9 Things You Should Know About a Free Lawyer Consultation
Bill Allen | October 26, 2021 | Personal Injury
As of late 2021, the city of Gainesville, FL boasts a population of nearly 144,000 people. That’s a lot of people within approximately 64 square miles. With high population density comes a higher risk of accidents that cause personal injuries.
If you’re ever in the unfortunate position of being a victim in a personal injury situation, it’s important to talk to a lawyer. Fortunately, most attorneys allow you to meet with them for a free, limited consultation.
Want to make the most of your time with a legal professional? Here are the top nine things to know about a free legal consultation.
1. You Have Limited Time
In the state of Florida, you must file a personal injury lawsuit within a specific period of time under the statute of limitations. If you’re filing for malpractice or wrongful death, you must do so within two years of the date on which the accident happened.
You can improve your chances of filing your case within the legal time limit by meeting with an attorney right away.
2. You Need a Personal Injury Specialist
Given a choice, most people would not choose a bone specialist to perform their heart surgery. This same concept applies to the law.
While any law firm may take your personal injury case, not all of them are appropriate choices. Personal injury law is a specialized practice area.
When you’ve been hurt in an accident, you’ll be best served by attorneys who focus their attention on relevant topics. These professionals understand the intricacies of the statutes of limitations, economic and non-economic damages, and the hidden tricks that insurance adjusters and companies use during negotiations.
3. You’ll Need Documentation from the Accident
When you visit an attorney for your free consultation, you’ll need to bring every bit of documentation you have.
Gather everything related to the accident, including:
- Police reports and photos
- Tickets or other citations
- Photos of your injuries and the accident scene
- Notes you took about the accident
- Names and addresses of witnesses
- Notes from the emergency room, EMTs, and doctors
- Results of medical tests and scans
- Your insurance information
The more information you can bring, the more thoroughly the legal team will be able to analyze your case.
4. You’ll Need Information About Your Injuries
In addition to the accident information, you’ll need to bring everything you can that details your injuries. This is particularly important because the defendant may try to claim that your injuries were unrelated to the accident in question.
Documentation will help show what happened in the accident that caused your injury, what type(s) of injury you sustained, and what type and length of recovery you’re likely to require.
5. You’ll Explain What Happened in Detail
Aside from showing documented statements and medical results, you’ll also verbally explain what happened. The lawyer needs to hear every detail of the event in your own words.
You’ll tell them:
- What you were doing before the accident
- What the surrounding environment was like
- How the accident affected your ability to perform your job
- Any treatment you undertook
- And more
You’ll go into as much detail as possible. If you wrote down all of these observations as personal notes at the time of the accident, you’d share those during the free consultation as well. Every detail that you can remember may play a critical role in winning your case.
6. You’ll Get Answers to Your Questions
As you’re gathering documentation to take with you to your free legal consultation, make sure to create a list of questions. Write down each question you have, regardless of how silly it may sound to you.
Personal injury attorneys want you to feel completely comfortable. Because they’ll represent you in court and guide you through important legal decisions, use this time to make sure that the lawyer can communicate well.
7. You’ll Learn How the Law Applies to Your Case
After reviewing everything and listening closely to the detailed account of what happened, the lawyer will tell you whether they think you have a case. They may say there is cause for a lawsuit or explain the claims process with the insurance company.
They may also say there is nothing they can do to help you. Each case is unique. The attorney may feel that someone else can serve your needs better, or they may know from experience that the laws are against you in these specific circumstances.
8. You Can Discuss Legal Strategies and Plans
If a lawyer believes you have a case, you’ll then briefly discuss plans and next steps. While the lawyer won’t have the full details laid out for you during this initial consultation, they can outline your likelihood of winning your case.
As a specialist in this field, your personal injury attorney can help you understand the standard process, including average timelines, compensation awarded in similar cases, and obstacles you may need to face together.
9. You’ll Have a Chance to Sign a Contract
The lawyer will also explain their fees and billing process during the initial consultation. Normally, a personal injury litigation specialist will charge you a contingency fee. This is a designated portion of your compensation that will be set aside to pay for legal fees.
An injury lawyer won’t ask you to pay for their services upfront. This makes it much easier for victims to get the process started since they don’t have the stress of trying to figure out how to pay for legal representation.
If you agree with everything you’ve heard during the free consultation, you’ll sign a contract with the lawyer or law firm. You’ll also sign documents so that the firm can request official records related to your accident.
Generally, they’ll request the police accident report and notes, medical care records, and related insurance documentation from the liable party.
The law firm will then begin the process of representing you. They’ll handle interactions with the insurance company, gather supporting medical documentation, and begin negotiations.
As you can see, getting a free legal consultation is a quick and easy process. You owe it to yourself to get advice from an expert if you’ve been in an accident.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in North Central Florida
If you need legal assistance, contact the Gainesville personal injury lawyers at Allen Law Firm at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.
We have two convenient locations in North Central Florida: