After an accident, you may wonder how to get compensated for your injuries. A personal injury lawyer free consultation helps accident victims like you decide how to proceed. The free consultation allows the personal injury lawyer to assess your case. The attorney will estimate the maximum compensation that is likely for your injuries and how to obtain that. Based on his or her experience with similar cases, the personal injury lawyer will explain the most realistic process and outcome for your situation.
Why You Should Schedule A Free Personal Injury Lawyer Consultation
Before hiring an attorney, you need to know whether you want to work with that person. Personal injuries are traumatic life events. Dealing with the aftermath of an accident is stressful. You want your advocate in that process to be someone you trust and like.
An experienced personal injury attorney will assess the merits and likely value of your claim, explain the insurance company’s expected settlement offer if you proceed on your own, and discuss the process and probable outcome if seasoned counsel represents you.
Understanding your options and how an attorney would proceed on your behalf is essential to an informed choice about whether to hire an attorney and if so, which one.
5 Tips For Your Personal Injury Lawyer Free Consultation
Meeting with a personal injury lawyer will help you decide whether to hire him or her. The following five suggestions will help you get what you need out of your personal injury lawyer free consultation.
1. Learn About The Personal Injury Attorney
Before your consultation, learn all you can. Start with the lawyer’s website to learn about the lawyer’s credentials, the types of cases the lawyer handles, and the team that works with the lawyer. Visit the California Bar Association website to find out if the lawyer is in good standing with the bar association. The Bar’s website provides guidance about how to find and how to choose a lawyer. Search the internet for the lawyer’s name to find publications and presentations by the lawyer, information about case outcomes, reviews by other clients, and more.
Ask friends and family about their experiences with lawyers. Even if they don’t know the lawyer you are considering, they may have suggestions about how to decide if the lawyer is the right fit for your needs.
2. Set Realistic Expectations For The Consultation
You can expect four things from your personal injury lawyer free consultation:
- A professional legal assessment of your case
- The approximate value of your damages
- Your options with and without legal representation
- Your impression of the attorney’s expertise, approach to cases, and interpersonal style
If you enter the consultation expecting these four things and nothing more, you will probably be satisfied with the outcome of the meeting. You may be unsatisfied with the attorney, the assessment of your case, or the estimated value of your damages, but you will have received what you needed from the consultation.
If you are unhappy with what you learn in the consultation, meet with another lawyer and see how different the case assessment and estimated values are. When comparing lawyers, focus on their experience with your type of accident and injuries, and their track record for client awards.
3. Bring Notes, Documents, And Photos
To provide an accurate assessment of your case and the value of your damages, an attorney needs reliable information from you. Before the consultation, collect all the information you have about the accident and your injuries, including the following, if they exist:
- Police or incident report
- Insurance policy information (yours and that of the person who hurt you)
- Contact information for anyone involved in the accident (the person who caused it, other victims, witnesses, investigators, etc.)
- Any notes you have made about the accident and the impact on you
- Communications between you and insurance companies about the accident
- Property damage estimates or repair estimates
- Expenses you have incurred because of the accident
- A list of medications, health conditions, injuries, and surgeries before the accident
- A list of medical treatment, diagnoses, medications, doctors, and therapists seen since the accident
- Photos or videos related to the accident
Many accident victims find it helpful to review these documents before the consultation and to talk with close friends and family members to refresh their memory about the accident and its impact.
4. Ask Lots Of Questions
During the consultation, ask any questions that will help you decide whether to hire the attorney. The California Bar Association and the California court system offer suggestions on what questions to ask when choosing an attorney.
Use the conversation to learn more about the attorney’s experience with your situation. For example, if you are suffering from a traumatic brain injury or a spinal cord injury, you want an attorney with a track record of proving these injuries and obtaining fair compensation. Attorneys who represent clients with serious injuries know experts who can testify about what your future looks like, given your specific injuries. They also have a network of experts who can help you recover. The more experienced the attorney is in your type of case, the more likely you are to achieve a desirable outcome.
Use the consultation to get a sense of what it would be like to work with the attorney. Ask whether the lawyer or other staff members will be your primary contact and how often you will communicate with the firm. Learn how the lawyer will get paid and how the legal fees will be covered if you do and do not obtain an award.
This consultation is for you. Make sure you get enough information to make an informed decision.
5. Discuss Fees And Next Steps
Moving forward with a legal claim requires teamwork between you and your attorney. This requires open communication and an understanding of everyone’s responsibilities, including those related to money. Personal injury attorneys should carefully explain their fee agreement, including what services the law firm performs and when and how they get paid. The fee agreement should explain who pays the costs of the case, such as witness fees, court expenses, and costs for experts, and when payments are due.
Ensure you understand terms used to describe costs, including “contingency fee,” “expenses,” and “hourly fees.” Ask for an estimate of costs you will pay and know what would cause the estimate to change.
Once you understand the fee arrangement, discuss how the case will proceed. The attorney should understand your goals for the claim and explain the steps she or he will take to achieve those goals.
Schedule A Personal Injury Lawyer Free Consultation With Reiner, Slaughter & Frankel
The personal injury attorneys at Reiner, Slaughter & Frankel have represented hundreds of personal injury victims like you, recovering millions of dollars in settlements and court awards. No case is too big or too small for them to consider. Call them today to schedule your personal injury lawyer free consultation.