After your free consultation with a personal injury attorney, you may decide that you are ready to retain them as your lawyer. Once you have made this decision, you will come in for an intake appointment in which a specialist will take all your information and prepare you for the claim process.
What happens at this intake and what questions are asked?
Although we cannot speak for other firms, we can give you some insight into what to expect at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA during our intake. Prior to the scheduling of the meeting, we will instruct you to bring certain documents. Any and every piece of information you can bring will be beneficial. It is extremely helpful to have as much information as possible.
This article is geared more towards injured victims of accidents, but it is also possible that you were injured as a pedestrian, were the victim of medical malpractice, injured on the job, slipped and fell in a store, or any number of other injuries. If this is the case, most of the following points will apply to other injuries.
Basic Personal Information
- State issued ID, Passport, or other official identification
Having your Drivers' License or another official ID with you is helpful in obtaining your basic information. This helps the process to go more quickly and, of course, proves who you are.
- Address, Phone Number, Date of Birth
Of course, we then we collect the basics. Having this information is just a necessary part of any process. We will also gather your Social Security number (or equivalent) at this time. This information is needed to gather medical records and to submit documents to the court on your behalf.
- Spousal Information and Places of Birth
- Emergency Contact
Because the nature of your case is medical, we collect an emergency contact name and number if an unforeseen event arises (like someone passing out in the office and being taken to the hospital). This way we can notify your loved ones ASAP. Similarly, if there was to be an emergency development in your case, it would help to have someone close to you we can call.Information about the Incident
- Date, Time, and Location of the Accident or Incident
This one is pretty obvious. We need information about the basics of the accident so we can begin our investigation.
- Authority Personnel on the Scene
In order to obtain police reports, accident/incident reports, and driver exchange forms (if you do not already have a copy) we need to know what authorities arrived on the scene. Often, this is the local police department or sheriff's office, but it could be another agency like Florida Highway Patrol or Florida Fish and Wildlife's Department of Law Enforcement.
- Driver and Passenger Information
Information about who was the driver and who was the passenger (if any) in the vehicle; where everyone was sitting; and other information like who was or wasn't wearing a seatbelt will be collected.
- Weather and Road Conditions
- Damage to Vehicle
This information will most likely be on the official accident report give to you by law enforcement, however, it is not always comprehensive or accurate. In fact, most often it is general. Although your insurance company will deal with repairing the damage, it is fundamental in a personal injury case to understand the type and severity of damage to the vehicles—both the clients and the other driver(s).
- What happened during the incident?
This is where you want to provide the intake specialist with as much information as possible about how the incident happened. Who hit who; did someone run a red light; did the person brake before hitting you? This type of information will be explored more by the attorney in order to build your case; but to start, the intake specialist will record the essence of what happened so that the attorney can gain an understanding of the circumstances.
This information is so critical, it justifies its own section in this article. Having an unbiased observer, who saw the accident from start to finish, or at least the critical parts, is a major benefit to any claim. Because a random stranger driving by or standing on the side of the road has no interest in either party, like say your passengers might, their word is considered credible in recounting what happened. For this reason, if you are injured in an accident always get the information of any witnesses. Gather:
- Their name
- Phone number and email address
- Be sure to let them know you will be contacting them.
- Thank them for being willing to step up as a member of the community.
- Insurance information for both parties, including carrier, policy number, etc.
- Vehicle information for both parties, including license plate number, drivers' license number, vehicle description, etc.
- Who referred you/how did you hear about us?
Information Regarding Injuries
- What parts of your body are in pain?
- What obvious injuries do you have (lacerations, bruises, scrapes, etc.)?
- Did your head make contact with the steering wheel or dash?
- Did you go to the hospital or seek medical care immediately after the incident?
Current and Past Medical History
- Do you have any past medical issues?
- Have you ever had any surgeries, including things like C-sections and appendectomies?
- Do you have any diseases, syndromes, or permanent injuries?
- Have you ever had an MRI? Or other types of scans like CT-scan or x-ray?
Past Accident History
- Have you ever been in an auto accident before?
- Were you injured in any of your past accidents?
- Have you ever had whiplash or a TBI?
- Did you seek the counsel of an attorney for any previous injuries?
Signing Documentation and Release Forms
After all the above information is collected, there are a few forms to sign that are necessary for the information gathering aspect of the case and for gain benefits.
HIPPA release form. Allows your attorney to access and collect your medical records. HIPPA laws strictly protect the privacy of medical records, for good reason, so the attorney must gain in writing your permission to access them.
Application for PIP benefits. Submitted to the insurance company so that medical bills can be covered right away. See this article for more detailed information on PIP benefits.
Mileage reimbursement form. This form allows you to record the mileage to and from any doctor appointments. Although reimbursement is not guaranteed, a log is necessary for attempting to gain mileage compensation.
Social media disclaimer. This information provides you with the dangers of using social media during your case. This article explains the ins-and-outs of how social media can harm your case.
Proof of representation. This allows the attorney to represent you and act on your behalf for things like Medicare claims.
One of the last things we do at an intake appointment is to ask the client to email any and all photos they have of the accident to our inbox. This way, we can begin analyzing the specifics of your case as well as have access to the images as evidence later. If you have a lot of images, it may be best to upload the images to your computer, compress them into a zip file, and then email them to us.
You may also be interested in reading an article about how personal injury claims work and what some of their possible outcomes are.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we believe in treating our clients with care and respect, always striving to provide a personal touch. Likewise, we are aggressive with the insurance companies, representing our clients to the best of our ability and never settling for less.
We routinely represent all forms of personal injuries and have a track record that speaks to our success. Please check out Google Reviews, Avvo.com, Super Lawyers, or the Florida Bar Association to see what the credible attorney ranking sites have to say about our firm.
Dolman Law offers a free consultation where you can gain the advice of an attorney while developing your plan of action. We look forward to helping our Clearwater and Tampa community by getting them the compensation they deserve. Contact us and see what we mean when we say, “The Dolman Law Difference.”
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765