If you’re the victim of a car accident or if you’ve suffered a personal injury in another context, you’ll need to talk to a personal injury lawyer about your compensation. Most lawyers will be willing to extend a free consultation to you, but if you want the most out of this consultation and out of this relationship, you’ll need to know how to navigate this terrain.
Why You Should Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer
Why should you talk to a personal injury lawyer in the first place?
- You’ll gain more understanding. First, your lawyer will help you better understand the legal system, your case, and the details about your upcoming settlement. You’ll get a much better estimate for what you could potentially receive in the future and you’ll get a better overview of the laws that are relevant to this case.
- You’ll get better advice. Even more importantly, your lawyer is going to be able to give you much better advice than you could conjure on your own. They’ll help you figure out when it’s appropriate to negotiate, what kind of settlement you can expect, and the individual decisions you make between now and your eventual payout.
- You won’t have to pay anything (initially). Also, remember that your initial consultation is free. Most personal injury lawyers won’t charge you a fee if you don’t want a settlement; instead, your payments will be based on the amount of money you win. In other words, you have nothing to lose by talking to a lawyer.
Getting the Most Out of a Personal Injury Lawyer Consultation
So how can you get the most out of this consultation?
- Do your research. Before you go into the meeting, do some research on your own. If you have a better understanding of your current case, the law, and the average course of a personal injury case, you’ll be much better equipped to have a meaningful conversation and you’ll know which questions are most important to ask.
- Review the firm and the individual. Similarly, it’s a good idea to research both the firm and the individual you’re going to be speaking with. Does this practice have an area of specialty? How many years of experience does this lawyer have?
- Come prepared with information and evidence. It’s also wise to come to the consultation equipped with all the information and evidence you have available. Make sure you bring documentation of your medical bills, your previous medical appointments, written statements about the accident, communications from insurance companies, and pieces of evidence related to the accident, such as photos or videos. The more information you have initially, the smoother this process is going to go.
- Be totally honest. Some people are reluctant to tell the full and honest truth because they’re concerned about how it’s going to make them look or because they’re worried about how it’s going to affect the case. Put these fears aside and be totally honest with your lawyer; your lawyer is not going to judge you. They also need to know as much information as possible about you and the case if they’re going to do their best job.
- Listen carefully and take notes. Lawyers are professionals responsible for giving solid advice to their clients. Accordingly, you should make the most of this consultation by listening carefully and taking notes. The more you listen and learn, the more you’ll understand and the better equipped you’ll be to make better decisions.
- Ask for clarification. When appropriate, be sure to ask for clarification. Don’t hesitate to ask your lawyer to slow down or pause to ask questions about things you don’t understand. Your lawyer is there to help you understand these concepts. If they’re a skilled lawyer who values client relationships, they’ll be more than happy to pause the conversation and break down complex topics into smaller, more manageable pieces of content.
- Pay attention to relationship dynamics. Good client-lawyer relationships form the foundation of strong cases, so pay close attention to your relationship dynamics. Do the two of you seem to get along? Does your lawyer listen to your questions and provide you with clear and thorough answers? If not, you may be incentivized to shop around for a different lawyer, with whom you can establish much better communication practices.
If you follow these strategies and get the most out of your initial personal injury lawyer consultation, you’ll be in a much better position to win a larger settlement and feel better about the legal steps in front of you. Once you establish a good relationship and a good foundation with your lawyer, you’ll be much more comfortable in the processes to come.