6 Things to Know About a Lawyer Free Consultation
Ryan Zavodnick | May 6, 2020 | Personal Injury
Being hurt in an accident can be overwhelming. You have so many things to deal with after the accident. While you are recovering from your injuries, you may wonder if you need to hire an accident attorney to help you with an injury claim.
Most personal injury attorneys offer free consultations for accident victims. If you are unsure what to do after an accident, take advantage of the free consultation to get more information about personal injury claims. You can also learn how an attorney can help you recover compensation for an injury.
Six Things You Need to Know About a Free Consultation with a Personal Injury Attorney
1. Bring Any Documents Related to the Accident
Keep all documents you receive regarding the accident, your injury, or an insurance claim. It is a good idea to create folders for various documents related to the accident. You may want to create an accident folder, medical treatment folder, financial losses and expenses, and insurance claim folder. Bring your folders with you to your initial meeting with an injury lawyer.
2. Write Down Everything You Remember About the Accident
Start a journal as soon after the accident as possible. Write down everything you remember about the accident. Time can make memories and details fade, so it is best to get those details on paper while they are fresh in your mind.
You can use the journal to make notes about conversations you have with insurance adjusters, doctors, and other parties. Include the date and time of the conversation, the name of the person, and the details of the conversation.
The journal is also an excellent way to record pain and suffering information. Information regarding the severity of your pain each day, activities that require assistance, and your emotional state can help your attorney to develop a convincing case for maximum compensation for noneconomic damages.
3. Bring a List of Questions to Ask the Attorney
After the attorney asks a series of questions to get an idea about the case, you have an opportunity to ask the attorney questions. It can be easy to forget your questions during the consultation. Writing those questions day in advance of the appointment can be helpful.
Some questions you may want to ask an accident attorney include:
- How long have you been practicing law?
- How many cases like my case have you handled?
- What is the percentage of cases you settle or take to court?
- Who will be working on my case?
- Will I be able to talk to you if I have questions or concerns?
- How long will my personal injury case take to settle?
- What is my case worth?
The attorney may not be able to answer all your questions, such as how long the case will take or how much the case is worth. However, asking those questions gives you an indication of whether the attorney is honest and forthcoming.
An experienced accident lawyer will tell you that it is impossible to know the value of your claim or the length of your case until he conducts a thorough accident investigation and you complete your medical treatment. Guessing at an answer might give you false expectations.
4. Discuss Attorneys’ Fees and Costs
Many attorneys accept injury cases on a contingency fee basis. With a contingency fee, the attorney is not paid until you are paid. The fee is based on a percentage of the amount of your settlement or jury verdict.
Make sure to ask the attorney about the costs involved in the case. What are you responsible for paying for and when are you required to pay those costs? The costs of a personal injury claim vary, depending on whether you need to file a personal injury lawsuit, a workers’ compensation claim, or a car accident lawsuit.
5. You are not Required to Hire the Lawyer
You are not under any obligation to hire an attorney or law firm after a free consultation. The consultation is confidential and free of charge. Whether you want to hire the attorney is up to you.
6. The Attorney May Not Take Your Case
The attorneys are also not under any obligation to take your case after a free consultation. There are many reasons why an attorney may not take your case. Common reasons include:
- The statute of limitations (the deadline to file a claim) has expired in your case;
- The attorney has a conflict of interest preventing him from representing you;
- There is insufficient evidence that another party is responsible for your injuries;
- Not all injuries are worth pursuing compensation for. If you only sustained minor injuries like whiplash, your case might not be cost-effective; and,
- The attorney does not handle cases like your case.
Ask the attorney for a detailed explanation of why he does not want to take your case. If a personal injury lawyer does not take your case, you can talk to another attorney for a second opinion.