9 Things You Should Know About a Free Lawyer Consultation
Ryan Bradley | July 6, 2021 | Personal Injury
Like many personal injury attorneys, our Missouri personal injury attorneys offer free consultations to discuss accident and injury claims. The purpose of these consultations is to give you access to experienced legal counsel so that you can make informed decisions about your case.
We understand that you might have questions about the free lawyer consultation. So, below are nine things to know about your first visit to our law firm.
1. Bring Documents Related to Your Accident or Injury
Gather all documents related to your accident and injuries. Documents you should bring to your free consultation include, but are not limited to:
- Accident reports or crash reports
- Copies of medical records, bills, and statements
- Health insurance, car insurance, and liability insurance information
- Copies of all documents received from the insurance company or other party
- Names and contact information for any eyewitnesses
- Information related to loss of income
- Receipts, invoices, and other records related to financial losses or expenses, including personal care, help with household chores, travel expenses, etc.
You may want to create folders for each type of document (i.e., medical records, accident reports, etc.) to help you keep the documents organized.
2. Bring a List of Questions to Ask the Personal Injury Lawyer
Come to the meeting prepared to ask questions. Write down your list of questions so you do not forget a question. Allow room on your list of questions to take notes and write down the attorney’s responses to your questions.
Some questions that you might want to ask an attorney during a free consultation include:
- How long have you been practicing personal injury law?
- How many cases similar to my case have you handled?
- What is your success rate for personal injury claims?
- What is the difference between economic damages and non-economic damages?
- How often do you take cases to court?
- Who will work on my case?
- Can I call you if I have questions or concerns?
- What is my personal injury case worth?
The attorney may not be able to answer all questions. However, an experienced personal injury lawyer is honest. They will tell you what they need to do before calculating the value of your injury claim.
3. Write Down What You Remember About the Accident
Create a detailed account of what you remember about the accident. Do not leave anything out, even if you are unsure that the information is relevant. The more details you can provide to your attorney, the better the attorney can assess your case.
4. There is a Deadline for Filing a Claim
Missouri has a statute of limitations or deadline that applies to personal injury lawsuits. In most cases, you have five years from the date of your injury to file a personal injury lawsuit.
However, waiting to contact a personal injury lawyer about your case could negatively impact its outcome. The memories of eyewitnesses fade over time, and evidence proving fault could be lost or destroyed.
Furthermore, there could be exceptions to the five-year rule. The facts and circumstances of your case could change the deadline for filing injury claims. It is best to contact an accident lawyer as soon as possible for your free consultation.
5. You Will Learn About the Laws Applicable to Your Case
There are many statutes and laws that could impact the outcome of a personal injury case. The facts of each case are unique. Accordingly, an attorney needs to review your case to advise you of the laws that apply.
6. Plan to Discuss Attorneys’ Fee and costs
Many St. Louis personal injury attorneys accept personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. Under this arrangement, you only pay the attorney when they recover money for your personal injury claim.
However, make sure you discuss the payment of costs. The costs of your case might include copies, postage, expert witness fees, filing fees, and mileage. Each law firm has a different policy for how they pay costs.
7. The Attorney May Not Take Your Case
Do not be offended if the attorney declines to take your case. If this happens, ask the attorney why they will not take your case.
Some potential reasons an attorney may decline to represent a client include:
- The statute of limitations has expired
- There is insufficient evidence to prove the other party caused your injury
- The attorney has a conflict of interest
- The value of your case is too low to justify hiring an attorney
- The attorney does not handle cases like your case
You can schedule a consultation with another law firm to discuss your case. Another lawyer may take your case.
8. You Are Not Obligated to Hire a Law Firm
You are not under any obligation to hire our law firm or any other law firm after your free consultation. However, we want you to have the information you need to protect your legal rights.
Our lawyers will provide an honest assessment of your case. After that, it is up to you whether you want to proceed with legal action and whether you want us to represent you.
9. Learn About the Next Steps
If you want to hire our law firm to handle your personal injury case, the attorney explains the next steps. Typically, we draft the retainer agreement and meet with you again to sign the forms. Then, our legal team immediately begins investigating and working on your case.
Our personal injury attorneys handle all aspects of your personal injury case so you can focus all your energy on recovering from your injuries.