If you were injured in a car accident and are planning to meet with a personal injury lawyer, you want to be prepared so that you can make the best use of your time -- and the lawyer's time, although keep in mind that the first meeting shouldn't cost you anything, so the lawyer's time is not your money.
The important things that you can do to prepare for your first meeting are:
Let's take a closer look at each of these steps.
The relevant documents and information in a car accident case include the following:
You should definitely bring these documents to your meeting if you have them. Your lawyer can certainly get all of this information in his/her investigation, but bringing these documents to your lawyer up front, if you have them, saves your lawyer time and keeps him/her from having to reinvent the wheel and get documents and information that may already be in your possession.
Any lawyer that you meet with will ask you numerous questions about your claim. He/she will ask you detailed questions about how the accident happened and will ask about your injury, pain and suffering, medical history, medical treatment, work history, educational background, and lost earnings, among other things. If your accident was anything more complicated than a simple rear end collision, you should review in your own mind exactly how the accident happened so that you can be prepared to answer all of the lawyer's questions about what happened.
There will undoubtedly be things that you want to know from the lawyer. You should write your questions down to make sure to ask them all. Things you might want to know from a prospective lawyer can include the following:
Keep in mind that there are some things that a lawyer won't be able to tell you at that first meeting. He/she may not be able to tell you what the weaknesses in your case are, for example. The lawyer may not know that until he/she looks at all of the documentation.
This is very important. A good lawyer will not know how much a car accident case is worth until he/she looks at all of the information and data in the case. The insurance adjusters refuse to talk money until they have all of the information; it is no different for plaintiff's lawyers. Be wary of any lawyer who would tell you on the phone or at the first meeting how much your case is worth.
What are you looking for in a lawyer? Do you think that you're going to need someone who is going to tell what is going on every step of the way? Or do you think that you'll be satisfied to leave it all to the lawyer and just let him/her pursue your case and tell you when there's an offer? All lawyers are different. Some great lawyers do not have particularly good social skills. And of course some great communicators are just average lawyers. You have to decide what is more important to you.