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It’s a good idea to fully understand and remember what will help you and the personal injury attorney evaluating your case better understand it prior to your initial consultation so you come prepared. And if it does ease any tension you might have about meeting with a personal injury attorney to discuss your case, here is an explanation of what happens during an initial consultation – what questions you may be asked, what you may want to bring, and what may be expected of you should you decide to retain that personal injury attorney.
Firstly, the personal injury attorney evaluating your case will likely sit you down and thoroughly explain to you in a easily understandable way what a personal injury case is like (ie. how long it takes, what is involved in the process, what you should/should not do).
The personal injury attorney evaluating you case will likely ask some general questions about you. Questions may include what type of job you have, if you’ve been out of work due to your injury, if you have any dependents, etc.
You’ll likely be asked about any injuries you’ve had prior to the accident you were involved in. Prior injuries, especially if they are localized in the same area as the injury you sustained while in your accident, can become a defense against your personal injury claim. The claim may be made against you that your injury was neither due to your accident, and so the defendant is not liable for causing it. It’s important that your personal injury attorney knows about all injuries you’ve had prior to your accident. They’ll need to strategize a way to connect your current injury with the accident you were involved in.
You’ll be asked a series of questions related to your accident – what type of accident it was, where it occurred, how it occurred, etc. The personal injury attorney evaluating your case will need to have an overall understanding of your accident before he or she proceeds with more in-depth questions.
After understanding more about your accident, the personal injury attorney evaluating your case will ask you to talk about who was liable for your accident and how. This is where questions will get more specific. Damages will also be discussed in general. Damages can either be economic (lost wages & medical expenses) or non-economic (pain & suffering). These discussions will help the personal injury attorney evaluating your case better understand the value of your case. Monetary compensation for the damages you suffer will be directly proportionate to the defendant’s decided liability in your accident. You may still receive compensation even if you were a percentage at fault for your accident.
The personal injury attorney evaluating your case will ask if you have the names, addresses, phone numbers etc. of any witnesses to your accident. What they witnessed could prove invaluable to your case.
Your own account of the accident you were in is important to your case, but photographs may be even more so. For example, if you slipped and fell on an old, broken down staircase on another’s property, it’s important you take photographs of the stairwell directly after your incident so it can be documented that the staircase was in need of repair by the premises owner before your incident. Bring any photos you may have and a list of witnesses if there were any.
Bring a list of the names of doctors (as well as their addresses and phone numbers) who have treated you for both prior injuries (if any) and the injury that was a direct result of your incident.
The personal injury attorney evaluating your case will need a full explanation of what type of coverage you have under your insurance carrier. The reason they’ll ask for this information is because you may be due compensation for medical bills and lost wages from your own insurer, and it’s their job to obtain you as much compensation as you are entitled to from every available resource.
During your initial consultation, a personal injury attorney will describe their fee structure (their contingency fee), so you understand how this will affect the award you receive should they win.
If you choose to retain the personal injury attorney evaluating your case to represent you, you’ll be asked to sign some paperwork. You’ll sign a retainer agreement to hire them. You will also have to sign authorization paperwork so that your personal injury attorney can stay in contact with any medical providers who oversaw your treatment.