Getting hurt in an accident caused by another party is obviously a stressful situation. You may not be thinking clearly, either because you’re in pain or you’re worried about how the after-effects will impact your life. Once you obtain the medical attention you need, you’ll need to turn your focus toward talking to a personal injury lawyer. Here is what to expect when you have that first consultation.
The Initial Meeting
You’ll first schedule an appointment, of course, and then meet with the attorney face to face to discuss your accident. You’ll tell him or her exactly what happened, spelling out as many details as you can provide. The first consultation will typically be free so the attorney can let you know whether your case is worth pursuing. You’ll probably be asked several questions so that the attorney can have as thorough an understanding of the accident as possible. At the same time, he or she will be observing you closely to see how you answer these questions to get an idea of how you may behave if you should be required to testify during a trial.
What to Bring
Again, the personal injury lawyer will want to get as many facts as possible, so you’ll want to be prepared before you visit his or her office. You should plan on bringing as many accident-related documents as you can, including police reports, repair bills, and medical expenses. It will also be important that you tell the attorney your salary and how many days of work you have missed.
Discussing the Law
Once the attorney has all the facts, he or she can then provide you with a detailed picture of how the law applies to your case. The attorney will go over court procedures and then give you a general idea of how long it will likely take to resolve the matter. In addition, he or she will probably highlight the strengths and weaknesses of your case.
If you and the personal injury lawyer agree you would like to work together, the discussion will more than likely turn to fees. Make sure you find out whether or not the attorney charges by the hour, and if so, what that rate will be. There is also a possibility that you will not have to pay anything except certain expenses until a settlement can be reached.
Making Up Your Mind
Not only is the attorney making a judgment as to whether your case is worth pursuing, you will also be judging whether or not you want to work with him or her. Think about whether you like the attorney and whether this is someone you would be comfortable working closely with for an extended period of time.
You should neither be scared or intimidated during this personal consultation. Always remember that the person you are meeting with is a professional who will only have your best interests at heart.