If you've been injured in an accident, you likely don't know what your next course of action should be. You probably have questions: Do I have a legitimate claim? Do I need to hire an attorney? If so, who should I hire?

You may have seen or heard attorney advertisements for free or no-obligation consultations. But how does a legal consultation work? In this blog, we'll take a look at some things you should plan for when meeting with an attorney for the first time.

What is an Initial Consultation?

An initial consultation is the first meeting between you and an attorney before you decide to enter into a formal contract. It is intended to help you and the attorney decide if you want to form an attorney-client relationship.

An initial consultation also allows you to discuss the facts of your case with an attorney. You will also be able to ask them questions about your case, how they would handle issues in your case, and their experience in the field of law where your accident occurred. In essence, you are interviewing the attorney, and they are interviewing you. 

What Happens During the Consultation?

Initial consultations are often limited in time and depth, as the attorney-client relationship has yet to be formed. However, the attorney will listen to the details of your case. After your consultation, you will be able to determine:

  • If you have a valid claim. The initial consultation includes reviewing and discussing the facts and legal claims surrounding your circumstances. Then, based on the information you provide and the law, the attorney should inform you if you have a legitimate claim from a legal standpoint. 
  • If you need a lawyer. The attorney should tell you if you're better off receiving the case on your own or if you need the services of an attorney. This decision is usually based on the potential damages you can recover versus the cost of hiring an attorney. 
  • If the attorney can help you. The attorney will let you know if they handle your type of case or if you need to seek out another attorney better-versed to handle your case. The attorney may refer you to another attorney specializing in your case type in some cases. 
  • The cost of services. An initial consultation also includes an overview of attorney fees. In addition to discussing overall expenses, the attorney will explain the fee arrangement (i.e.., contingency, flat fee, or hourly).

At the end of the consultation, if you and the attorney decide to form an attorney-client relationship, you will sign an engagement agreement to formally recognize the relationship. If, during the consultation, you don't feel the attorney is a good match, you can simply walk away and seek other options.

How Should I Prepare? 

You need to be prepared to get the most out of your initial consultation. There are two main goals that you and the attorney want to accomplish:

  • Find out more information about your case.
  • Decide if you want to hire this attorney.

To help the attorney learn more about your case (whether you have a legitimate claim and what amount of damages you can expect), you'll need to provide relevant documents. These can include: 

  • Contracts: If your claim arose from a contract dispute, bring copies of the contract and any documents explaining the contract
  • Police or Accident Reports: If possible, bring any police or accident report that was created as a result of the incident you were involved in
  • Property Deeds: If your claim involves a property dispute, bring a copy of the deed or any documents relating to the property (i.e., oil and gas lease)
  • Other Documents Evidencing Damages: Provide other important documents that show any evidence of damages, such as medical records or expenses, or any warranties or communication created by the party you are trying to sue.


In addition, be prepared to answer any questions the attorney might ask about your circumstances.

Attorneys You Can Talk To!

Accidents happen, and when they do, you and your family will have questions about your rights and their impact on your life. If you've been injured in an accident, the attorneys at Doran, Beam & Farrell understand your concerns and are ready to answer any question or address concerns that you may have about your claim. 

To schedule a FREE case evaluation, call or text us at (727) 846-1000 or complete our online contact form.




Sources:
https://www.enjuris.com/personal-injury-law/free-lawyer-consultation.html 

https://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/get-the-most-out-of-a-legal-consultation.html

https://www.lawinfo.com/resources/working-with-attorney/about-your-initial-consultation.html