Car accident attorneys know their way around complex personal injury laws, but even the most experienced professional can't put together a successful case without your active involvement. Working together, you can cover all angles, from filing your claim to securing a settlement. While your lawyer works hard to present the facts of your case just right, here are four things you can do to help from the sidelines:
Negotiate Your Goals from the Beginning
Are you willing to settle for a little less to cut your case short? Is there a limit on how much you want to spend in fees? Laying out your expectations from the get-go will help your attorney create an action plan that works for your unique needs.
Share All of Your Medical Information
Your medical files and billing might feel too personal to give to anyone, but your auto accident attorney needs them to calculate the maximum compensation you should be entitled to based on the extent of your injuries and subsequent expenses. For indirect injuries—ongoing pain in knees or back is a good example—you might even want to provide your past medical history to prove that your condition isn't preexisting.
If you're worried about sensitive paperwork being lost or misplaced, ask for your copies back after the case is over or use a blackout marker to cover your social security and billing account numbers.
Keep Reviewing the Accident Pictures
Photographs from the car accident can speak volumes about the crash. Although personal injury attorneys look at all images with a trained eye, they don't have the advantage of having been at the scene. Even if you don't see anything new in the images themselves, reviewing a photographic timeline of your accident can help you remember important details—like exactly what you saw in the seconds before and after the collision.
The legal process for resolving car accident cases can be short or long, depending on the strength of your case, the defendant's behavior, and your willingness to settle. Car accident attorneys (such as Gibbs and Parnell) want the best outcome for their clients, and they'll work as fast as possible to get it, but there are limitations to what any lawyer can do. Sometimes, time is one of them.
Keep in mind that if you're still at the beginning stages of your claim, it's a good idea to put your pictures, medical files, and any other relevant documents into one case file. The first thing on every car accident attorney's agenda is gathering evidence, so if you walk into your first consultation with a complete file, you'll already be ahead of the game.