It’s a big step to contact a lawyer for legal assistance if you feel you’re entitled to compensation (and justice) after someone or something has hurt you or someone you love. Lawyers can be intimidating. They are highly educated, intelligent, confident and assertive. Those sound like great qualities to possess, but if you are easily intimidated, you may find a personal injury attorney’s approach a bit too much. That’s OK. A tough lawyer is a good lawyer—usually.
If you’re looking for a personal injury lawyer who will fight hard for your case and not give up until you get the justice and compensation you deserve, you will want a fighter on your side. But how should you prepare for meeting this educated, confident, assertive, possibly intimidating person who’s going to be a big part of your life for the next several months – and maybe even for the next few years? You prepare by getting your ducks in a row, having realistic expectations and feeling comfortable with your claim.
How Do I Prepare for the Initial Consultation?
When you meet with your personal injury lawyer for the initial consultation, the more information you have the better. But you don’t want to have a bunch of non-essential clutter that will bog down your lawyer and waste everyone’s time.
How do you know what’s important?
How do you weed out the clutter?
Start, by doing your research online and ask your lawyer’s team what you should bring to the consultation.
- Your attorney’s team will tell you to bring any photos of the car accident. If a defective product hurt you or if you were injured at a construction site, photos are key pieces of evidence as well. Photos are extremely helpful because they help tell the story of your injury. They show the situation immediately following the incident and may also show the extent of your injuries.
- Bring any bills associated with your claim including bills for medical equipment, visits to medical professionals’ offices, transportation costs, rental equipment and the like. Bring in any and all proof (receipts) of any money you have spent because of your accident, injury or loved one’s death.
- Create a timeline of your accident and injury and include as many details that you can remember. Memories fade over time, so be sure to jot down the details of your accident the day it happened. Even if you’re not sure about suing the night of your car accident, you may want to file a claim in a few days; your timeline notes will help your attorney understand what happened.
- Bring any communication with the other party that you have collected since the incident. Everything from a text message to a signed document from an insurance company all may be pertinent to you case. Let your lawyer decide what he or she needs for your case.
- Prepare a list of questions for your personal injury attorney because you may be too overwhelmed at the time of the consultation to think of everything you should ask. It’s very common to ask questions regarding how strong your case is, how long the whole personal injury claim process takes, how much you stand to receive if you win, will you have to testify, and how will it affect your life, in general, to proceed with legal action.
Your personal injury attorney will be able to look through your information during the consultation and give you an idea of what to expect.
One very important thing to keep in mind is that you must feel comfortable and safe with your lawyer, and you need to be confident in his ability to help you.
If you have reservations, don’t ignore them. There are plenty of lawyers out there who are able to hear the details of your case and advise you on how best to proceed.