How To Arrive Prepared To Your Free Consultation
Many personal injury lawyers offer free consultations to discuss your legal options. However, since they are not lengthy, it is best to be prepared to ensure you get the most out of your meeting.
Keep a Detailed Log
You must be ready to tell the personal injury attorney your story in detail. Therefore, it is best to write down exactly what happened after your accident, including the date, time, what caused the injury, who you believe is at fault, when you saw a doctor, whether you filed a claim and the date you filed, etc. In addition, keep a daily journal of the pain from your injuries and any physical limitations they cause.
Get copies of the following documents and bring them with you to a consultation with a personal injury lawyer.
- Medical records related to the injury and any bills for treatment
- Copy of the police report and/or accident report (if applicable)
- Bills for property repair costs (if applicable)
- Any evidence from the accident, such as photographs, videos, contact information for witnesses, etc.
- Your insurance information and a copy of your policy
- Insurance information from the other party
- Any correspondence you have had with insurance companies.
- Documentation of missed work and lost wages (e.g., emails between you and your employer, pay stubs, tax returns)
Bring any documentation you believe is relevant, as this is not an exhaustive list. Although it can seem overwhelming to compile, it will help the attorney understand and give knowledgeable advice about your case. However, never delay a free consultation because you do not have some or all of these documents. It is far more important to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible with whatever information you have on hand. Once you hire an attorney, they will investigate to gather any missing evidence.
Have a List of Questions
Prepare a list of questions to ask in the consultation. For example:
- How long have you been practicing personal injury law?
- How many cases have you handled like mine?
- What would your general strategy be for my case?
- Would you seek a settlement or take it to trial?
- How long would it take to resolve my case?
- How often should I expect to work directly with you, or will I primarily be working with associates?
- Will I be able to contact you directly about the case?
- How will you be paid for working on my case?
There may not be definitive answers to every question in your free consultation. However, their responses to these questions can help you figure out whether they are the right fit for your case.
Be Prepared to Answer Tough Questions
To weed out frivolous claims, a personal injury lawyer may ask tough questions, which can be frustrating if you are not prepared. For example, that may mean discussing the extent of your injury and treatment, whether you were to blame for the accident, your job, personal finances, home life, and even your sex life. That said, a skilled personal injury lawyer should make you feel comfortable when having that conversation.
The personal injury lawyer you choose can significantly impact whether you recover the compensation you deserve. Therefore, finding the right one for your case may take multiple consultations with different attorneys. However, being prepared, asking questions, and trusting your gut can help you decide.