What to Expect During Your First Meeting With a Personal Injury Attorney
After an accident injures you in Virginia, one of the most important things to do is schedule a free meeting with a Richmond personal injury lawyer near you. Most injury attorneys offer free initial consultations, where they will evaluate the facts of your case, answer any legal questions you have and let you know if you have grounds for a lawsuit. Prepare for your first meeting with a personal injury attorney with a few ideas as to what to expect.
Questions About Yourself and Your Accident
To obtain the most basic information about you and your case, a lawyer will ask you general questions. Be honest and share everything with the lawyer. He or she needs the complete truth to be able to represent you properly. First, the lawyer will ask to hear your accident story. Tell the attorney how your injuries happened. Then, answer any questions the lawyer may ask.
- What is your official injury diagnosis?
- What has your doctor said about treatments and recovery?
- How does your injury affect your daily life?
- What type of health and/or car insurance coverage do you have?
- Have you spoken to any representatives from an insurance company?
- Have you told anyone else about the accident? What did you say?
- Did anyone witness the accident?
Everything you tell an attorney will be 100% confidential through the attorney-client privilege. Arrive at your meeting prepared to answer questions about yourself, your accident, your injuries and your life after the accident. It is okay not to know an answer to a question from an attorney. The lawyer simply wants to obtain the essential facts of the case to provide the most accurate legal advice.
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A Review of Your Records and Documents
Show up to the meeting with as much documentation about your accident as possible. The lawyer will review documents and records you have for a better idea of what happened and who may be liable. Try to collect copies of key documents to bring to your initial meeting, such as the police report, other accident reports, a written description of the accident, your injury journal, medical records, pay stubs, photographs and eyewitness statements. The more evidence you can bring with you, the stronger your case will appear to the attorney.
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A Discussion About Legal Fees
Once you have established the facts of your case, bring up the subject of legal fees. Each law firm will charge clients differently. If you want the most affordable option, look for a personal injury attorney who takes cases on a contingency fee basis. This type of payment scheme means you will have no costs upfront if you wish to hire the lawyer. You will only pay if and when the attorney wins your personal injury case and obtains a financial award on your behalf. Then, you will pay the legal fees as a percentage of your settlement or jury verdict won. Asking about fees upfront, during your first meeting, can help you avoid payment surprises later.
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Hire or Do Not Hire the Lawyer
At the end of your first meeting with a personal injury lawyer, he or she will tell you if the law firm is the right fit for your case. Do not be discouraged if the lawyer turns down the chance to represent you. This does not mean another lawyer will not accept you. A lawyer may reject your case for reasons such as lack of practice area experience or conflicts of interest. Take your case to another injury attorney in Richmond for a second opinion.
If the lawyer does accept your case, you choose whether or not to retain him or her. Free consultations should never come with an obligation to hire the lawyer or law firm. You can leave your first meeting without making a decision if you wish to think about it or explore other options. If the attorney seems like a good fit to handle your case, retain the attorney by signing a representation agreement at the end of your first meeting. The lawyer will then start on your personal injury claim.
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