During your first consultation with a personal injury attorney, which will vary in length depending on the specifics of your personal injury case, the lawyer will want to understand your situation and to possibly collect some information from you. The accident attorney will probably ask you a number of questions, and many of them may be difficult to answer, but rest assured that their answers are very important to your case and must be asked in order to help you in the most effective and efficient manner possible. The personal injury attorney will also collect a variety of information relating to your accident or injury, including facts about your medical treatment, others involved in the accident, potential witnesses, and more. There will also probably be a discussion of the practical aspects of your case such as a representation agreement, different types of legal fees, and the kinds of costs you can expect in your case.
Meeting with an Accident Attorney: What to Expect
The following is a list of things that you can expect during the first meeting with a personal injury lawyer:
- You may be asked to sign a form, authorizing the release of your medical information from health care providers, so that the personal injury attorney can get your medical records on your behalf.
- You will be asked about the details of your medical insurance coverage.
- The personal injury lawyer will want to know if you have spoken with any insurance adjusters and, if you have, what you have said to them and whether you provided them with a recorded or written statement about the accident or injury.
- You will be asked if you have spoken to anyone else about the accident and injury, and if you have, what you have told them.
- You will be asked about the current status of your personal injuries, if you are still in pain, and what you prognosis is, etc.
- You may be advised to see a doctor, especially if you have any persistent pains. This is because if you do not see a doctor and later decide to pursue the personal injury claim, the defendant will argue that you were not seriously harmed, as there is no doctor visit indicating your injuries.
- It is common for the personal injury lawyer to consider your case, and then to contact you after the meeting, to discuss your legal options. This is a common practice in personal injury cases.
- It is possible that the personal injury lawyer will decline to take your case. The possible reasons for this are manifold; they could be personal or professional, or it may be that he or she does not think that you have a strong case. If this is the case, it is best to hear it early, so that you can seek a second opinion from another attorney.
- You may be referred to another personal injury attorney. Again, the possible reasons for this are manifold, and it is not uncommon.
- The personal injury lawyer may request that you to sign a retainer contract or some other form of agreement for representation. This should be read carefully, and you should be sure to ask any questions that you may have. You should be allowed to take the contract home to study it before signing.
- The next steps in your situation will be outlined by the lawyer. This may involve a factual investigation, a possible settlement, and you should be able to get a rough estimate of how long it will take to resolve your case.
- During a meeting with a personal injury attorney, he or she will almost certainly tell you not to discuss the case with anyone and that all questions should be referred back to him or her. For the sake of your case, it is imperative that you abide by this.
- Finally, the attorney will most likely give you an idea of how he or she plans on keeping you informed of progression in your case. This will vary considerably from one attorney to the next.