When you meet your personal injury attorney for the first time after you've been injured in an accident that wasn't your fault, you understandably will have questions. Your first meeting will likely be the initial consultation or the follow-up to that consultation, where your lawyer will find out more about your case, any necessary details, and more about your situation in general.
You may be asked to bring in pertinent paperwork and documents, as well as any photographic evidence of the incident you may have been able to capture. The first meeting is vital because it allows your attorney to get a clear understanding of what happened to you and what their goal will be when they represent you, but also to explain the process of what's to come next and address your concerns.
To maximize your time spent during this initial meeting, here are four questions you may consider asking:
1. What's your experience handling cases like this?
This question is essential. You don't want to hire a lawyer who has experience with mostly criminal law cases, for example, when you're seeking representation for a car accident. The type of answer they give you, as well as the details they include, are also crucial. You're looking for a genuine answer, one that reassures you they have your back and have the experience to represent you to their best abilities.
2. What is my case's chance of success?
This is somewhat of a loaded question — and one that will gauge the integrity levels of your attorney. Personal injury case success is generally never guaranteed, so if your lawyer guarantees success or says your case will be "easy", this may be a red flag. Complications can always arise in lawsuits. A lawyer who admits that fact yet is able to overcome any complications they may face is inherently one that you can trust to go the extra mile.
3. What's the process of filing this lawsuit going to look like?
Your attorney should answer this question with as much detail as you want to hear. Again, watch out for an attorney that tries to rush you through the interview process and simplify this answer to the point where you feel it wasn't answered.
4. How will we communicate, and how often?
This question gauges how attentive your attorney will be to your case and how you'll stay in touch. You never want to hire an attorney who keeps you in the dark. Ensure they update you as your case proceeds and that they'll be available to answer any questions you may have along the way. They should be making the effort to make a personal connection to provide peace of mind.
Your first meeting with your personal injury attorney should be one that eases your mind and gives you a sense of relief. By asking these questions, you'll ideally receive that relief. If not, you may want to speak with another law firm. Remember, they're there to help you — not the other way around.