9 Things You Should Know About a Free Lawyer Consultation

9 Things You Should Know About a Free Lawyer Consultation

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.

How to Find the Best Personal Injury Attorney in California [Updated 2022]

After an accident, you may need an attorney to help you get the money you deserve.

In this post, we share our ideas on how to find the best personal injury attorney. See below to get started.

1. Searching Online


When choosing a personal injury lawyer, start by searching via a search engine like Google.

You can search by using terms like “good personal injury lawyers near me” or “personal injury attorney” followed by your City and State. So if you live in Los Angeles, CA, you would simply type, “personal injury attorney Los Angeles CA” into the search bar.

This type of search will usually give you a list of attorneys in your area and a list of legal (and non-legal) directories. See more about those below.

2. Legal Directories


Legal directories are like mini-search engines of their own, but focus only on attorneys. We’ll go over the most popular ones and one non-legal directory, Yelp.


Avvo is one of the more popular attorney directories. Avvo offers a lot of great info including ratings, law school attended, and contact info. More importantly, Avvo tells you if the attorney has ever been disciplined by the California State Bar. Visit Avvo by clicking here.


FindLaw is another popular legal directory that may show up in the search results. FindLaw includes attorney contact info and a bio. FindLaw lacks the robust review system you’ll find in Avvo, but given FindLaw’s search engine placement, we included it in our list. Visit them by clicking here.


Lawyers.com is owned by Martindale-Hubble. They’ve been around for years providing info on attorneys. Lawyers.com provides contact info, client reviews, and peer reviews. You can see more by clicking here.


Although not a legal directory, Yelp has established itself as a go-to location for those seeking an attorney. Yelp includes contact info, bio, and reviews. Visit Yelp them here.

3. Online Reviews

Yelp Reviews

Many of the online directories listed above include personal injury lawyers reviews. When looking at reviews, make sure you don’t just look at the amount of reviews or overall ratings.

Instead, take the time to read the reviews – especially the longer ones. A long review might give you more insight into an attorney.

Another way to find attorney reviews is by using Google Maps. Once you’re there, type “personal injury attorney” and you’ll see results below with reviews.

4. California State Bar Page

California State Bar

No attorney search is complete without visiting their profile on the California State Bar website. On this site, you’ll see their official contact info, educational background, and further detail on their disciplinary history, if any.

You can look up any California lawyer by clicking here.

5. Asking the Right Questions During the Initial Consultation

People with with attorney

Most, if not all, personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation. This is a great time to ask a lot of questions regarding their practice and your case.

According to Los Angeles personal injury attorney Sherwin Arzani, here is a list of questions to ask a personal injury lawyer during the free consultation.

  • How many years have you been practicing?
  • Have you handled my type of case before?
  • Where did you attend law school?
  • Do you exclusively practice personal injury law?
  • How long have you exclusively practiced personal injury law?
  • Have you taken any cases to trial?
  • Have you been disciplined by the California State Bar?
  • Ask for a list of their previous victories – both verdicts and settlements
  • How much do you think my case is worth?

6. Be Prepared During Your Initial Consult

Prior to meeting with an attorney, take some time to learn a little about personal injury law in your state. For example, most personal injury attorneys will not take a car accident case which solely resulted in property damage.

Additionally, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with tort law and legal terms like negligence.

7. Understand the Fee Structure

Don’t sign a retainer agreement without making sure you understand the fee structure. We’ve all heard personal injury attorneys say, “I get nothing unless you win.” This means they work on a contingency basis. While that may be true, make sure you understand what they get in the event that you do win.

In California, an accident attorney will typically take somewhere between 25% – 40%. However, many attorneys will also require that you pay for any fees incurred throughout the process. Your attorney will charge these fees on top of the percentage. What you’ll want to know is exactly what these fees include. For example, it might include the cost for experts, private investigators, and depositions.

Make sure you don’t get blindsided, as these fees can significantly cut into your award settlement.

8. Personality

People meeting with an attorney

The last thing to consider is how well you got along during the initial consultation. Did you find it easy to speak with the attorney? If not, you might want to consider continuing your search until you find someone who is a good personality fit for you.

