27.9 C
New York
Wednesday, May 22, 2024

What to Expect From Your First Personal Injury Consultation

Must read

Major Causes of Car Accidents in Toronto

Toronto has a big problem with car accidents. In 2022, there were over 64,000 vehicle crashes reported in the city. That's a...

How Business Lawyers Brisbane Can Help You Navigate Contracts and Agreements

Key Takeaways Importance of Legal Soundness: Contracts are the foundation of all business transactions. Ensuring they are...

5 Things to Know About Child Custody from Family Law Firms in Melbourne

Navigating child custody is a complex and emotionally charged aspect of family law, especially in a diverse and populous city like Melbourne....

5 Key Things To Choose the Right Lawyer for Your Legal Needs

When you're facing a legal issue, finding the right lawyer can make all the difference. You want someone who understands your specific...
John Mattiacci
John Mattiacci is an award-winning personal injury lawyer who represents victims in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He focuses on vehicle collisions, slip-and-fall injuries, medical malpractice, and other negligence claims. Click here to learn more about John. 

According to the National Safety Council, Americans experienced around 62 million injuries and over 224,000 preventable deaths in 2021 alone. Whether it’s on the road, in a hospital, or even at work, accidents happen every day — and oftentimes, they are due to somebody’s negligence. If this is the case, then it’s time to “lawyer up” to ensure you’re not missing out on significant compensation to pay for lost wages, medical bills, property damage, and more. 

But where do you begin? Taking the first step in your journey toward justice can be daunting, especially if your injuries are significant or traumatic. In this article, Brian Lewis, an experienced personal injury attorney in the Chicagoland area, will tell you what you can expect from your first personal injury consultation, how to prepare for it, and questions you should ask during the visit.

What to Expect From Your First Visit

Exact details regarding your first visit to a personal injury attorney may vary slightly between law offices, but there are some commonalities that you can expect. For the most part, it will involve getting to know you and your situation and determining whether it’s viable to move forward with a lawsuit. 

1. Case Assessment

Your personal injury lawyer will ask a lot of questions about the incident, the injuries you’ve sustained, the parties involved, and any resulting monetary losses. This is to establish which party is at fault, whether negligence was at play, who may be held liable, and the amount of damages (read: compensation) you may be entitled to. During these questions, be prepared to give highly detailed answers. Here are a few examples of questions you should anticipate:

  • What happened, when did it happen, and how did it happen?
  • Were there witnesses?
  • Did you file a police report?
  • What are your injuries and how severe are they?
  • Are you able to work? If not, how much work have you missed?

These are key indicators that will determine whether your case is valid, so don’t hold back on any information!

2. Evidence and Documents

While you’re answering questions, support your claims with images, copies of medical bills, and other evidence you’ve collected. Other types of evidence could include:

  • Witness statements
  • Police reports or other accident reports
  • Paystubs to indicate lost wages
  • Evidence of PTO used post-injury
  • Photos of your injuries
  • Any communication from or with insurance companies
  • Receipts for resulting out-of-pocket expenses
  • W2s or prior years’ tax forms

3. Getting to Know Your Prospective Attorney

Initial consultations are a two-way street. Much like your attorney will get to know you and your case, you should be prepared to get to know your attorney — experience level, background, and whether they’ve handled similar cases in the past. If you don’t feel that they are qualified to take your case, or if you just feel like it’s not a good fit, there’s nothing stopping you from finding a lawyer you feel more compatible with. After all, you’re pursuing justice, not friendship. Hire a lawyer that you think has the best chance to win.

If you’re up to the cause, do your due diligence by looking them up before you initiate a consultation. Do they specialize in your type of injury? What types of cases have they won? What do their reviews on Google say about their demeanor, responsiveness, and efficiency?

These are all key considerations to keep in mind both before and during your first consultation.

Additionally, do not be shy about asking questions. Every seasoned attorney knows this is probably your first time going through this process and that reliving a traumatic injury can be very difficult. They’ll be willing, and even eager, to answer any questions you have about your case, next steps, and their expertise. 

Let’s review some probing questions you can use during your initial consultation:

Questions to Ask Your Personal Injury Lawyer

Remember, there’s no such thing as a bad question for your lawyer! You need to help them help you, so the more engaged you are, the better equipped your attorney will be.

