Car accidents cause a great deal of stress, and it can be difficult to know how to proceed after you are injured by a negligent driver. Once you are well enough, meeting with a personal injury lawyer is the next critical step. An attorney will help build your case to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. It’s important to come fully prepared to a personal injury lawyer consultation, so find out how best to prepare before your initial meeting.
Important Steps to Take After a Car Accident
There are some critical steps you should take after an accident that will help you and your attorney build your case effectively:
Evaluate injuries – Assess your injuries and well as others involved in the collision. Be very careful moving around after an accident as you may have sustained injuries you are unaware of due to shock or lack of symptoms.
Call 911 – It’s crucial to get police and medical professionals on the scene as soon as possible. When the police arrive, have them write up an accident report and provide them with all of the information they ask for. Submit to medical evaluation and get treatment for your injuries quickly.
Take photos – Having photographic evidence of the incident will help build your case against a negligent driver. Take photos of your vehicle and other vehicles involved from all different angles. Also, take photos of your injuries in order to have visual evidence of bodily harm and document any changes in your body, such as swelling and bleeding.
Record all facts – Write down the events of the accident as soon as possible. It may be difficult and upsetting, but it’s crucial to get your thoughts together while the incident is fresh in your mind. Also, take reports from bystanders and witnesses in order to corroborate and supplement your narrative. Collect their names and contact information so you and your lawyer may contact them.
Find footage – If the collision occurred on a street with CCTV (closed circuit television) or in front of a home or establishment with security cameras, see if you can obtain that footage to use in your case. It may be hard to get this footage on your own, so ask your personal injury lawyer if they can assist you by issuing a subpoena. If you have a dashboard camera, make sure you retrieve the footage of the incident and store it safely on your computer and a physical device like a CD or flash drive.
Contact a lawyer – Hiring a personal injury lawyer can drastically increase your chances of obtaining fair compensation, and they will certainly help you navigate the complexities of the legal system. Contacting an attorney as soon as possible will help move your case along quickly, so don’t wait long after an accident to look for one.
What to Bring to a Personal Injury Lawyer Consultation
Once you have set up an initial consultation, review this checklist before attending. Ask the firm on the phone if they need you to bring anything else:
- The accident report from the scene.
- A copy of your driver’s license.
- The accounts of the accident you recorded yourself as well as from witnesses along with their contact information.
- All your medical bills related to the collision along with documentation of your injuries, procedures, and prescriptions.
- Your insurance information.
- The written discussions you have had about your accident, including emails, text messages, and voicemail transcriptions.
- A report of all missed work days as well as proof of lost wages due to your injuries and/or car damage.
- Written records of the pain and suffering you have endured due to the collision.
- Photos you took of the scene as well as your injuries.
- Any footage you were able to obtain of the accident. Keep in mind, you may need the assistance of a lawyer in order to get CCTV and private business footage.
What to Expect During a Personal Injury Lawyer Consultation
There are a few things to know before you attend your first personal injury lawyer consultation. This first meeting will not only determine whether or not the lawyer will take your case, but it’s also a chance for you to decide if they are a good fit.
Your first consultation should absolutely be free. Steer clear of any firms that insist you pay for the first visit. They should be able to prove their capability to you before you invest in them.
You should expect the consultation to last between 30 minutes and an hour. Make sure you allot ample time in your schedule so you can thoroughly review your case, answer all the lawyer’s questions, as well as have them answer all of yours.
Be ready to answer several questions. Some of these questions may bring up painful memories but it’s imperative that your attorney understands all facets of your case in order to serve you. A professional and reputable lawyer will be sensitive and compassionate to your situation and try to minimize any relived trauma.
Questions to Ask During a Personal Injury Lawyer Consultation
Coming prepared with a list of questions will help determine if this lawyer is capable, trustworthy, and the right fit for your case. Ask all the following questions and bring up all concerns you may have.
- How long have you been in business?
- How many cases has your firm handled, and what is your success rate?
- Do you specialize in car accident injuries?
- Who will be working on this case, and will I have consistent communication with them?
- How long do you believe this case will take?
- What is your payment process?
- What potential issues to do see with my case?
The longer a firm has been around, the more experience they have, so look for someone with several years of practice.
Take note of how many cases they have won. The higher the success rate, the higher the likelihood of a favorable outcome.
You need an attorney with a strong background in cases like yours, so make sure they have handled numerous car accident cases.
One attorney may be assigned to your case or even a whole team. Open communication will keep your mind at ease and help the process of building a case.
Find out how much time you can expect to invest in this case, and remember that their answer will just be an estimate.
You may need to pay an hourly rate or a contingency-based fee, although many firms charge according to the compensation a client has been awarded. Make sure you get these terms in writing.
If the attorney sees potential difficulties with your case, this doesn’t necessarily mean you’re unable to receive compensation, but it’s best to know what they’re thinking so you fully understand your chances.
Need to Schedule a Free Personal Injury Lawyer Consultation?
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, please don’t hesitate to contact Donaghue & Labrum. We have more than 30 years of experience representing victims of car accidents, and we’re determined to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients. Call us today for your free consultation!