Preparation for your first meeting with your workers' comp lawyer can get your case and your relationship with your lawyer off to a good start. Neither you nor your lawyer want to waste time, which means it wastes money. Here are some suggestions to make sure you're ready for your appointment.
Find out if your lawyer has any forms for you to fill out before your meeting, and whether those should be completed and returned in advance. You may be asked to include copies of documents related to your case.
You should have all contact information ready. This includes:
- Your home and work addresses
- Your home, cell and work phone numbers, or a pager if you use one
- E-mail addresses and a fax number, if you have one available
Think about preparing a summary, in chronological order, about your case, and provide other relevant information. Here are key facts you'll want to include:
- Your employer's exact name, along with its address
- Your hire date
- How your injury occurred, and the events leading to your accident
- The location where your injury happened, such as at a certain workstation, machine or building on your employer's premises
- The manager or supervisor who you notified when your injury took place
- A detailed description and information about your injury, including medical records
- Statements from witnesses
- A list of medical providers you've seen for your injury, in chronological order. Include all contact info, such as names, addresses, phone numbers, dates and types of treatment, tests performed and results and information on upcoming medical treatment. All of this information is important in your lawyer's review of your case
- Information on your employer's workers' comp insurance carrier. Include contact numbers and names, and the number assigned to your file. Bring any correspondence from the insurer to your first meeting
- If available, the date you return to work
- Information on any past injuries you have, whether work-related or not
- Your salary amount at the time of your accident, and in the year before your accident
- Performance reviews or evaluations
- Your employee handbook
- Any other correspondence related to your claim
- Finally, get a calendar and record dates related to your case, such as receipt of documents, notices and the like. Take this with you to your meeting; it's a good reference as you discuss your case
You may want to prepare some questions for your lawyer, most will be about your case. While there's no bad question, you don't want to alarm the lawyer and discourage him from taking on your case. Possible questions include:
- Can you give an overview of how you would approach my case?
- What are the options in my case? Are any non-legal solutions available?
- Do you expect or see any problems with my case?
- What's the timeline for resolving my case?
- Will you be handling my case, or will it be assigned to another lawyer? Can I meet the lawyers and staff members who may be working on my case with you?
- What portion of your practice is focused on workers' comp law, and have you handled cases similar to mine? How many?
Your preparation will pay off, and you can be confident about meeting with your workers' comp lawyer.