There are a lot of different types of lawyers you may need to work with throughout your life.
One is a personal injury lawyer. Personal injury lawyers represent you if you’ve been injured and someone else is at fault.
We most commonly associate their services with car accidents, but they can help you in other ways as well.
For example, if you’re hurt because of a defective product, or a fall, you might talk to a personal injury lawyer.
The following are some of the things a personal injury attorney will typically do as they work on a case:
- Initially, if you decide to work with this type of lawyer, they will first start gathering as much information as possible about your case. They will want to learn more about your injuries and they’re also going to investigate to decidethe fault in the accident. Some specific pieces of evidence that a personal injury lawyer will look at include police reports, witness statements, medical bills and medical treatment history. They might also try to locate any photographs or surveillance footage.
- Next, after reviewing evidence, a personal injury attorney will probably make a demand to the insurance company of the party that’s liable.
- After the demand letter, your attorney may receive a settlement offer. Your attorney will go over it and make a recommendation to you as far as how you should respond.
- A personal injury attorney will ensure they know the full scope of your injuries and losses before they encourage you to accept a settlement.
- There will be negotiations, but if during this time your attorney can’t settle, then they will begin a lawsuit.
- The lawsuit starts with the filing of a complaint. The complaint is an official legal document that outlines your legal arguments and the support of those, as well as what you demand to compensate for the damages you’ve sustained.
- Once a complaint is filed, discovery begins. This is part of litigation where both sides exchange information with one another that will be evidence during the trial. Discovery can include requests for documents, depositions and interrogatories.
With all that in mind, the consultation that you initially have with a personal injury attorney before you ever hire them to work on your case is incredibly important.
This is when your potential attorney will look at the facts of your case and try to figure out an estimate of how much it’s worth and what you can expect.
The following are things to know as you prepare for a legal consultation.
What You’ll Provide
When you meet to have a consultation with a personal injury lawyer, they’ll probably start by gathering your personal contact information. That’s true no matter the legal issue being discussed.
Then, from there, your consultation will include you going over critical facts of your situation.
It can be a good idea to write down the things that happened before your consultation because otherwise it can be challenging for your attorney to follow if you present it in a choppy way, or you might not remember everything.
A good rule of thumb is to create a chronological list of the things that happened, and then try to include key names and dates if you can. You may be nervous when you consult with an attorney, which is why writing things down beforehand can help.
Your attorney will keep everything you tell them confidential unless they have to share it for a legal reason.
Don’t leave out things that you think are trivial or embarrassing because for your attorney to do the best possible job on your case, they need that information too.
In the weeks or days leading up to your consultation, keep notes of questions that come to you.
As a side note, if you’ve taken your time beforehand to find and vet good candidates, then your consultation should be somewhat easier. You should have already done quite a bit of research on the lawyer before you meet with them.
Along with writing down details of your accident and injuries, you should gather documents that you think could be relevant.
This could include photos, emails, text messages, or recordings.
Make a copy of everything you bring to the consultation, and then your attorney can keep those while you keep the originals.
Plus, attorneys charge to make copies.
Go Into It With At Least a Little Understanding
You don’t want to go into a consultation with a personal injury attorney having no knowledge about what to expect. It’s a good idea to do a bit of research because then you can use your consultation wisely to ask informed questions.
Questions worth asking include what the process will be like and what the attorney’s experience with cases like yours is.
Your lawyer at this time might start going over a general legal strategy with you.
You should be prepared to tell the attorney during the consultation what your best-case scenario outcome will be. Then, your attorney will have a better ability to judge if you’re a good fit to work together or not.
Bring Someone with You
Finally, if at all possible, it’s a good idea to bring someone with you to your initial consultation with an attorney, such as a friend or family member.
First, you may be a little nervous, and having someone with you can help you feel comfortable. They might also remember details that you forget about or have relevant questions to ask the attorney.
Another reason it’s helpful to have someone with you at a consultation is so that if you forget anything the attorney says, they can remind you later on.
The more prepared you are going into a consultation, the more likely you’re going to be able to find the right attorney to represent you and do an excellent job on your case.