5 Keys Things to Bring to Your First Consultation
In Pennsylvania, you have three years from the date of a workplace injury to file a claim and just 90 days to visit a medical provider your employer approves. You’ll likely want to get the process moving as fast as possible, but it’s important to document as much of it as reasonable in order to give a workers’ compensation lawyer a good starting point. Let’s take a look at five things you’ll want to have at your initial consultation.
As with telling any story, it’s critical to fill in the names of who was involved. This can be a little disconcerting for some clients because they often see co-workers and bosses as friends. The important thing, however, is to assemble an honest list of who was present when an accident occurred and anyone who had power over decisions leading up to it. Your list should include:
- Workers who were there
- Anyone with specific knowledge, such as maintenance personnel
- Individuals in supervisory positions
- Customers who were present
The list you generate should be as exhaustive as possible. Given that people move on from workplaces, it’s prudent to write the names down as quickly as possible. Refrain from discussing what happened with the individuals listed since that can be seen as legally problematic, but be sure to get contact information. Your lawyer can narrow down the list to who seems relevant to the case at a later time.
2. Details and Dates
Producing as much detail about the incident as possible is important. If at all practicable, try to get the details written down as quickly as you can following a workplace accident. The less fuzzy you are about what happened, the better your case will look if you need to present it to a workers’ compensation board or jury.
You want to be sure the information you provide can paint a picture, so try to include points like the:
- Time of day when the incident occurred
- Location where it happened
- Moment when you noticed that something seemed wrong
- Time and date you first sought medical attention
- Date and time the accident was reported to your employer
- Date you visited an employer-approved medical provider to be examined
3. Work History
How long you’ve worked for a company and what you did both matter. If the training you or someone involved in an incident received was relevant to the nature of what happened, make a note of it. Should there be concerns about the nature of your employment, such as being classified as an independent contractor, try to include as much detail as possible about your direct relationship with the company and the site where the accident happened.
A workers’ compensation lawyer can help you decide whether you might have the basis for pursuing a claim. Don’t be intimidated by questions regarding your status with a company. Allow the attorney to focus on what may or may not be allowed.
4. Medical Reports
When you talk with a doctor about your injuries, ask them to make sure they can provide paperwork. Detailed medical reports should be used to document the initial medical response to your injuries and any subsequent issues. Not every issue pops up right away, so make a point to record the dates when you go to the doctor after an accident, even if the problem you spoke with the doctor about seems only tangentially related.
You should also try to produce as thorough a pre-incident medical history as possible. This should include details such as:
- Any pre-existing injuries in the affected area
- Long-term medical conditions
- Medical issues that were present at the time of the accident
Try to keep track of all communications between you and your employer in the weeks and months following an incident. A lawyer will work through this information to establish what an employer knew about an accident. You should be able to present an attorney with:
- Copies of any emails you received
- All mailed correspondence
- A list of phone call times and who they involved
- Any company-required filings, such as incident reports
Anyone who has been hurt in a workplace accident may benefit from consulting with a workers’ compensation lawyer at the Voorhees Law Office. We’re licensed to represent clients from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, and you can call our Somerville, NJ, office at (908) 200-2297.