When you have been hurt in an accident, you may hope to file a legal claim to secure a financial recovery. The first step in this process is consulting with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney.
Even if you know that you have a valid California accident claim, you may be uncertain about what to expect during a free legal consultation. In the following post, you will learn about nine of the most important things to understand about initial case evaluations.
1. Statutes of Limitations
Before deciding to pursue a personal injury or accident claim, you should determine whether your claim has expired.
The “statute of limitations” is a legal time limit. After the statute of limitations has passed, you cannot begin the legal claims process. In California, the statute of limitations on personal injury cases is typically two years.
2. Researching Your Attorney
Before meeting with a lawyer, make sure to research their office or firm online. You should read reviews from former clients to help you anticipate your own experience.
Do not hire an attorney or firm unless the majority of online testimonials are positive. Also, make sure to read reviews from many different websites.
3. Bring Documentation
The attorney will want to review the facts of your case during the consultation. Because of this, you should bring the following documents and information to your case review:
- Photographs of the injuries and accident
- Police accident reports
- Relevant tickets and citations
- Medical records and doctor’s notes
- Insurance information
This information will allow your lawyer to fully understand the viability of your case.
4. Write Notes
When you attend the initial meeting, bring notes about your experience. Take detailed notes as soon as possible after the accident.
As time goes on, you might forget small details of the accident or injury. That is why you should keep a personal record of your entire experience.
5. Prepare Details About Your Accident
One of the primary purposes of a legal consultation is to provide your lawyer with information about your accident, illness, or injuries.
The attorney will ask detailed questions to better understand your situation. These questions help the lawyer determine your ability to answer difficult questions about your accident or injury.
6. Bring Questions for the Attorney
During the consultation, make sure to ask the lawyer questions to help decide whether they are right to represent you. Preparing questions before the meeting will ensure that you use your time effectively.
Some of the most common questions that clients ask include:
- How will my medical bills be covered?
- Do you believe I can win this case?
- What is the next step after this meeting?
- What types of damages can I pursue?
- Who is legally liable for my accident?
- How do you handle attorneys’ fees?
These are only a few common examples. Make sure to ask any questions that will help you better understand the legal process or your claim.
7. Laws Related to Your Case
A personal injury attorney will explain the specific California laws and statutes relevant to your case. This will help you understand the viability of your accident claim.
8. Discuss Attorneys’ Fees
Most injury lawyers are paid through contingency fees. With this payment approach, clients do not pay anything unless their case is successfully won or settled.
You may not want to hire a lawyer or firm that demands upfront payments before your case is concluded.
9. The Next Steps
Once you have signed the hiring documents for your attorney, they will begin building a case for you. Negotiating with the opposing party will be the first step. If negotiations fail, your personal injury lawyer will file litigation on your behalf.