What You Need to Know
When meeting with a personal injury lawyer for the first time, you may feel nervous. After all, you’ve been through a lot to get to this point. Dealing with a significant injury is physically, mentally and emotionally taxing.
So, what should you expect at a personal injury lawyer consultation?
Let’s walk through a few things you can expect when meeting with a personal injury attorney for the first time.
First Impressions – Why Your Personal Injury Lawyer Consultation Is Important
First impressions in any capacity are critical. A first impression can inform our view of the person throughout the duration of our relationship. According to one study, we create a first impression of a person within seven seconds of meeting them. We want to “put our best foot forward” when meeting new people, and we’re more likely to trust those who make a good first impression.
Someone you entrust with your personal injury case should make a good first impression. When you meet with a potential attorney, your gut instinct is one of the first places to look to see if you should hire them.
What Is It Like to Meet with a Personal Injury Attorney?
Meeting with a personal injury attorney should be a pleasant, informative experience. You should never feel pressured into working with a personal injury lawyer. An experienced attorney is empathetic and understands that your injury has substantially impacted your life. Your consultation should last as long as you need to tell your story and feel comfortable with the attorney.
Five Talking Points You Can Expect in Your Personal Injury Lawyer Consultation
Every personal injury attorney conducts their consultations in slightly different ways. However, there are a few common talking points most lawyers will cover during your visit.
- The story of your personal injury. First and foremost, you should have a chance to tell your side of your personal injury story to a potential personal injury lawyer. The consultation is your chance to be heard.
- Your goals. While your personal injury lawyer can help you determine what your case is worth, you need to state what your goals are for the case. Your goals can include a dollar figure, but they can also be more subjective, like securing compensation for medical bills or lost wages from the time after your injury.
- Scope of representation. You need to know what your personal injury lawyer is responsible for in the case and how they will represent you. This includes time commitments and possible limitations. A potential personal injury lawyer should be transparent with you on how they will represent you and set expectations accordingly. They may also discuss a potential payment structure to reflect the scope of their representation.
- Estimated timeline of the case. When you can’t work and constantly receive phone calls about your medical expenses, you know how precious every minute is. A personal injury lawyer with a portfolio of successful cases should be able to develop an estimated timeline for your case based on their prior experience.
- Possible outcomes. It’s essential for an attorney to give you a realistic evaluation of your case. Every case is different, and the outcome will be based on the facts of your case.
What Should You Bring to Your Personal Injury Lawyer Consultation?
Before your visit, there are a few items you’ll want to gather to ensure that you make the most of your consultation.
- Journal entries and other notes. When telling your story to your prospective representation, you want your thoughts to be as organized as possible. Bringing an organized list of notes can help you tell the story of your injury in a concise way. These notes can also offer the attorney a future reference.
- Photos of the injury and from the scene of the accident. Any photographic evidence of the scene that caused your injury is helpful to have at the front end. Witness testimonies and contact information are a great starting point as well.
- Medical records. Documentation of your injury and treatment is foundational for your case, as they legitimize your injury.
- Police reports and other law enforcement info. Police reports are helpful in building a case as they provide an unbiased third-party perspective on the incident that caused your accident from a reliable source.
- Health and auto insurance information. If you filed a claim with your or the at-fault party’s insurance company, this information is essential to know if there are other parties that would receive payment in the case of a favorable settlement or court decision. It’s crucial to have up-to-date auto insurance information with you. If your auto insurance has been canceled more than six months from the date of your injury, you can only claim your out-of-pocket expenses.
Final Notes for Your First Meeting with a Personal Injury Attorney
The final item you should have when you walk into a prospective attorney’s office is a list of questions for them. If you need help developing a list, check out this article for relevant questions you can ask. By the end of your consultation, you should know why you should or shouldn’t hire them as your attorney. Make sure to comb through their website and check online reviews and ratings to get a picture of their work before the meeting.
If you’re looking for a law firm that’s backed by years of experience and will fight for you, please visit our contact page to get in touch with the legal experts at Tolbert Beadle.