When a negligent driver causes you to suffer injuries in a car accident, you'll need to retain an experienced car accident attorney if you want to obtain the proper compensation for your injuries. It can be overwhelming to decide which lawyer is not only qualified, but also the right choice for you.
One way to determine this is to schedule an initial consultation with your top candidates. In order for these meetings to be productive, you need to know what to expect.
Your Initial Consultation
You should take advantage of the offer fora free consultation that many car accident lawyers extend to prospective clients. There are two main reasons for this meeting:
- Obtain legal advice about your case.
- Make a determination as to whether you want to hire this person to represent you.
Here's what will likely happen at your first meeting with an attorney.
Discuss Your Case
You'll need to provide the lawyer with a detailed account of how your accident occurred. He'll also want to know what medical treatment you received and about any conversations you have had with the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier and your own. If you brought any documents, such as pictures of the accident, a police report, or correspondence from the insurance company, he'll want to review these as well.
Provide Legal Advice
Once your attorney has an understanding of the circumstances regarding your collision, he should provide you with legal advice as to the other driver’s liability for compensating you and the types of compensation you can request in your settlement. He may be able to give you a sense of how long it could take to resolve your case. He should also provide you with an explanation of how the process of filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company works and what's involved if you have to file a lawsuit.
Talk About Your Role in Your Case
You're a team player with the lawyer you retain, and the success of your case depends in part on working together. The attorney should provide you with guidelines for how you can help. This can include staying off social media sites while your case in pending, attending all doctor appointments, and providing documents promptly when requested.
Establish How the Attorney Will Communicate With You
Good communications between you and your lawyer will be important throughout your case. He should explain how he and his legal team will keep you informed on case progress. You should also talk about whether it's best to communicate by phone or email, and how long it will take him to respond when you reach with questions or to discuss the status of the claim.
Discuss Attorney Fees
The lawyer should explain the attorney fees that he charges you and when you'll be expected to pay them. Many lawyers take car accident cases on a contingency fee basis. This means they'll only receive payment if they settle your claim or win your case at jury trial. Their fees are a percentage of your award, and deducted from the proceeds. If you decide to retain the lawyer, you should enter into a written retainer agreement which clearly states what attorney fees are due.
Questions to Bring to Your Appointment
Bring a list of questions to ask the attorney and gain a better understanding of his experience in these cases, and a sense of whether he's someone who you can trust. At the beginning of the appointment, be certain to tell him to leave time for you to ask questions, such as:
- How much of your practice is auto collision cases?
- What's your track record of success settling car accident cases?
- How many of these cases have you taken to trial, and what were the outcomes?
- How long will it take to resolve my case?
- What do you think are the strengths and weaknesses in my case?
- How long do I have to file a lawsuit?
- What can I expect to recover in compensation?
- Will you be the attorney handling my case? If not, can I meet the person who will?
- Do you charge fees on a contingency fee basis, and what percentage of the settlement will I owe you? What other costs related to my case will I be charged?
Have You Been Involved In A Motor Vehicle Accident?
If you've been involved in a motor vehicle accident you need to speak with an experienced accident injury attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation.