How to Prepare for the First Meeting With a Personal Injury LawyerOctober 5, 2023
Your first meeting with a personal injury attorney can be eye-opening and empowering. This is your opportunity to get answers and advice about a potential claim. It can also be your chance to find out more about your rights, liability, and the available damages.
With that, your first meeting with a personal injury attorney can serve as a pivotal step toward justice while enlightening you on how a lawyer can provide crucial help along the way.
To help you get the most out of this meeting, this guide explains:
- Why it’s important to consult with a personal injury lawyer
- 10 items to bring to your first meeting with a personal injury attorney (if possible)
- 6 tips to prepare for an initial meeting with a personal injury lawyer
- 10 questions to ask in your first meeting with a personal injury attorney
When you’re ready to set up an initial meeting with an experienced personal injury attorney, a call or email (or even a chat) is all it takes to get started.
Why Consult with a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Whether you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident or traumatic event, meeting with a personal injury attorney can be invaluable. That’s because injured folks won’t necessarily be able to rely on the information they get from insurance companies or others involved in the incident. Instead, accident victims can be on their own, left to figure out the legal options while they’re trying to heal and make sense of the trauma they’ve endured.
Consulting with a personal injury attorney can change all of that, connecting victims with crucial support and essential insights about a possible claim.
In fact, when it comes to first meetings with personal injury attorneys, here are a few key facts to be aware of:
- You can generally meet with personal injury attorneys at zero cost: Reputable personal injury lawyers generally offer free consultations. These meetings are confidential, and they do not obligate you to hire a lawyer. Instead, they serve as an initial case evaluation for you and an attorney to dig into an event and look at the legal options available.
- The sooner you meet with a personal injury lawyer, the better: Time to file a case is limited. Plus, more potential evidence and/or witnesses will typically be available shortly after an injury-causing incident. If you take prompt action to meet with an attorney, that lawyer can act quickly to investigate the incident and gather as much evidence as possible before it disappears.
- The more prepared you are, the more you’ll get out of this initial meeting: If you’re able to bring more items and information with you, you can share that with the lawyer and get more detailed responses. That could fast-track the kickoff of a claim while putting victims on stronger footing as they get their case underway.
10 Items to Bring to Your First Meeting with a Personal Injury Attorney
You don’t have to bring a bunch with you to an initial meeting with a personal injury lawyer. Seasoned attorneys can track down key information and evidence for a specific claim.
Nevertheless, bringing as many of these items as you can will generally be helpful:
- Accident scene photos
- Any videos you recorded right after the wreck
- A copy of the police report for the accident, if applicable
- A copy of any other incident reports, if applicable
- Medical records and/or any bills related to emergency treatments or diagnoses
- Doctors’ notes related to physical limitations or treatment plans
- Any documents, letters, emails, or other items from any involved insurance company
- Names and contact information for any witnesses to the accident
- Debris you may have related to the accident, like broken or damaged personal property (e.g., eyeglasses, cellphones, helmets, etc.)
- Any other items or potential evidence related to the injury-causing incident
These items can give personal injury lawyers a closer look at the incident and its impacts. From here, attorneys can start to piece together a clearer picture of fault, as well as what other evidence may be out there and where to start looking for it.
6 Tips to Prepare for an Initial Meeting with a Personal Injury Lawyer
You don’t have to take a lot of time to prep for a first meeting with a personal injury attorney. These simple steps can help you get ready and get more out of a consultation:
- Be ready to talk about the accident or injury-causing event in detail. It can be helpful to talk about the event with someone you trust before you meet with an attorney, so all of the details are fresh in your mind.
- Be ready to discuss your medical history and the medical care you’ve received since the accident.
- Be prepared to be honest. You won’t get anywhere by misrepresenting the truth to your lawyer. And that could even end up backfiring in some ways. So, come in with the facts, even if they don’t seem to totally favor you at first.
- Expect to answer some questions. After hearing about your situation, a personal injury attorney may have follow-up questions that dig a little deeper into issues like fault, your injuries, or the damages. So, anticipate an interview-style discussion after explaining how you were injured.
- Ask someone you trust to attend the meeting with you. This friend or family member can offer support and a little comfort while giving you another perspective. Another person can also ask questions you may not have considered and be another pair of ears in the room for you.
- Write down your questions before the meeting, so you don’t forget to ask the attorney anything you’d like to get answers about.
Many established personal injury attorneys offer initial consultations in person and virtually to make it as easy as possible for victims and families to get the information they need ASAP.
10 Questions to Ask in Your First Meeting with a Personal Injury Attorney
If you don’t know what to ask a personal injury lawyer, don’t worry. The questions below are a good starting point for getting a better feel for any attorney and figuring out whether you’re comfortable moving forward with that professional.
- Do you handle cases exactly like mine? If so, what’s your success rate with those?
You don’t want an attorney who’s new to cases like yours or who doesn’t understand what it takes to win them.
- Will you handle my case from start to finish? Or will my case be passed off to someone else, like a non-attorney staff member?
Reputable personal injury attorneys typically oversee cases from start to finish, instead of handing them off after the intake. Make sure you’re retaining a lawyer who will stay by your side from step one through the resolution of your case.
- How will you keep me informed about my case?
Your case won’t be resolved overnight, and you’ll want a lawyer you can trust to follow up with you and be proactive about keeping you in the loop.
- How often will I get case updates moving forward?
Will you hear from your lawyer or the law firm weekly or monthly? Or only when there’s a new development or decision to be made? What if you reach out to the firm for answers — how long will it take for you to hear back and who will respond to your inquiries? The best personal injury lawyers tend to take pride in being accessible and responsive to their clients, so keep an ear out for how available and communicative an attorney may be during your first meeting with them.
- Who will make decisions about my case going forward?
You can and should retain the right to make the choices in your case, so be wary of any lawyer who doesn’t make this clear from the go.
- What will you do to get my case started?
A good response will detail specific steps, why they matter, and how they fit into the bigger picture of your case. You may want to follow this question up with another about what generally happens with cases like yours, so you have a basic understanding of what to expect from the process.
- What’s my case worth and what type of damages am I entitled to?
While a lawyer may not be able to spit out an exact number, an experienced accident and injury attorney can speak to damages in detail, based on how you were hurt and who may be at fault.
- Will my case go to trial? If so, what can I expect from you and your team?
Most cases don’t go to trial, but you need to know if an attorney is prepared to go trial if it does come to that. Trial is a whole different ballgame than settling out of court, and the best personal injury attorneys will have experience with both trial and out-of-court settlement negotiations.
- What are your fees and when are they due?
Personal injury attorneys generally work on contingency. That means there are no fees if there’s no recovery for a case. Beyond that industry standard, make sure an attorney has a clear fee schedule, so there are no surprises about how that lawyer gets paid for their services.
- How can I get more answers if I have additional questions?
This is an opportunity for lawyers to stand apart and show you how they are different than their competitors. Listen for thoughtful answers that prioritize your needs. That can be a hallmark of attorneys and law firms truly intent on providing white glove service in the pursuit of justice.
Find Out More Now in a Free Consultation
Whenever you’re ready to find out more about a potential case, an experienced personal injury lawyer in Texas is here, ready to help. There’s no reason to put off this meeting if you or someone you love has been hurt in a car crash, an 18-wheeler wreck, a work accident, or any traumatic event that may have involved negligence.
Initial consultations are 100% free and confidential, and they can highlight the path to justice.