  1. Can you tell me about a similar case that you’ve won?
  2. How long will this process take?
  3. Are there statutes of limitations that I should consider?
  4. How do I deal with the insurance companies that are contacting me?
  5. What types of damages can we pursue?
  6. What are the next steps?
  7. What does your fee structure look like?
  8. How is fault determined in this case?
  9. If you are hired, what can I expect?
  10. Do you have experience with this type of injury case?
  11. What does your success rate look like?
  12. How often do cases go to trial, and what can I expect if that happens?
  13. What are the strengths and weaknesses of my case?
  14. How involved will I be in major decision making?
  15. Have you ever been disciplined by an ethics committee?

Essentially, treat your initial consultation  like a job interview because, in some sense, it is one. Presuming you have a viable case, most personal injury attorneys will want to work with you since many of them have contingency fee structures. This means that they don’t get paid unless you win.

Preparing For Your First Meeting

While we’ve already covered some prep work in this article, here’s a quick checklist of things you can do before you even set foot in an attorney’s office or pick up the phone:

Collect Evidence

Immediately following your injury (and after you’ve contacted the necessary medical authorities), take as many photos as you can of the accident site, your injuries, and any resulting property damage if you are able to do so. For instance, if you slipped and fell on an icy sidewalk, be sure to take photographs of the sidewalk. If you were in a car crash, document vehicular damage, road conditions, and any defective signage.

In addition to images, be sure to file a police report and obtain a copy of it. If you required medical attention, be sure to make copies of medical bills and diagnoses resulting from the accident. If you missed work, document any sick leave or PTO used, as well as other evidence of lost wages.

The more evidence you have of the incident and its repercussions on your well-being, the better.

Research Your Attorney

Look at online reviews, browse their website to discover any specializations, analyze their track record, and find local news articles about their work. You may find out whether an attorney is a good fit before you even pick up the phone. Also, make sure your attorney is not going to refer out your case to another lawyer. Many attorneys will claim to handle your type of case when in reality, they don’t. You want to be sure that the person you are meeting with will be handling your case. 

Be Ready to Talk In Depth

Reliving trauma is never easy, but to increase your chances of winning, you will have to discuss your experience in great detail. Every seasoned attorney knows this and understands how to be emotionally supportive while you recount the events. Nevertheless, it is imperative to know going in that this will be an expectation. Be prepared to discuss your medical history as well, both before and after the incident. It will give an idea of just how severely you’ve been affected. 

Be Honest

Misrepresenting your situation is a waste of your time and your attorney’s time. In fact, it may even wind up hurting your chances of recuperating damages down the line.

Write Down Your Questions

Take a screenshot of the questions listed above or write them down so you don’t forget to ask them. Leave no stone unturned — this is your first chance to familiarize yourself with the process!

Bring a Supportive Friend or Family Member

Having someone there that you trust can help provide another perspective as well as emotional support when recounting the events. They may even think of poignant questions that you had not considered. 

What to do if You’ve Been Injured From Someone Else’s Negligence

Going through an injury is never fun, but it’s up to your attorney to bear the heavy lifting in your pursuit of justice. Attorneys like Brian Lewis will deal with insurance companies on your behalf, file the necessary paperwork, and handle all aspects of recuperating damages so that you can concentrate on emotional and physical recovery. Having an experienced, knowledgeable attorney in your corner to fight for your rights is an invaluable asset.

So, if you’ve been injured from someone else’s negligence, collect evidence, do your due diligence, and hand off the hard parts to a seasoned expert.

More articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest article

Major Causes of Car Accidents in Toronto

Toronto has a big problem with car accidents. In 2022, there were over 64,000 vehicle crashes reported in the city. That's a...

How Business Lawyers Brisbane Can Help You Navigate Contracts and Agreements

Key Takeaways Importance of Legal Soundness: Contracts are the foundation of all business transactions. Ensuring they are...

5 Things to Know About Child Custody from Family Law Firms in Melbourne

Navigating child custody is a complex and emotionally charged aspect of family law, especially in a diverse and populous city like Melbourne....

5 Key Things To Choose the Right Lawyer for Your Legal Needs

When you're facing a legal issue, finding the right lawyer can make all the difference. You want someone who understands your specific...

The Role of a Defamation Lawyer in Brisbane: What You Need to Know

Key Takeaways The assistance of a defamation lawyer Brisbane is crucial for both preventing and addressing damage...