Your Initial Meeting With a Personal Injury Lawyer
Following a serious accident or personal injury your next step should be meeting with a personal injury attorney to discover what your legal options are, if you should file a personal injury lawsuit, and what the personal injury claims process will entail.
The Initial Interview
The complexity of the case and how well prepared you are for the meeting dictates the length of your initial consultation. Simple cases involving injuries related to most car accidents will generally require less time than cases involving more intricate issues, like medical malpractice or product liability lawsuits.
In order to understand the specifics of your case, your lawyer will cover a multitude of topics and you should be prepared for everything. Topics covered will almost certainly include:
o Your accident and injury;
o Your medical treatment;
o Your current medical condition;
o Your insurance coverage and if you have spoken to adjusters;
o Potential witnesses;
o Representation agreement;
o Varying legal fees; and
o The types of costs associated with your case.
When a Lawyer Denies Your Case
Not every lawyer will accept every case they are offered. Your personal injury attorney will most likely be able to tell you if he or she will accept your case at the end of your first meeting. The most common reasons a lawyer will decline to accept your case include:
o current caseload is too cumbersome;
o lack of capabilities or specialties;
o economic situation (how much time/money they will need to spend on your case vs. your potential settlement amount);
o family responsibilities.
Of course it could also be that in your lawyer’s opinion, you do not have a strong case. Remember though, this is only one person’s opinion and you should always seek a second opinion from another attorney if you feel strongly that neglect has taken place.
Your personal injury lawyer may also choose to refer you to another attorney. This is not something that should be considered a negative and may occur if your attorney thinks another lawyer is better suited for your particular case.
Accepting Your Case
Should your personal injury attorney decide to accept your case, there will most likely be a few preliminary steps that must be taken. Your lawyer may:
o Ask you to sign a contract for his or her representation (a retainer);
o Be able to give you a rough estimate of the time and cost it will take in order to fully resolve your case;
o Ask you to sign a medical release form so that he or she can access [attain] your medical records; and
o Suggest you visit a doctor to reconcile any remaining physical complications
Finding the right attorney for your case is essential, luckily most personal injury lawyers offer free consultations for new clients, so you will not be losing anything by meeting with several lawyers in your area to determine which one if the best fit for you and your case.