dallas car accident lawyers is free and could very well be the best decision you make after your accident. We can meet with you in our office, your home, or your hospital room — whatever is convenient for you.