Trying to find the right lawyer to handle your case can be an intimidating experience to go through. A quick online search for a free attorney consultation for auto accidents can yield a large pool of attorneys to sort through.
There are over 1.3 million lawyers in America, which is an overwhelming number of people. So how do you find the right attorney, and how do you prepare for your initial attorney consultation?
Please continue reading below to find out! There is no need to be afraid when you speak with your potential lawyer! This attorney consultation article will go over ways to best prepare you for your first meeting and who you can call for more information.
What Is the Purpose of an Attorney Consultation?
The primary purpose of an attorney consultation is to understand the facts of your case better and to see if the working relationship is a good fit. There are attorneys that offer consultations for a fee, and there are others that provide them for free. During the meeting, the attorney most likely won’t offer legal advice or answer specific legal questions, but they can see if your case is worth taking on.
What Happens During the Consultation?
When you meet with the lawyer, they will ask you to give them a general idea of what is going on with your case. They won’t need the entire story but a brief synopsis of what happened and why you need a lawyer. For example, if you’ve been involved in an auto accident, you can just tell them that you were involved in an auto accident, you sustained injuries, and you need help with the claims process.
From there, the lawyer will provide you with the best legal options for your case and if they can help you. They also should be able to tell you how successful or not your lawsuit will be and the amount of work needed to achieve your legal goals.
Questions To Ask During Your Attorney Consultation
Going into the consultation may seem like an intimidating experience, but you must remember that you are the one with the most control. When you go into the consultation, it is best to come armed with some questions to keep the conversation flowing. Of course, more questions may arise when you’re in the meeting, so keep an open mind.
What Are the Strengths and Weaknesses of My Case?
Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your case is a great way to gauge the success of your claim. Of course, even the weaknesses of your case can help make the case.
Once your lawyer identifies the disadvantages, they can turn them into strengths and build the right case for you. If there are any risks or hurdles your case will have to go through, your auto accident attorney will help you understand how to best handle them. Of course, the best way to mitigate any issues is to reach out to an attorney early in the claims process.
What Is the Cost of Your Services?
Each attorney has their own payment schedule for how much they charge for their services. Some ask their clients to pay a set amount per hour, whereas others charge a flat rate.
For personal injury cases, most lawyers charge per hour. If you are concerned about payment, ask the lawyer if they are willing to handle your case on a contingency fee basis.
This means that they do not collect any payment unless you win your case. Even if you win, you don’t need to pay anything out of your own pocket. Instead, the attorney will deduct their fees from the final settlement check.
Will Anyone Else Work on My Case?
An attorney has a team of paralegals and other professionals that they use to follow up on your claim and perform maintenance tasks. It also is not uncommon for an attorney to use an associate to handle some other parts of the claim.
Make sure you ask your lawyer who else will handle your claim. If they say someone else will co-counsel the case, ask if you can also meet that person.
It is a major red flag if your lawyer claims the associate will handle more work than they will. Most associates are less experienced attorneys that work under the leading attorney.
How Often Will You Be Available?
It is best to ask the lawyer about their overall general availability. An attorney with insufficient availability to handle your case is not an excellent attorney to partner with.
This most likely means that they have other cases that demand more of their attention. This is not fair for you and your case.
If you have to take time to meet with your lawyer to accommodate to meet, it is best to know this upfront. In general, a reputable attorney will do their best to work within their schedule and around yours.
What Is the Outcome of My Case?
A good attorney won’t outright tell you the outcome of your claim because there are several variables they have to consider. If you come across a lawyer that claims they can win you a large amount of money quickly, you should seek counsel elsewhere. The right attorney will give you a realistic estimate based on the facts of your case and their experience trying claims similar to yours.
What To Bring for Your Attorney Consultation
Like with any meeting you have in life, you want to come prepared with documents. Gather documents relevant to your case and make copies of them so you can keep the originals and leave the copies with the attorney if they decide to take on your case.
