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What Happens at a Free Consultation with a Personal Injury Lawyer?

When someone is seriously injured, and it is someone else’s fault, it is a good idea to see if taking legal action is the right course of action. For the majority of people in this situation, they have never done something like this before and have little to no idea on what is involved in pursuing a personal injury claim. As it is, an accident is very troubling and is a heavy burden physically, emotionally and financially. Personal injury law firms understand this and that is why many of them offer free consultations to those who are interested in pursuing a personal injury case.

The purpose for offering a free consultation is to provide a no-obligation opportunity for people to get insight on what the process would be like to ultimately gain that financial compensation for the losses as a result of their accident. This also gives the attorney more insight into your specific situation to see if he or she is able to build a case for you. Additionally, you are able to gauge whether or not this specific attorney as well as the firm as a whole is who you want representing you for your claim. Some law firms pass on cases to junior partners or associates whom you have never met. It is really a good idea to make sure you know who in particular is representing you, and this is something you can find out on your initial consultation.

What Should I Bring to my Initial Consultation?

Since the goal of a consultation is for both the client and attorney to decide if pursuing a personal injury claim with their law firm is the best course of action, the more information you have available the easier it will be to make that decision. You really don’t need to bring anything, but these items can be really useful and you would want to bring if you are able. Helpful items you can bring to your initial consultation are as follow:

  • Copies of police reports or incident reports connected to your incident
  • Copies of records as well as bills from all medical providers that treated your injuries since your accident, including emergency medical services, physicians, and physical therapists>
  • Documentation from medical providers that detail a diagnosis/prognosis of your injury
  • Any information from insurance companies that detail their coverage of your medical bills
  • Any documentation of missed work (due to your injury) and the income you’ve lost due to missed work
  • A list of important dates, such as your date of injury, dates of surgeries you needed performed, and dates of medical treatment
  • If you’ve experienced emotional distress since your incident and required professional counselling as a result, bring documentation with the names and phone numbers of your therapist or psychiatrist and copies of documents detailing how much they’ve billed you, and dates you were treated
  • Copies of claims that have been filed in connection with your accident (such as the No-Fault application)
  • Any photographs you may have taken related to the incident, such as images of the scene, property damage, your injury, and anything that may be relevant to your claim or serve as photographic evidence
  • Journal entries describing the emotional and psychological impact your accident, treatment, and the pain you’re enduring from your injury

What Should I Do Before the Initial Consultation?

There are many personal injury law firms out there. You might be unsure with who to decide to represent you for your injury. This is why it is also good to be selective even before going on your consultation and do research about the firm beforehand. Initially, you would want to choose someone fairly local, whether it be in your town or county, because they are knowledgeable in both the laws of the local area as well as the judges, court system and jurors.

Additionally, you want to hire an attorney with a good reputation and with good results. In the online world, it is easy to look up reviews on various law firms. Google, Avvo, Facebook and are all sources to find attorney reviews. Take some time to actually read the reviews rather than look at the star rating. You are better able to discern the personality of both the attorney and the firm’s staff. Additionally, many law firms have a website that will show their case results. Since the goal of a personal injury claim is to receive financial compensation, a firm that yields high results is another good indicator of their adequacy in representing you for your injury.

About the Author

Steven Palermo is the managing partner for Palermo Law, Long Island’s Personal Injury Law Firm. He has been helping people receive compensation for their injuries for over 21 years. He focuses on cases involving car accidents, truck accidents, construction accidents and slip and fall injuries.

His book The Ultimate Guide to Handling New York Car Accident Claims details the ins and outs of a car accident claim in a simple, easy-to-read manner.