What to bring to that first appointment
I try to speak with a potential new client on the phone before that first appointment is scheduled. Sometimes I’m able to answer a quick question, and the worker does not really need an attorney, yet. But when an appointment is necessary, I am often asked, “What should I bring with me?”.
Injured workers come with a variety of organizational styles, and I’ve seen them all. Some workers have carefully saved every letter and medical report, and logged every phone call. Some workers have stacks of envelopes with the papers still in them (sometimes unopened!) Some workers keep nothing. Some workers have spouses who keep track of and organize everything related to their claims.
So here’s the truth. The first thing I am going to do after filing my Notice of Appearance is get a complete copy of the claim file. If I’m working on a State L&I claim, I’ll request a copy of the document imaged microfiche, but I usually have access to the complete
file through the Claim and Account Center within a few days. If the claim is Longshore or DBA I will request a complete file from the insurance carrier and I also routinely get a copy of the Department of Labor file.
Once I receive the file, I’m going to review it – start to finish. This file is going to have all the medical records, correspondence, payment records, IME reports and vocational records. I’m going to have a really thorough understanding of what has happened to date, and what present problem needs resolving. I’ll know what information I am missing, and I can easily request it.
Which is all by the way of saying, you do not have to track down all your medical records to bring to me. You do not have to scour your home for every scrap of paper related to your claim. It is all in the file, and I’m going to get it and read it. I tell potential clients to bring with them whatever prompted their call to my office. It might be a letter from the claims manager, a notice of controversion or Department Order. It might be a vocational report, or medical report. You received something which caused concern or which you did not understand. Bring at least that with you to your first appointment.
That is enough to let me know what type of claim you have, who I need to contact to file a notice of appearance and request the file, and what immediate problem or dispute is at issue. I’ll be able to ask enough questions when we meet to get the ball rolling. Hiring an attorney is supposed to provide some relief from the stress. So, let’s start by making that first appointment as easy as possible!
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