Checklist of items to maintain and bring to your personal injury attorney

This list of items for you to maintain and bring in to your personal injury attorneys is only a part of the total information they will be assembling on your behalf, but it’s a good way for you to start. The more you tell your attorneys about your expenses and how your life has changed since the accident, the better job they can do for you.

__Keep a separate “Medical Trips” list. List the date of each trip to a doctor, hospital, therapy session, pharmacy, or any other place for medical care or supplies. Just use a few sheets of paper and write it down. Write down the date, where you went, and what your trip was for (examples: “Dr. Smith for three month checkup,” or “Safeway Pharmacy for bandages and prescription pickup,” or “Arizona Spine for PT”). Bring this medical trips list in with you the next time you your personal injury lawyer. Your lawyer probably will show your medical trips list to the other side as a part of settlement negotiations, or maybe even use it at trial, to show the jury all the trouble you have. So keep the list clear of extra items that are not a date, a place you went to, and the medical care or supplies the trip was for.

__Keep a separate “Medical Expense” list. Just use a few sheets of paper and write down your medical expenses. Do it each day. List each one of your medical expenses and out of pocket expenses (examples: Dr. Smith’s bill, pain killers, heating rubs, bandages). You cannot ask for the other side to pay expenses that you do not tell your personal injury attorney about. In addition, it is a lot more impressive to the other side if you have each item written down separate on the day you had the expense, instead of only a “lump sum” written down with a total at the end of the week or month.

__Keep a separate daily list of how your life is affected as a result of the accident. List things such as what you cannot do now, things you find you are not able to do now; things you can do but that are painful, and describe how your day is with regard to the presence or absence of pain and embarrassing incidents that happen because of your injuries. Make each entry short and to the point. Your personal injury attorney may want to show this list to the other side, so put down something each day your life is affected.

__Bring all of the above three lists with you when you come to see your lawyer.

__Keep any medical appliances and items that doctors prescribe or have you use. They may be needed as exhibits (including all braces and supports, crutches, prostheses, etc.). Things the doctors prescribe for you that you should save even include all your empty pill bottles. Sometimes a pile of pill bottles works better than words on a settlement table. If you throw them away, it won’t be possible to use them as exhibits to make people really think about your pain.

__Bring your injury attorneys any photographs you have of your injuries.

__Report any suspicious activities to your attorneys. You may be under surveillance by investigators. Movies, videotapes, and still photographs may be made of you. Be mindful of your actions!

__Bring in your health insurance policies which may provide payment of any of your medical bills. Your personal injury lawyers will look at them and give them back to you. They will not be handling your government or private health insurance benefits collection for you, but they need to know whether the insurance policy has a clause that says the insurance company gets paid back from your settlement anything it pays on your medical expenses.

__Bring your injury attorneys a copy of your last year’s tax return.

__Bring your injury attorneys things that show your earnings before and after the accident. (For example, payroll check stubs or wage statements.)