What To Talk About At An Initial Consultation With A Personal Injury Lawyer
Billboards by the side of the road and TV commercials that come on at times when people who are healthy enough to work are unlikely to be watching TV often tell you to call a personal injury lawyer, but they don’t tell you what to say when someone from the law firm answers your call. Many personal injury law firms offer free initial conversations with prospective clients, but these are typically only an hour, so you need to think in advance about the questions you want to ask. These are some topics that will help you get the most out of your initial conversation with a Columbia car accident lawyer.
Start With Small Talk
You might assume that, since you only have a short time to discuss important matters with your lawyer at your initial consultation, that you should get straight to the point and start talking about your case. After all, preparing for a trial takes months, during which time you and your lawyer will have ample opportunities to get to know each other. As counterintuitive as it may sound, you should spend the first few minutes of your consultation shooting the breeze with the lawyer to see whether you have a good rapport. A lawyer who is arrogant, doesn’t let you get a word in edgewise, or seems to have a chip on his shoulder is unlikely to get easier to get along with if you hire him.
Your Injury and the Financial Hardship It Has Caused
It is best to write notes before your consultation about your accident, the injuries it has caused, the treatment you received, and the expenses you have incurred because of the accident. You don’t want your lawyer to think that your case is less serious than it is just because you forgot the part about how the hospitalist physicians’ group sent you a bill for thousands of dollars because, with some hospitals and insurance plans, seeing doctors in the hospital is not included in the cost of hospitalization.
Strategy for Winning Your Case
After you have explained your situation, listen more than you talk. Your lawyer will tell you her first impressions about how to approach the case, such as by seeking a claim from the at fault driver’s insurance policy or filing a claim with another party that was somehow responsible for the accident. If the lawyer thinks you don’t have a chance of winning your case, she will tell you upfront instead of taking your money. The lawyer may recommend other ways of dealing with your medical bills, such as discharging them in bankruptcy or applying for financial aid from the hospital.
Deadlines, Payment, and Representation Agreements
In South Carolina, the deadline for filing a car accident lawsuit is three years from the date of the accident. It sounds like a long time, but it actually means that you must get to work immediately. You can only file a lawsuit after you are sure that insurance claims will not get you enough money to cover your accident-related losses. Most personal injury lawyers accept payment on a contingency or modified contingency basis, which means that you pay most or all of the legal fees after you receive your settlement. Before your lawyer can start working on your case, though, you must sign a representation agreement. Your lawyer will go over it with you during the consultation.
Let Us Help You Today
The personal injury lawyers at the Stanley Law Group can help you get started on the path to recovering compensation after an accident. Contact The Stanley Law Group in Columbia, South Carolina or call (803)799-4700 for a free initial consultation.