Filing a lawsuit against a person or a company may seem time-consuming and intimidating, but it’s an effective way to get the compensation you deserve if you’ve been hurt in an accident caused by negligence.
Most personal injury cases – 95% of them – are settled before going to trial, so it’s likely you can resolve your situation without even stepping into a courtroom.
The best way to learn about your options is to consult with a personal injury attorney. Many law firms offer a free consultation. The Law Office of Gregory E. Price works on a contingency basis, which means we do not receive any attorney fees until we obtain compensation for you.
Once you schedule an appointment with a personal injury attorney, make sure you have the documents you need so your first meeting goes smoothly.
What to Bring to Your First Meeting With a Personal Injury Attorney
Getting organized before your first meeting will help your attorney understand everything he needs to know about your case so he can recommend the best course of action. Use these three categories to prepare your paperwork:
- Notes about the accident. Write down everything you remember as soon as you can after the accident. Include the date and time, the weather conditions, what happened, who else was there, and whether police were called. If you or a bystander took pictures at the scene, include them in your records. Be prepared to answer questions from your attorney about what happened, too.
- Notes about your injuries. List the physical injuries that resulted from the incident and the impact the accident has had on your life. Did you miss work? Did the injuries affect your personal life or any special occasions? Did they prevent you from dressing for work, driving, or other everyday activities? How are your injuries today? Include any medical records you have.
- Notes from the aftermath. Keep all your medical bills and insurance information in order. If you have spoken to anyone involved with the incident, such as an insurance company or a witness, write down the date and what was said. Save all emails about the accident. If a police officer wrote a report, obtain a copy of it to give to your personal injury attorney. To request a police report, Oregon residents can go here, and Washington residents can go here.
A Few Legal Terms to Know
The legal system uses a broad set of terms that are not common outside the courtroom. You can always ask your personal injury attorney to explain any legal term you don’t understand.
Claim: A civil action filed against a person or business to compensate the plaintiff for their injuries.
Compensation: Compensation is meant to make up for the injuries you suffered, such as paying your medical bills and paying you for missed work and pain and suffering.
Complaint: This is a written document created by your lawyer that starts the legal process. The document explains the facts of the incident, your injuries, why the defendant should pay for them, and the compensation you are seeking.
Counsel: This is another way to say attorney or lawyer.
Damages: This is the payment you are asking from the defendant to compensate you for your injuries.
Defendant: This is the party you are suing.
Jurisdiction: The jurisdiction explains who has the authority to try your case, such as the county where the accident occurred.
Lawsuit: This involves a plaintiff bringing a court action against a defendant to seek compensation. Also may be called a “suit.”
Liability: This term is used to explain who is responsible, or liable, for the accident.
Litigation: The process of taking legal action and/or filing a lawsuit.
Plaintiff: The person who is suing the defendant – you.
Settlement: An agreement between the plaintiff and the defendant.
Statute of Limitations: The deadline for filing a lawsuit, which varies by the type of case.
The Law Office of Gregory E. Price can promptly investigate your personal injury claim and provide you with an evaluation, while ensuring that you receive proper medical treatment and that your bills are handled in a timely manner. For a free consultation, call us at (360) 828-5879, or fill out our Contact Us form. We will be happy to talk to you about the specific details of your case and answer any questions you may have.