Free Legal Consultation with a Personal Injury Lawyer
A Free Legal Consultation is a great way to obtain legal insight into your potential personal injury case. It is a great forum to develop answer to basic questions about the case and whether the attorney is the right fit for you. So how do you know if you need a personal injury attorney? Today’s blog will outline simple guidelines to help you decide, and what to expect during the initial free legal consultation.
If you have been involved in an accident, or injured through no fault of your own, then you may seek financial compensation from the at-fault person and their insurance company. This is called a personal injury case. To fairly resolve the case and protect your rights, you need to answer the questions “can you negotiate an equitable settlement directly with your insurance company,” or the at-fault person’s insurance company? Should you engage the assistance of an experienced personal injury lawyer to negotiate on your behalf and protect your rights? Some people believe that engaging legal services to assist you automatically means you are going to sue the other person. This is not true. In fact, most personal injury cases are settled without filing a lawsuit. In the cases where lawsuits are filed, most of those are settled prior to trial. However, it is the potential of the injured person taking their case to trial that causes insurance companies to make more serious settlement offers; offers that are sometimes 5 to 10 times higher than initial settlements. So, how do you know if you need to engage the services of a personal injury attorney? Here are some simple guidelines to help you decide:
What is the purpose of the free legal consultation?
The purpose of the free legal consultation with a personal injury attorney is to review the basic facts of the case and develop answers to the following questions:
- Do I have a personal injury case? What is the legal basis for my personal injury case?
- What is the Case Quality? Are there any significant legal or factual issues?
- Is there a match between the client and personal injury attorney?
- Does the attorney handle this type of case, and have the necessary experience and resources needed to successfully settle the case.
- What are the attorney’s qualifications, track record, and approach to dealing with similar cases?
- The goal is to reach a basic consensus on the next steps the potential client and attorney will take – do you proceed to establish a working relationship on the case; continue evaluating options; or do the work yourself?
How does a free legal consultation work?
Once you initiate the request for a free legal consultation, the lawyer who will be handling your case should call you and discuss basic case facts – typically a 10-15 minute phone call. The goal is to screen the potential case to be sure there is a match between the type of case and the legal focus of attorney. Sometimes a potential client will only want to discuss a few questions or is simply looking for a referral to an attorney with a specialized law practice. Once an intial telephone conversation is done, the needs of the potential client are understood and certain criteria are met, then a specific time is arranged to meet with the potential client for a free legal consultation.
How to prepare for the consultation?
The best way for you to get the most out of the consultation is to come prepared with answers to basic questions about the accident the at-fault person, your injuries, medical treatments, wage loss information, insurance information, any relevant issues, and actions you have taken since the accident such as providing a “recorded statement” to an insurance company. This is a great way to quickly communicate the basic facts leaving more time to discuss the legal aspects of the case and less time digging for details. Often times a personal injury attorney will ask you to complete a comprehensive intake questionnaire in advance of the legal consultation. If so, it is very important that the intake questionnaire be accurately and fully completed and brought to the consultation appointment.
What to Expect
- During the free legal consultation you should expect to:
- Answer questions about the accident or injury-causing incident. The goal is not to provide all of the detail needed to pursue the case, but to understand the basic facts of the case.
- Describe your injuries, medical treatments you have received, and the impact the accident and injuries have had on your life, job and family.
- Provide information about your insurance coverage.
- Provide a copy of the police report (if available).
- Ask questions about the lawyer’s experience and qualifications to determine if there is a good fit between you and the specific lawyer handling your case.
- Ask questions about the case: legal rights, strategy, issues, and potential case value.
- Review potential next step(s).
What are potential next steps?
Near the end of the consultation the potential client and attorney should review potential next steps. Here are typical next steps:
- You may need more information or time to consider your options before agreeing to proceed with legal representation. Even if you decide not to proceed with the relationship, you have had the benefit of an experienced attorney review your case.
- The lawyer may decline to take your case or refer you to another attorney. A lawyer may decline your case due to the lawyer’s case load, timing, or special requirements of the case might interfere with the lawyer’s ability to provide the most effective representation. There may also be certain facts or legal issues that negatively impact your case, its value and/or its chances of success.
- If both the prospective client and attorney agree there is a good fit, and they desire to proceed with legal representation, then the lawyer will usually generate a “Representation Agreement,” which defines the terms and scope of the relationship. The prospective client then signs the Representation Agreement and officially hires the personal injury attorney to pursue their case.
Setting up a Free Legal Consultation
To request a free legal consultation simply call 800-949-1481 or 503-610-0005, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or complete a request form defining your preferred contact information and accident description, and attorney Travis Mayor will contact you within 1 business day.