Documents to gather:
- Police report (if applicable)
- Photos of the accident
- Audio recordings
- Video recordings
It is best to speak with your attorney if a recording is legal in your state. Depending on the type of recording you have, you may or may not be able to use it if your state does not allow recordings.
Before you go to the meeting, make sure to also bring a notebook with you. This way, if you have any information you need to write down, you have a pen and paper ready to go. Of course, most attorneys have pens and paper they can provide you as well.
Bring a Friend or Family Member
Going into the consultation on your own can be an intimidating experience. If you would like to, you can bring a trusted friend or family member to accompany you during the consultation.
The lawyer must keep strict attorney-client confidentiality, so if you bring someone with you, it is best to have them stay in the waiting area. In the event that you say something incriminating during the consultation and you have someone else present when you have this consultation, there is a chance your loved one could be subpoenaed to testify against what you said.
Leave Your Cell Phone
If you must bring your cell phone into the consultation, make sure you silence it before you meet with the lawyer. This will help minimize distractions or interruptions while discussing your case.
How To Choose the Right Lawyer for Your Claim
If you decide to interview several different lawyers, you may wonder how you’re going to choose the right one. That choice is ultimately up to you, so there are a few things you should look out for.
You want to make sure you work with a reputable attorney who has experience handling personal injury cases similar to yours. The best attorney will have experience handling auto-related accidents regardless if the accident is a motorcycle loss, passenger vehicle loss, or an accident with a semi-truck.
Be sure to steer clear of any lawyers who handle criminal law, tax law, or family law. They may have their lawyers’ licenses, but they don’t have experience with cases like yours.
Down to Earth
Although an attorney is someone with experience and knowledge of the law, they should not act pompous or look down on you because of their accolades. When in your consultation, your attorney should speak with you in a way that makes sense.
You want to work with a down to earth attorney who seeks to help you understand the legalities of your case instead of throwing large law terms at you. You also want a lawyer who is honest with you.
As mentioned earlier, any lawyer who claims they can win you a lot of money in a short amount of time is not a good attorney. They should be open and honest about your case and the steps needed to bring the case to closure.
Check Their Reviews
Another great place to look, even after meeting with the lawyer, is their reviews. Your initial meeting may give you a general feel of how the working relationship will be, but you may want to do a little more digging before you sign any papers.
Using websites like Avvo or Better Business Bureau are great resources to gain more insight. Pay attention to what clients did not particularly care for and where the attorney shined.
If there are any comments about infrequent communication or trouble getting a hold of their lawyer, there could be a massive communication issue. That is a red flag. You should at least hear back from your attorney within a reasonable time.
Ask for Referrals
Hopefully, your friends or family members did not have to hire an attorney because of an accident, but if they have, you can reach out to them for some help. Please make sure the attorney they partnered with handles personal injury claims related to auto accidents.
As mentioned earlier, there are several different levels of law, so you want to make sure you work with the right one. Everyone has a different relationship with their attorney, so don’t be discouraged if you and the recommended attorney don’t click. Don’t feel like you have to use that attorney just because your family recommended them.
Should I Hire an Attorney?
Hiring a lawyer to handle your auto accident claim is an excellent idea. Although you don’t necessarily need them to file a claim, it helps to have them on your side. Not only do they handle the entire claims process for you, but they make sure to fight for the compensation you deserve.
When you handle the claim on your own, auto adjusters are more inclined to deploy specific tactics to make you accept an offer less than what you deserve. If you present them with your lawyer’s information, they know they can’t use those same tactics. Instead, they have to fairly negotiate your claim because your attorney knows what your case is worth, and there is no way your lawyer will accept less than you deserve.
Speak With a Knowledgeable Auto Accident Attorney Today
The attorney consultation process may seem intimidating since you are going to speak with a law professional, but there is no need to panic. Auto accident lawyers are there for you and want to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Coming prepared with questions and documents from your claim is a great way to ensure you get all your concerns answered. If you have an auto accident claim you need assistance with, and you need to speak with an attorney about your options, contact us. We offer free no, obligation consultations.