Preparing for Your First Meeting with Your Car Accident Attorney
Car accident cases aren’t as cut and dry as many people would like to think. Statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics show that only 61% of cases are successful.
You can improve your chances of being successful by ensuring that you hire a fantastic car accident attorney. Unlike other types of cases, personal injury cases allow you to hire a very good lawyer without worrying about the fees upfront. This is because many personal injury lawyers work on contingency.
The first meeting with your lawyer shouldn’t cost you a dime. You can therefore use this meeting as an opportunity to determine whether you want to proceed with this lawyer or not. Here’s how to prepare to ensure you get the most out of your initial meeting.
- Put together the relevant documents
Even if the lawyer has not told you to do so, it’s important to gather the relevant documents and present them to the lawyer in your initial meeting. Ensure that you carry all documents with information on the car accident and your injury. These may include:
- Photographs of the accident scene
- Police report copies
- Tickets related to the incident
- The contact information of the responsible party and any witnesses of the accident
- Information of the insurance company and the policy holder
- Your medical records
- Information about your health care provider
- Medical bills
- Proof that you’ve lost earnings applicable.
- Go through the facts of the accident
Your lawyer is likely to ask several questions about the accident and your claim. It is therefore important to have the facts clearly outlined in your mind. Try and recall all the details of the accident and what happened afterward.
- Research questions to ask the lawyer
The initial meeting is also a great opportunity for you to ask your attorney questions. These questions will help you determine whether you want to continue with this specific lawyer. Some questions to ask include:
- Their experience handling car accident cases
- Their success rate with car accident cases
- What other information they need
- What they will take as contingency fee
It is important to be honest with the lawyer in the initial meeting. This will help you determine just how well you can work with the lawyer.
Reviewing your initial meeting
When you’re done with the meeting, it’s time to review the outcome of the meeting. This is your time to decide whether the attorney is right for your case.
Keep the following in mind when making up your mind:
- A good lawyer will not guarantee you success in your case in the initial meeting
- A good lawyer won’t tell you how much to expect as compensation in the first meeting. They can only determine this after reviewing all the facts of the case. This means gathering information.
- A good lawyer will charge a reasonable fee for contingency. The average rate is between 30 – 40%. The lawyer should also inform you of expenses that will not be included in the contingency fee such as investigation fees.