How much do you know about your potential first personal injury meeting? Unfortunately, offending parties and insurance companies do not always do the right thing when it comes to paying damages to victims. This is just one of the reasons why partnering with an experienced personal injury attorney is one of the best ways to ensure fair compensation in the event of a wrongful injury or accident. The attorney-client relationship should be comfortable, based on trust, and efficiently organized to deliver the maximum benefit in a reasonable amount of time. Being prepared for an initial meeting will not only help you get started, it will also help you arrive at the best fit for representation.
During a case evaluation meeting, a personal injury attorney will want to know about the specifics of your case before deciding whether to represent you. A first meeting, however, is also an opportunity for you to interview your potential attorney. Start by collecting as many documents ahead of time that relate to your injury and place them in a single folder for the attorney to review. Do not worry about including too much; let your attorney decide what is important.
Let us share a few examples of what you may want to bring with you:
- Accident reports
- Copies of any related written statements
- Documentation of all relevant insurance policies
- Medical or disability records
- Medical bills
- Receipts for related expenses
- All correspondence received from insurers and related parties
Of course, if you do not have these things yet, do not let it be a barrier to setting your first case evaluation. You will also want to learn about the attorney’s experience, if he or she has represented anyone locally and whether the attorney has successfully handled cases similar to yours. For example, it makes little sense to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer if you were injured by a drunk driver. It is critical to determine whether he or she has experience in your type of case.
Other important questions to ask may include:
- How will they charge you? Personal injury firms usually operate on a contingency basis. This means you pay nothing upfront, but the attorney recoups a percentage of any award.
- What is my case worth? If your case is worth pursuing, a potential award should fall within a certain range of prospective outcomes. Do your research and be cautious of promises that seem too good to be true.
- What is my responsibility? Get clear on what is expected of you at the outset. Communicate the degree of involvement you are comfortable with and gauge the attorney’s response.
This is just a start to the conversation you may have during your first meeting. We know this article may raise more questions than it answers and encourage you to ask them of our experienced, local legal team. We look forward to meeting with you.