Do you know how to prepare for a car accident consultation with your lawyer?
After you have suffered a severe injury in a motor vehicle accident, you may reach out to an attorney to schedule a consultation about your case. The purpose of these meetings is three-fold. First, you want to see if you have a case. Second, you want to see if the attorney you are considering is the right fit. Third, the attorney needs to examine the case details and decide if it is one that they are willing to take on.
Consultations range from 30 minutes to one hour. Some are free of charge, while other times you pay a small fee. Regardless of the cost, you want to get the most out of the consultation time you have with that attorney. Therefore, you need to come to your appointment prepared.
How to Prepare for an Accident Consultation
You have two primary goals for this consultation:
- Telling your story. Now is the time to get your story out and have a professional to hear it. You want to say how the accident occurred, the injuries you sustained, and how your injuries have affected your life. You want an attorney that listens to your concerns and assesses the information thoughtfully.
- Decide if this is the right attorney for you. Another important goal of a consultation is to see if the attorney you meet with is the right choice for your case. You want to learn about your rights and options, but also if the attorney’s experience, background, and success record will help you succeed with your case.
To meet these two primary goals, you must take a few steps to ensure your consultation helps maximize your potential which includes:
Gathering All Documentation
By now, you should have a good deal of documents that might help an attorney review your case. These documents can include everything from a police report to your medical records. Some that you must bring to a consultation, and will be requested by your attorney include:
- Police Report – If there is a police report associated with your accident or injury, bring a copy to your consultation. You can usually request your copy from the local police station for free, while other departments may charge a small fee.
- Property Damage Reports – If your vehicle or other property was damaged, you need to bring along estimates to repair or replace the damaged property. This includes official statements from body shops, your automobile insurance company, or another party associated with replacing and repairing those items.
- Medical Records and Statements – By now you have seen a doctor and received treatment. Therefore, you need to bring along any medical bills, including those paid for by your health insurance. You also should bring any Explanation of Benefits statements, bills paid out-of-pocket such as a deductible, and pending medical bills. Also, medical records are necessary to bring because these show the extent of your injuries, treatments you have received, and information about your prognosis.
- Witness Information – If you have any information regarding witnesses at the scene, bring along the contact information that you have gathered. This should be a minimum of their name and phone number.
A Summary of Your Account
Your memory will fade as the days go by. Therefore, immediately after an accident, you should start an injury journal. In that diary you should note everything from what you recall at the crash, including before, during, and after. Then, document your pain and the procedures you go through, how they affect you, your outlook, and anything you can remember about the accident itself. The more accurate and detailed your recollection, the better for your case.
Do not worry about writing down anything that might be silly or unnecessary. Sometimes, those small details can dramatically swing a case in your favor. Therefore, there is no such thing as information that is off limits.
Come with a List of Questions
About a week before the consultation appointment, start working on a list of questions. Do not try to write them all down the night before. Instead, write them down as they come up. Keep a pen and notebook with you, then write them down as you think of them.
You should include some of the following questions for your attorney during the consultation:
- How long they have been practicing?
- The number of personal injury cases like yours that they have handled.
- Their success rate and the average verdict of their cases.
- If they have any references from professionals and other clients.
- Their training, awards, and any accreditations they might have.
- How much you might recover in your case?
Be Prepared to Answer Personal Questions
One area where plaintiffs are caught off guard is the questioning. But when you file an injury claim, your life becomes an open book. Therefore, the more your attorney knows about you and your injuries, including intimate details, the easier it might be to prove your case.
Be prepared to be honest and open. Do not hide any details from your attorney – even if they are embarrassing. Also, if you think that you might have contributed to the accident, tell your attorney immediately so that they can take steps to protect you from the insurance company blaming you entirely.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation.