Going to see a solicitor for the first time is a nervous experience, especially if you have never been to one before. That first meeting is always a bit unsettling as you try to establish a relationship with your solicitor. Being prepared can go a long way to easing those nerves. So to help, here are the top 5 most useful documents to bring to your initial meeting.
- Factual Summary
- Pen & Paper
- Insurance Documents
Due to the regulations and laws governing solicitor firms it is vital that you prove your identity right at the start of your claim.
Firms will usually ask for two or three pieces of identification (usually a photo ID and something with your address), these can include
- Driving licence
- Utility bill
- Council tax bill
If you’re ever in any doubt about what is/is not acceptable then contact the firm and check with one of the secretaries.
A written summary of what has happened is one of the most helpful documents you can give to your solicitor. This document is a timeline of events with a few other details. A general summary should include (as much as you are able)
- Details of your symptoms as well as what developed and when.
- Dates of your visits to your GP/hospital, including what was talked about at these appointments in as much detail as you can recall.
- How your illness has effected your day-to-day life, including what items you may have had to buy to cope with these changes, and how much other people have helped you.
Your solicitor will always be grateful for as much information as you can give to them, even if you feel it is not relevant then you should still include it. It is extremely useful for your solicitor to have, in your own words, an account of what has happened.
With Clinical Negligence you have to prove that your treating doctor/nurse/medical practitioner broke their duty of care to you. To do this documentary evidence will be needed. The major part of your evidence will be your medical records which your solicitor will get. However, if you have any documents provided or letters sent to you by your GP/hospital then pass these across to your solicitor as they may have become lost or damaged in your records and could help in proving your claim.
It is also possible to claim back certain financial losses you have suffered because of the illness/injury. However, you will need to prove this loss, so documents such as invoices and receipts are vital to maximizing your claim.
Pen and Paper
The first meeting is usually a long one and a lot is discussed during it. It is always a good idea to take a pen and a pad to jot things down as you go along. Memory is tricky and it is easy to forget a point when you immediately move on to the next one.
Your solicitor should write to you after the first meeting about some of the points discussed but if you have your own note it always helps.
This also makes it easier for you to jot down questions that you might have so you don’t forget to raise them at the end of the meeting.
Your solicitor may have already asked you if you have house/contents/car insurance before the meeting. This is because some insurance policies also cover you for legal matters. Your solicitor will need to check that you do/do not have this cover so they can recommend you properly on what funding options are best for you. So take with you any insurance policies you may own.
In conclusion, you should not have an understanding of the top five documents to take with you to your first meeting and why they are so important.