Are you meeting with a personal injury attorney for the first time? During this meeting, you will get to know one another by discussing your case in great detail. There is no denying that this is a learning experience. Let your attorney explain your rights, whether or not you have a case, and how to move forward in the near future. The advice that you receive is invaluable.
Although you want to open your ears and listen to everything your attorney has to say, this is also a good time to ask questions. The following can be very important:
- What is your experience? Understanding the legal experience of a potential lawyer is important. In addition to learning more about their experience in general, it can also be helpful to find out how much experience they have with representing cases that are similar to yours.
- Based on what I have told you, do I have a lawsuit? The initial consultation allows your lawyer to ask questions about your case. From here, they should be able to inform you of your legal rights. While it is possible that they will need further evidence to decide, they should be able to guide you on what to do and whether you might have a case.
- What type of information must I supply you as the case moves forward? If your lawyer takes your case, they will immediately begin collecting evidence. They may ask you to provide them with certain documents, like medical records, a copy of the police report, witness contact information, phone records, or income statements. The type of case and injury will dictate the specific type of evidence needed.
- What type of settlement is realistic? Calculating the value of your case is one of the most important services that your lawyer will offer you. They may not be able to provide you with an estimated settlement amount on the first visit, but after collecting evidence, they can provide you with a baseline to work toward.
- How do you charge? Learning how your lawyer charges is also important. Do they expect a retained up-front or do you only owe if they win your case?
- What are your most successful cases? Learning not only about the lawyer’s experience, but also, their success rates is also useful.
- Who would work on my case? You don’t want to build trust with the lawyer you meet with, only to find out that they won’t even be working on your case.
- What happens if I don’t receive a satisfactory settlement offer? Many personal injury cases are settled outside of court. But, it is important to also understand any potential lawyer’s plans if you do not receive a satisfactory settlement offer. Are they willing and prepared to take your case to trial, if needed?
You may be surprised at how much you learn at your free personal injury case consultation. Remember, you don’t have to pay a dime to meet with an attorney and discuss your case. This is a great learning experience that could lead to a future attorney-client relationship. The initial consultation also gives you insight into the state’s legal system and your available options.