CHECKLIST: WHAT DO I BRING TO MY FIRST MEETING WITH A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER?Last updated on: October 21, 2022
Talking about the legal process after an injury can be overwhelming for a person without legal experience. A trained attorney who is experienced in navigating the legal system is an important resource to have. Staff members from Zinda Law Group are here to provide free case evaluations and explain how you can prepare for a meeting with an attorney.
If you’re going to talk to an attorney, you ought to make the most out of your time. Preparing includes gathering the right documents and taking notes about your injury case. This article serves as a checklist for what you will need when meeting with a personal injury attorney.
CHECKLIST: WHAT TO BRING
Meeting with an attorney to discuss your legal issues can seem daunting at first. However, a good lawyer can help you by carefully walking you through the legal process. To do that, the lawyer relies on the client to provide them with relevant information.
A lawyer’s ability to provide legal assistance relies on the information that the client provides. Before your first meeting with a lawyer consider bringing the following pieces of information with you.
The lawyer is required to obtain basic identification information from the client. You will need identification to fill in forms and to get your initial meeting. For this reason, it’s important to have at least one of the following:
- Driver’s license
- Government ID
- Social security card
WRITTEN STATEMENT REGARDING THE INCIDENT
As time passes after the accident, many details can be lost or forgotten. Having your present sense impressions in writing will help your memory, and it may also be used as evidence in your case.
EVIDENCE FROM THE ACCIDENT
If you have any evidence from the accident relating to what may have caused it, be sure to bring it for your attorney to review. Don’t worry if you do not have any evidence yet; part of the process your attorney will walk you through is investigating what happened. Relevant evidence includes:
- Doctor’s bills
- Documents from insurance companies
- Medical records
- Police reports
- Statements from yourself or others
COPIES OF RELEVANT INSURANCE POLICIES
If you are filing a claim regarding damage to insured property, it’s important to bring a copy of the insurance policy. If your property was damaged, determine whether it is insured and if so, bring the policy to your meeting.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT DURING MY FIRST MEETING WITH A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY?
The first meeting will function as the basis of a respectful working relationship should you decide to hire that attorney. Remember that the attorney works for you and is there to assist with anything regarding your case.
Part of knowing what to expect is understanding that each firm and attorney work differently when handling a case. Some attorneys have assistants that handle all the paperwork, while other attorneys may prefer that you come to them directly with your documents.
Be sure to establish a point of contact in case you need to reschedule or need information about aspects of your case. Also, ask when you can expect updates about the case and follow up with your attorney in case they are requesting more information from you.
Dressing appropriately shows that you take the legal process seriously. It’s often the case that victims have multiple legal options after their accident. Looking professional shows that you are taking your case seriously and the advice of the attorney seriously.
ARRIVE ON TIME
Meetings are usually scheduled after the free case evaluation. If you cannot make your appointment, call ahead to inform the attorney. Attorneys want to help you, but they aim to be concise because they have limited time.
BE PREPARED TO SHARE INFORMATION
Be ready to give your attorney some important information about yourself. You may have to start with sharing basic information such as your name, current address, and contact information. Your attorney may also ask you for details regarding your employment; this information is for client intake and is a basic screening to make sure there are no conflicts of interest for your attorney.
Once the attorney has confirmed that there are no conflicts of interest, he or she may then ask you to share more details about what happened and why you are there. Be prepared to share details about your injury and how it happened, where, and how long ago. Share as much detail with the attorney as possible; the more candid you can be with your attorney, the better he or she can help you.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT TO DISCUSS?
Many people are anxious to meet with an attorney after an accident. While your personal injury attorney will have a legal education and experience in injury claims, the information you provide helps them develop a road map for your case.
It’s crucial that you spend time contemplating your goals before filing a claim. By understanding your own goals with filing a claim and communicating those goals, you enable the attorney to move forward with that knowledge and align their actions with your wishes.
When meeting with an attorney for the first time, they are likely to ask about:
After an accident, everyone has their priorities. While some people are focused on recovery and want to wait to file a claim, others feel motivated to take legal action immediately. The attorney can help facilitate the client’s goals, but the client must decide how and when to move forward.
YOUR ACCIDENT STORY
Recounting the events that led to the accident can trigger a multitude of emotions, ranging from sadness to embarrassment to frustration. It’s important that you help your attorney understand what led to the accident as they will need that information to develop a legal strategy. Sharing this information upfront with your attorney and bringing any evidence to your meeting will lay the groundwork for success.
You should be prepared to provide:
- Your full name
- Work and home address
- Date and location of your accident
- The nature of your injuries
- Any previous injuries
BEST QUESTION TO ASK DURING FIRST MEETING
Every client has questions about their personal injury case, settlement negotiations, and about potential outcomes. It’s best to write down your questions and bring them with you. Having your questions ready will help ensure that each of them is answered and you know what to expect.
Each case is different, but these types of questions can help you understand the factual and legal issues with your case:
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of my case?
- Is it likely that I’ll get the outcome I’m looking for?
- Who else will be working on the case?
- How long will the controversy last?
An experienced attorney can help identify obvious issues and problems that are common to personal injury suits. With this knowledge, they can help you work toward the outcome that you want from filing an injury claim.
HOW TO DECIDE IF THIS LAWYER IS RIGHT FOR YOU
When you are looking for an attorney, you have to think about the needs of your case. For example, if the person who hit your car was drunk, you would want an attorney who specializes in car accidents involving DUI. In other words, you want to get an attorney with experience in handling similar cases.
FIND AN ATTORNEY
Do some research about your case and look for an attorney that specializes in their legal practice on the relevant issue. Check their website to see if they have information regarding their experience with lawsuits and settlements. If you’ve worked with a lawyer in the past, it’d be helpful to ask them for a recommendation if they don’t practice personal injury law themselves.
ASK THE ATTORNEY ABOUT THEIR BACKGROUND
The lawyer should be honest about their skill level and whether they have handled cases similar to yours. Forming and maintaining a strong, professional relationship with your attorney will make it easier for both you and the attorney to handle your case.
When you’re at your first meeting with your attorney, consider asking about their background; not only do you want to get a good idea of whether they are experienced in this area of law, but you want to make sure that you can work together with the attorney.
NEED HELP? CONTACT ZINDA LAW GROUP TODAY
Zinda Law Group’s experienced personal injury attorneys can assess the facts of your case, explain your legal options, and discuss the viability of your case. The person who caused the accident should be held accountable for their failure. With the help of an attorney, you can build a strong case against the responsible party.
For a free consultation with a personal injury attorney from Zinda Law Group call (800) 863-5312. Additionally, we offer a ‘No Win, No Fee’ guarantee, which means that you won’t pay anything unless we achieve a favorable outcome for your case.