What Should I Expect During a Free Personal Injury Consultation?
In the days after an accident, your choice of attorney will be the most impactful decision you make. A good personal injury attorney can help you communicate with insurers, negotiate a fair settlement, and sue if necessary to protect your rights.
Because the choice of attorney is so important, most lawyers offer a free consultation where you can meet with a lawyer to discuss your case. To get the most out of your personal injury lawyer free consultation, we have compiled a list of things of 4 things you should know and do ahead of time.
1. Be Prepared to Talk about Your Personal Injury Case
Your lawyer needs to know what happened, and there is no one better positioned to explain things than you. Before coming into our office, take a few moments to write out what happened. Chances are the moments before and during a car accident or truck accident are a blur. Nevertheless, as best you can, write down the following:
- When and where the accident occurred
- Any surrounding circumstances, such as the weather
- What you were doing before the accident
- What the other party involved said after the accident (e.g., did they apologize?)
- The names of any witnesses to the event
If you were injured by a careless doctor or dentist, the information you collect will be a little different. Try to write out:
- A chronology of what happened. When did you first meet with the doctor? What did he or she say?
- Your diagnosis.
- How the doctor responded to your complaints.
- Any warnings your doctor or dentist gave you. Did they discuss risks or not?
You should also prepare yourself to talk about your injuries—physical and emotional. How has your life changed? Are you unable to work or pursue your favorite hobbies? The more information we have, the better.
2. Collect Important Documents
Certain documents can augment your story and help a lawyer better understand what happened. Try to collect the following:
- Police reports
- Insurance investigator reports
- Photographs of any damage to a vehicle
- Photographs of your injuries
- Any witness statements
- Insurance information
- Medical records
- A list of all doctors who have treated you recently
It’s okay if you do not have all of these documents, but collect what you can.
3. Expect a Brief Analysis of Your Case
A lawyer cannot fully analyze all the details of your case in half an hour. However, he can provide a high-level view of what the situation looks like based on his experience. In particular, a lawyer will need to consider:
- Whether you are within the statute of limitations. This is the amount of time you have to sue.
- What other information the lawyer needs to fully analyze your case.
- Whether you have a strong or weak case, based on the facts known.
- How much compensation you are looking at if you succeed in a lawsuit or settlement.
As more facts become known, the analysis might change. Also, a lawyer’s initial analysis is only as good as the facts you provide him with. If you make a mistake—for example, get the date wrong when you were injured—then the lawyer’s legal analysis will change.
However, the lawyer should give you a good sense of whether your case is worth moving forward with.
4. Write out a List of Questions
Another reason for a personal injury lawyer free consultation is to provide people with a chance to ask questions. Because time is limited, try not to ask a question if you could find the answer by looking on the lawyer’s website. For example, most lawyers put down where they went to law school, so there is no reason to ask that. Instead, think of asking questions such as:
- Have you ever handled a case like mine? An experienced lawyer can usually work more efficiently and effectively.
- What are the possible outcomes of my case? Is it likely the defendant will settle, or is a trial likely?
- How much do you charge in fees? Do you work on contingency? With a contingency fee agreement, a lawyer only gets paid if you win your case.
- How do you communicate? Phone? Email? Text? Also ask who will return a call. Will it be the lawyer or a case assistant assigned to your case?
By considering the lawyer’s answers, you can better understand whether this is someone you feel comfortable working with.
Get Your Free Consultation Today
Dawson & Albritton is pleased to offer members of the public a personal injury free consultation. You can schedule it by calling 252-752-2485. Our consultations are completely confidential, so there is no risk in meeting with us.
Please avoid delay. As mentioned above, North Carolina gives you a short window of time to sue, so any delay can only hurt you.