Did We Miss Anything?

We hope that this guide will help you find a reputable personal injury lawyer in your area. Did we miss something? If so, please comment below.

Reasons Why You Should Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer:

We put together this infographic dealing with the benefits of hiring a personal injury lawyer after an accident. These reasons include:

  1. Medical Issues: A good attorney will work with a team of experts that can properly evaluate your injuries.
  2. Financial Issues: An attorney will help you with the financial issues that inevitably arise after an accident.
  3. Higher Settlements: An experienced attorney can often help you negotiate higher settlements with the negligent party’s insurance company.
Why Should I Hire A Personal Injury Lawyer?
Do I Qualify for SSD if I get Workers' Comp?

Do I Qualify for SSD if I get Workers’ Comp?

A sudden work injury or disabling medical condition can be devastating. If you cannot work, you cannot pay your bills. You might wonder what your family will do without your income. The good news is that you could be eligible for one or more forms of disability benefits

Most workplace injuries are covered by workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania. Injured workers may receive paid medical treatment. They may also receive lost wages benefits. 

When a work-related injury causes permanent disability, the worker may also be entitled to receive Social Security disability benefits. 

Receiving private or public disability payments and SSDI payments can cause problems. Disability benefits from other sources could reduce your Social Security disability benefits. However, there are a few exceptions. 

Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensations vs. Social Security Disability 

The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act governs workers’ comp benefits for injured workers. The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry handles workers’ compensation claims. 

Generally, workers’ comp benefits include:

  • Payments for lost wages
  • Medical care
  • Specific loss benefits
  • Death benefits for surviving family members

Injured workers may receive temporary total disability benefits for up to 105 weeks. Disability benefits will continue if the worker’s impairment rating is 35% or higher.

On the other hand, the federal government funds Social Security disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) manages disability benefits, which offers an additional form of compensation for injured workers. 

Qualifying for Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability Benefits

Each program has different eligibility requirements for benefits. You might qualify for workers’ compensation disability benefits. However, the SSA might deny your application for Social Security disability benefits.

To receive workers’ compensation disability benefits, the Injured worker needs to show:

  • They sustained an injury on the job
  • During the ordinary course of employment
  • That prevents them from working

However, the requirements for SSDI are different. You must have a mental or physical disability that prevents you from working. Your medical condition must last at least one year or result in death. 

How Will My Workers’ Compensation Benefits Affect My Social Security Disability Claim?

The application process for Social Security disability and workers’ compensation are different. You can file a Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation claim after a work injury. If the injury causes a long-term disability, then you can apply for Social Security disability benefits. 

The problem arises if both applications are approved. Your SSDI payments could be reduced based on your workers’ compensation payments. 

Figuring Your Reduction in SSDI Payments Based on Workers’ Compensation Benefits

The SSA calculates the reduction in SSDI payments based on your workers’ compensation benefits. Your SSDI monthly benefits include benefits paid to your family. 

The total of your SSDI benefits is added to the amount of your workers’ compensation payment. If the total is more than 80% of your average current earnings, the SSA reduces your disability benefits. If you stop receiving workers’ comp benefits, the SSA should increase your SSDI payments. 

The SSA uses several different formulas to calculate average current earnings. The formula used in your case depends on the specific facts of your case.

Do Private Disability Payments Impact Social Security Disability Income?

Public disability payments for non-job-related disabling conditions could reduce Social Security disability benefits. The payments include benefits from federal, state, and local governments. 

There are exceptions to this rule, including: 

  • Veterans Administration benefits
  • Supplemental Security Income
  • State and local government benefits when you paid Social Security taxes from your earnings

Private disability insurance benefits should not affect SSDI payments. Likewise, private pensions do not affect Social Security disability benefits. 

Are You Unsure What Your Next Step Should Be Regarding Disability Benefits?

Your goal is to receive the most money possible for disability benefits. You need the income to support yourself and your family. However, receiving multiple disability payments can cause issues. 

Do you have questions about Social Security disability benefits? If so, you can contact the Social Security Administration. You may also want to consult with a disability lawyer. 

A lawyer can help you understand your options and legal rights; they can also help you maximize your benefits.