I was Injured at Work - What Do I Need to Tell My Attorney?
If you're injured at work, you need to move quickly to protect your rights. While you're not required to hire an attorney, having experienced legal help makes the process easier and less confusing. Before you go to the attorney's office for your consultation meeting, here's what you need to know.Come Prepared
Your attorney needs as much information as you have about your injury and how it occurred to assess your case effectively. Obtain copies of all employment records surrounding the injury, including the accident or injury report you filed with your employer and any resulting paperwork your employer filed with its worker's compensation insurance carrier. Speak with your doctor in detail about your injury as well, and ask for copies of all relevant medical records so you are able describe the injury in a clear manner to your attorney and support your claim with pertinent documentation.
Gather all other supporting evidence related to your injury. For example, if a coworker witnessed your injury, ask him or her to write down what they saw if witness statements were not already collected when your employer completed the accident report at the time of the injury's occurrence. While your personal injury attorney may need to get a more formal statement from witnesses later, having an idea of what they will describe ahead of time assists your attorney during the case evaluation phase.Be Honest
You must be completely honest at the meeting with your attorney, even if you may have been partially at fault for the accident that caused your injury. If you fail to mention something surrounding the occurrence, that information might be used later by your employer and catch your attorney off-guard, upsetting the overall plan for your case.
Be completely honest about the accident, and go over the effects the resulting injury has had on you medically, personally and financially. The attorney will use this information to form the basis of your claim for damages, which may include money for loss of full use of a body part, lost wages, and compensation for any other areas of your life in which your injury has had a negative effect.
You'll need to discuss the attorney's fee schedule in depth before agreeing to use his or her services. If you're in a tough financial spot, let the attorney know. Some attorneys will take on a personal injury case without collecting a fee unless you receive a court award or settlement. Others offer payment plans so you can incorporate their fees for your case within your current budget. By being upfront with the personal injury attorney from the start, you can lay the foundation for an open and honest attorney-client relationship.