What to prepare for your first meeting with a personal injury lawyer
Once you have selected a personal injury lawyer to help you with your case, they will usually get the train into motion by scheduling an initial consultation with you.
Your personal injury lawyer would already have a brief about your case based on the initial touchpoints during the selection process. However, this meeting will deep-dive into your entire situation, formulate the following steps, and align the compensation objectives.
When your lawyer sets up an initial meeting with you, you need to take the time to prepare for this too. This ensures that you make the most of the time you have, and it also provides you have all the necessary information readily prepared to give to the lawyer.
Here’s how to prepare for your first meeting.
Step 1: Gather all your documents
According to the Harrell and Harrell website, there will be many documents that your lawyer would need concerning your case. This helps them assess the amount of compensation you deserve, and it also helps them plan the right strategy to win.
Here are some of the most important documents that you would need:
- A copy of the accident report
- A copy of police reports made
- Photographs of the accident site
- Photographs of your injury
- Doctor’s assessments, medical reports and medical bills
- Bills for the pharmacy, therapist and any other expenses related to your injury
- Document showing missed days from work
- Witness statements you have obtained
- Health or mobile insurance
- Documentation of communication you’ve had with your insurance company and other parties
If you cannot get any of these documents, let your attorney know so that they can help you get them. In your initial meeting, these will be documents requested by your lawyer, so if you already have it on hand, it makes the discussion process move along much faster.
Step 2: Make a list of questions you want to ask
You probably have plenty of questions to ask our lawyer, and that’s a good thing. Even if some of your questions were answered during the selection process, it’s always good to keep asking to clarify any doubts you may have. After all, you’re not a legal professional, and you may not have any form of legal expertise to guide you through this whole process.
This is the job of your personal injury lawyer to ensure you have all the data, facts and information at hand, so you know what’s going to take place each step of the way.
Step 3: Take notes of the details of your case
It can be an overwhelming judicial process to go through. You may still be in the process of healing from your injury and having to deal with lawyers and documents makes the process even more daunting. One way to make it slightly more manageable is to take notes of the details of your case.
Sometimes, a secretary representing the attorney’s office would take notes for both parties, so this can be one of the questions you can ask your lawyer.
If taking notes on your own helps you make sense of the entire process, this is encouraged. Your attorney is obligated to keep all information discussed confidentially, so feel free to share as much information as possible to help your case. You may think it may not matter, but no detail is too insignificant to a lawyer.
If there were anyone else involved when the accident occurred, make sure to get them to provide a written description of the event. They might have details that you don’t remember or some facts that you can’t. Share any information as you can and let your attorney decide if it can be used or not.
Step 4: Request copies
Good lawyers like reeplaw.com always ensure that their clients are kept in the loop. This means making sure they are up to speed with the progress of the case, briefing them if there are any changes, and giving clients a copy of records for their keeping. For any meetings, you go to, or any documentation needed during the entire judicial process, make sure to request duplicates to be made for you to keep.
In your initial meeting, ask your lawyer how copies will be made and given to clients. When both parties have copies of records and documentation, this ensures that nothing goes missing and there’s always check and balance on both sides.
Step 5: Bring someone with you for support
Initial meetings can be an overwhelming and daunting experience, especially if this is your first meeting with a lawyer. Sometimes, bringing a friend or relative can help you feel more assured and confident. Most attorneys do not have a problem with this, especially in the initial consultation.
After that, the person accompanying you may need to sign a non-disclosure agreement to ensure that anything discussed between you and your lawyer is not leaked. This is because attorney-client confidentiality does not extend to a person not involved in the proceedings. If you are bringing someone with you, make sure they can be trusted and are on your side.
Step 6: Pay Attention to your Intuition
Your gut instinct is one of your best compasses in helping you in almost anything you do in life. If you don’t feel satisfied with the answers given or the way your attorney handles your case, the best time to leave is in the initial stages.
Sometimes, your initial meeting may not go on as planned. You want an attorney that will treat you with respect and ensure that you are involved in every step of the judicial process for your case. If you feel otherwise, you need to cut the cord with them.
Nobody wants to be part of a meeting with an attorney for a personal injury case. However, this is the best way to ensure that you are represented well and compensated with what you deserve. Planning and preparing ahead of time is always good, even if your lawyer is on top of things.