You’ve been in an accident, and the next thing on your to-do list is contacting a personal injury lawyer. It’s not something you’re excited about, but it’s a necessary step in your recovery process.
Understandably, you want to find the right attorney for your specific case. But it’s hard to know what to look for when you’ve never been down this road before.
The most important thing to keep in your mind as you schedule “free consultations” and analyze potential law firms is that communication is key.
If you’re not upfront with the personal injury lawyer, it’s harder for them to decide if they can represent you. On the other hand, you should feel like the attorney you’re talking to is on your side and will be approachable and communicative throughout your case.
Before you visit another lawyer, read through these tips. They’ll help you understand how to communicate effectively with your legal representative and what to expect from them, as well.
1. Come Prepared to Answer Questions
Imagine that your consultation is like a two-sided interview. You’re there to decide if you think the attorney has the knowledge and experience to represent you. They’re there to determine if you have a strong enough case for them to take on and if it’s in their scope of practice.
Both of your schedules are valuable. When you prepare what you’ll say before you go to the appointment, the person you’re speaking to can let you know quickly whether they can take your case or not.
The attorney will ask questions that aren’t intended to be accusatory or point fingers at you. They’re designed to flesh out details that might not be in the official records.
Have the police report, your medical records, and any other related documents in your possession. You might want to keep them in a file because it will be easier for you to access them throughout the case.
2. Be Clear About the Picture
When you first start talking, be clear about the picture, getting from A to Z as quickly as possible without digressing. The details will come out as the discussion continues if you both agree that you want to work together.
As you talk to the lawyer, you’ll be going over what happened during the accident, but they’ll mainly need to know certain specifics, like:
- The names of the other parties involved and, if it was a car accident, whether they were driving personal or work vehicles
- Your description of the accident and what you were doing right before it occurred
- Who or what you believe is to blame for the incident
- What your injuries were, and how your recovery process is going
- Any other negative consequences to your life you’ve noticed since the accident
Experienced attorneys like JT Legal Group suggest you don’t answer these questions if an insurance adjuster asks them. However, your attorney is on your side. Answer the questions openly and honestly. Everything you discuss is confidential, even in a consultation.
3. Always Ask Your Questions and Expect a Timely Response
The attorney-client relationship can often feel like a principal-student one until you get to know each other better. But it doesn’t have to be like that. You should feel comfortable asking any questions you have, and they should answer them directly.
However, you might not be happy with the answers you receive. If you’re dissatisfied and you think the personal injury lawyer is incorrect, you’re always welcome to seek out a second opinion.
As your case progresses, you’ll have other questions you want to ask. Find out during the consultation how you’re supposed to communicate when you have something to say. Some law firms use assistants, while others request you email them directly.
Either way, a good attorney is rarely at their desk. They’re in court or mediation, dealing with clients, and handling other legal issues. If the matter is urgent, contact their assistant. Otherwise, leave a message. It’s not unreasonable to receive a response within 24 to 48 hours.
While your personal injury case is ongoing, you will have many interactions with the law firm you hire. Your relationship with your personal injury lawyer and their staff can make a difference in how your case progresses.
It’s better to find out during the consultation whether you’re comfortable with the people you’ll be working with or not. There is an attorney out there that you can trust. How you communicate early will help you find them and ensure the best chances of success with your lawsuit.
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