Meeting an injury attorney after an accident is vital. They need to hear everything that happened during the incident, and they will collect as much information as they possibly can. The time frame for this meeting will depend on the severity of the accident and injuries. If the case is rather straightforward, then the meeting probably will not last long. The key is to come prepared. If the case is more complex in nature, then the meeting will probably take a bit longer.
Understanding How Consultations Work
The lawyer will have questions about the accident. The more you talk, the more questions it generates. The questions they ask are not always easy to hear or answer. The key is, to be honest, and give them all the information for the best outcome of your case. They will want to know things about your medical treatment, like if there were any witnesses, and if others were involved in the accident. The lawyer will have a representation agreement that will detail all the legal fees and the costs involved with the case. Most personal injury cases are done on a contingency basis, which means you do not pay unless you win.
What to Expect At The First Meeting
During the initial meeting, the lawyer may ask you to sign a form to obtain your medical records. They will gather information on your behalf and begin to put your case together. They also need to know about your insurance coverage. There is often communication between the insurance adjuster and the lawyer regarding statements, coverage and the accident in general. The attorney will need to know if you have been interviewed by anyone else about the incident. If you shared your injuries with anyone else they need to make a record of that. Not all suffering is evident by looking at you. They will need to know your pain level, as well as the prognosis and current status.
It is not uncommon for a lawyer to request that you see a doctor. If there are any medical problems that are lingering, they need to include these in the medical part of your claim. If the defendant wants to argue that you are not seriously injured, then having medical documentation helps thwart that battle.
Keep in mind that just because you attend a meeting with an attorney does not mean they will take your case. They will review the facts and get back to you to discuss legal options. Every car accident does not give automatic grounds for a legal battle. Rather, there must be irrefutable negligence to peruse a personal injury case. They can deny your case based on the special nature of the claim, their current case load, or many other situations. After reviewing the facts, the lawyer may tell you that you do not have a case. In this instance, a second opinion does not hurt.
If the lawyer agrees to take your case, then they will ask you to sign a contract. Before you sign anything, make sure to read all the fine print. If you have any questions, then be sure to ask them before you sign the document. It is advisable to take the contract home and study it before signing off on it.
The attorney should inform you of what the steps are in the case. In some cases, a factual investigation is needed before a lawsuit can be filed. Ask the lawyer about a rough estimate on how long they feel it will take to resolve the case. Any questions you might have regarding the case should be directed to the attorney and not discussed with others. The old saying “loose lips sink ships” is certainly applicable.
Attorneys inform their clients of the progress in their case. Since each case is different, there is no definitive timeline. Be sure to get periodic updates by phone or letter to keep you informed of what is going on.
Getting a Free Consultation
Dealing with an accident claim is often a difficult affair. The attorney must gather evidence, talk to witnesses, and have a thorough understanding of the law. As a victim, you must find an attorney who has enough experience to ensure your compensation needs are met. Typically, the first consultation is free and will determine whether or not the lawyer can take on your case.