Most people are intimidated and nervous when they meet with a lawyer for the first time. And this is completely normal. Most people are not involved in serious car accidents or severe food poisoning claims on a routine basis. Regardless of how approachable an attorney is, a consult with an attorney is not generally because of a joyous occasion. After all, it is rare that individuals wander into a law firm for happy, life-affirming reasons. Most often, individuals are either struggling with a hardship or need advice on a complex and technical legal matter, like the issue of getting injured in a car accident or because they ate contaminated food.
Thankfully, there are several things you can do to help ease the potentially anxiety-inducing prospect of consulting with a lawyer. The first and perhaps most important thing you can do if you are seeking a consultation with a firm is reassure yourself that the lawyers are eager to advocate on your behalf to the best of their ability. Legal professionals take personal injury claims seriously because we know firsthand how life-changing accidents can be. We want to make this process as easy for you as possible. Once you have taken a few well-deserved deep breaths, here are a few other things you can do to prepare for your initial consultation.
- Report Your Injury or Accident
This is a given when it comes to car or work-related accidents. Reporting is a typical step to the process. The cops may be called or the Human Resources Director files a report to create the paper trail. However, when it comes to foodborne illnesses, many people do not know that they can report their food poisoning. It is simple:
First, you can seek medical attention from your physician to obtain necessary testing for a diagnosis. This is helpful to find out what bacteria or virus made you sick and to obtain the medical care you need to get better. It is through a simple stool test that you can find out if your illness was caused by Salmonella, Campylobacter, Vibrio, or a myriad of other potential foodborne pathogens.
Second, you can encourage your physician to report your illness to your local health agency. Many pathogens, like E. coli, are required to be reported to the local and state health department. However, others may not be. It is always a good idea to encourage reporting.
- Write Down the Details About Your Claim, In Your Own Words
After you have done your reporting, one of the most beneficial things you can do when preparing for a consultation is to write down the details of your accident and its aftermath in your own words. Speaking with a stranger about such a sensitive situation can be unnerving. As a result, it can be very helpful to have notes written out describing what happened or what you ate, how the accident has affected you, what your doctors told you, and any other matters you feel are worth mentioning. That way, you can reference it if you need to during the consultation, and you won’t be concerned that you may forget to convey important information. Some clients keep a diary to try to remember any details that may have been forgotten.
It is also generally helpful to write down any questions you have as you think of them. It may seem that because your questions are pressing and important that you will not forget what they are during the consultation. But the stress of the moment combined with the wandering nature of conversation tends to make even the most focused of us forgetful at times. Writing down your questions will provide you with a valuable reference that you don’t need to even glance at unless you need to. Also, you may find your questions have questions. And that is ok!
- Gather Up Your Documents
As you are likely aware, legal cases largely depend on evidence. As a result, it is helpful if you gather any relevant documentation before your consultation. Police reports, medical bills, medical records, health department questionnaires, receipts, photographs, and any other documents that may support your claim should accompany you to our office. And if you feel that any electronic statements, emails or text messages are relevant, please feel free to print them off and bring them with you as well. In some cases, sending these documents to your attorney via secured email may be alright, too. It is important to save copies of anything you have related to your claim, including any cell phones or other items that can be used as evidence later.
We Are Here for You. You Don’t Have to Do This Alone.
If you have yet to schedule a personal injury or a foodborne illness consultation with a law firm, please consider doing so today. A personal injury attorney in Washington, D.C., recommends calling a lawyer who will be experienced in the area of personal injury law for your vehicle, work, or other related accident. A food poisoning lawyer agrees that calling a law firm will help ensure that your rights are preserved. We are passionate about what we do. We love to help people. Also, meeting with lawyers does not obligate you to take any specific course of action. Scheduling a consultation will simply allow you to make an informed decision about your legal options related to your situation.
The law is complicated and lawyers know what to do to ensure your claim is given respect and weight. Also, insurance companies will often refuse to settle in good faith or give your case the attention it deserves. That is where lawyers come in. Lawyers will use their experience and expertise to ensure your case has all of its evidence gathered and that it is taken seriously. Lawyers will work with the insurance companies to ensure your claim gets attention. Because, it is not ok that you were hurt.
Thanks to our friends from Cohen & Cohen, P.C., for their contribution and collaboration.