If you have been injured in a car accident, suffered a slip and fall accident in a parking lot or store, or find yourself injured from a dog bite or defective product, these and other circumstances often result in victims seeking compensation for their injuries by filing a personal injury lawsuit. However, since the process of filing a lawsuit is new to most people, they have questions about the process. To help with this, most personal injury attorneys offer free initial consultations with potential clients who may be considering legal action. Should you be considering a consultation with a personal injury attorney, it is important you know exactly what to expect when you meet with the lawyer to discuss your situation.
First and foremost when you meet with a Northern Kentucky personal injury lawyer, you will be under no obligation to hire them simply because you are having an initial consultation. Thus, you should be able to ask whatever questions you have and make up your own mind as to whether you wish to hire them as your legal counsel. Also, remember that any questions you ask during the consultation as well as any statements made to the attorney will be protected by attorney-client privilege.
Describing Your Accident
Since one of the main goals of having an initial consultation with an attorney is to find out if you do indeed have a case that is winnable and thus worth pursuing, it will be critical that you describe your accident as accurately as possible. To do so, you should tell your attorney what injuries you suffered, how and when the injuries took place, the party you believe was at fault for your injuries, losses you have incurred such as lost wages from being unable to work and medical bills that now need to be paid, and what your goals are should you decide to file a lawsuit. By giving your attorney as many details as possible and being absolutely honest during your meeting, your attorney can accurately assess the situation and provide you with sound advice as to how you should proceed.
Explaining the Process
After you have explained the details of your accident and your attorney believes you may have a viable case, they will take the time to explain various aspects of the process when filing a personal injury lawsuit. For example, since the majority of these cases are settled out-of-court, your attorney will explain how you should handle yourself should insurance companies contact you. Unfortunately, the goal of most insurance companies is to deny victims the compensation they deserve. Thus, your attorney will likely advise you that if an insurance company wants to speak with you about the accident or have you commit to a quick settlement, you should refer them immediately to your attorney’s office.
Your Role in the Case
When many people file a personal injury lawsuit, they often mistakenly believe their role ends once they put their case in the hands of their attorney. However, your northern Kentucky personal injury lawyer will advise you that your role in the case is just beginning. Along with being completely transparent from start to finish while your case plays out, it will also be important that you follow your attorney’s advice each step of the way. This can include such things as keeping your medical appointments and following your doctor’s orders, making sure you do not go off on your own and try to deal with insurance companies, being careful not to discuss your case with others or on social media sites, meeting all deadlines concerning paperwork and other documents, and much more. By being an active participant in your case while still heeding your attorney’s advice, you stand a much better chance of gaining the compensation you need and deserve.
Who Will Handle Your Case
If you choose to hire the services of a large personal injury law firm, it will be important during your initial consultation that you find out exactly who at the firm will be handling your case. In some instances, cases may be turned over to junior associates or even paralegals, which may or may not potentially hinder your case. To get the best results, it is usually better if you can meet directly with the attorney who will be in charge of your case. By doing so, you can make sure they not only fully understand the details of your accident, but also that they are someone with whom you will be comfortable working with until your case is resolved.
Before you ever sign anything where you hire an attorney to represent you in a personal injury lawsuit, make sure you are very clear as to how your attorney will be paid. This will be vital, since you will need to determine if your attorney works on what is known as a contingency-fee basis. If they do, this means they likely will not take your case unless they expect to win, and once the case is won they will then receive a portion of the compensation awarded to you. The amount can vary, but generally is between 30-50 percent. In some situations, you may be expected to pay court costs or various attorney’s fees, so be clear about this as well. Should you decide to hire the attorney with whom you are speaking, make sure the payment agreement is put in writing to avoid any misunderstandings later on.
Your Attorney’s Qualifications
While you may think an initial consultation is mainly geared so that your attorney will be asking you one question after another, that is not true. In fact, the initial consultation is your chance to find out all you can about your attorney. To do so, you should come to the consultation with a list of questions about such things as the attorney’s qualifications, how long they have practiced personal injury law, their track record of success in winning cases similar to yours, and anything else you feel may be relevant in helping you make your decision. If the attorney you meet with is not forthcoming with such information and makes you feel uncomfortable during your meeting, it is best if you look elsewhere.
Discussing Various Outcomes of Your Case
After you and your attorney have discussed your case in great detail, your lawyer will then tell you the various outcomes that most likely would result from your personal injury lawsuit. For example, your attorney will explain what may happen should the case be settled out-of-court, how a judge and jury may view your case if it goes to trial, how long it could take for your case to play out, whether or not you would be called on to testify in court, and other aspects that could play a pivotal role in winning or losing your case. However, should you meet with an attorney who guarantees you a win and a specific amount of compensation, be very wary. If a personal injury lawyer is reputable and can point to a verifiable track record of success with cases like yours, they will never guarantee anything. Instead, they will explain the various options and allow you to make an informed decision.
If you have been the victim of another party’s negligence or carelessness, do not sit back and suffer physically, emotionally, and financially. Instead, schedule a consultation today with an experienced and knowledgeable Northern Kentucky personal injury lawyer who has a reputation for getting results for their clients.