Petrov Law Firm | December 3, 2022 | Personal Injury
Whenever you discover a personal injury attorney who might be able to provide strong representation, your free consultation is a great time to ask questions to see how your sensibilities align. It will also provide insight into what you can do about your injuries and any potential damages you can recover.
It’s important to arrive at the meeting with a list of questions prepared. To help, here are nine things you should keep in mind when setting up a free personal injury lawyer consultation.
1. Know Whom You’re Meeting With
Before you decide which attorney to work with, search their name on the internet and make sure they have a solid reputation. It’s also a good idea to check their status with your state’s bar association.
Your initial consultation will help you decide whether you think the attorney’s personality and qualifications will work for you. Do they seem to have a good working knowledge of the law? How do you think they might be perceived by a judge?
Don’t rely on first impressions — ask explicitly how the attorney will use their expertise to handle your case.
2. Look Up the Statute of Limitations for Your Claim
Personal injury lawsuits must be filed before the relevant statute of limitations expires. If you wait too long to file a lawsuit, there may not be anything an attorney can do for you.
In California, you have two years from the date of injury to file a personal injury lawsuit in most cases. However, the statute of limitations could be different depending on the facts of the case. For example, you generally have less time to file lawsuits against the government. A lawyer can help you determine how the statute of limitations applies in your case during your free consultation.
3. Bring the Necessary Documents
During the meeting, you’ll likely want to reference specific aspects of your claim, and your attorney will want to review the circumstances of the case as much as possible. It will therefore be helpful to have documents related to your case on hand should either of you need them. Here’s what to bring:
- Accident reports
- Medical records
- Citations (if applicable)
- Photographs of the accident scene
- Police notes
- Witness statements
- Witness contact information
- Any notes you made about the accident
Having the above information with you will help your attorney formulate an effective plan of action.
4. Bring Any Relevant Notes
One of the most valuable documents you can bring to an initial consultation is the collection of notes you took in the wake of the accident. Things like journal entries and interview transcripts can qualify as claim-supporting evidence.
Documents like these can establish a record of how you felt when the incident occurred and preserve pertinent information you may have overlooked or forgotten.
5. Be Honest and Detailed
Your attorney will likely ask you to recount the accident. When you do so, it’s important to be honest and detailed. An informed attorney will be able to represent you more effectively than a misinformed one.
6. Know What Questions To Ask
Prior to the meeting, take the time to write down any questions you may have about the attorney, their experience, and the circumstances of your claim or related legal processes. While the attorney will likely want to get certain information from you, it’s important to ask them questions as well.
7. Be Clear About Fees and Compensation
Once you’ve discussed the case and the attorney’s proposed strategy, it will be time to discuss fees and compensation.
Most attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only get paid if they successfully recover compensation on your behalf. Before the meeting concludes, you’ll want to be clear about your prospective attorney’s billing structure.
8. Find Out Whether You Have a Case
As the attorney learns more about your case, they’ll be able to reference specific laws that may apply to your situation. With this frame of reference, they can proceed to form a viable litigation strategy.
9. Learn What To Do Next
Once you’ve formalized your arrangement, the attorney and their team will officially start handling your case. The first step is usually notifying insurance companies of the claim. This will likely initiate a series of negotiations, which could either lead to a payout or mediation and arbitration.
Schedule Your Free Consultation Today
Armed with these helpful tips, reach out to a personal injury lawyer today to set up your free consultation. An attorney can help you obtain much-needed compensation after you’ve been injured in an accident.
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