What to Expect When You Meet with a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you were injured in Gulfport, MS and are preparing for your first meeting with a personal injury attorney, you may be asking yourself: what should I expect when I meet with a personal injury lawyer? We know that meeting with a lawyer for the first time can be an intimidating experience.
At the office of Corban Gunn, Attorney at Law, we’ve met with countless first-time clients who have never stepped into a personal injury lawyer’s office before. The important thing to remember is—this is your time. You can expect this to be a time for you to learn what you need to learn, so you can make the most informed decision possible about an important life matter.
Below, we’ll offer some tips about how to prepare for the first meeting with your accident lawyer. Let’s first look at what questions you may want to think about asking a lawyer. These questions can help you get a better feel for the way an attorney manages their cases and client relationships, and how qualified (or not qualified) they are to handle your specific type of case. Then we’ll look at documents you can bring to help your lawyer get an informed started on your case. Finally, we’ll discuss how you can expect to feel after you’ve left your first visit at a personal injury attorney’s office.
Questions to Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer
You can expect that a personal injury lawyer will give you the opportunity to ask them questions in an initial meeting about your case. If the attorney doesn’t give you the chance to ask any questions, you may want to think about moving on to another lawyer. But what questions should you ask a personal injury lawyer? What questions will help you make the most of your first meeting and get a good sense of what kind of lawyer you’ve just met? If you’re wondering what questions to ask a personal injury lawyer, the list below can help you get started.
- What were the outcomes of cases like mine you’ve handled before?
- What are the most difficult problems about my case?
- How and how often do you communicate with your clients?
- How do you get paid and what happens if I lose my case?
- What happens if my case goes to trial?
- Will you or someone else from your office be handling my case?
- How many cases do you handle at one time?
- What is your estimate about what my case is worth?
- About how long will it take for my case to reach a resolution?
These questions are intended to help you get a better sense of the qualifications of the lawyer, how they handle their cases, how they interact with clients, how they get paid, and what you can expect when you partner with them to seek compensation for your losses. There may be other more personal and specific questions you want to ask your lawyer. This is a time for you to decide if this is the right lawyer for you, so you should feel comfortable asking whatever you want to ask.
When you meet with an attorney, you can expect to be heard. You should expect that a lawyer will want to learn more about you, your story, your family, your experiences, and how your life has been changed by your injury. If the lawyer seems uninterested in you as an individual, they may not be the right attorney for you.
Documents to Bring When You Meet with a Lawyer
Whether you were in a car accident, a workplace accident, or you suspect a loved one was abused or neglected in a nursing home, your lawyer will need evidence to support your case. They will need evidence to prove that what you claim happened actually happened.
In a personal injury case, your attorney will need to use this evidence to prove that negligence occurred and that the other party is liable for your injuries. Your personal injury lawyer will also need documentation of your injuries and financial losses to calculate damages. Proof of your personal losses is necessary for proving your injuries and calculating compensation—the amount you should rightfully be awarded for the damages you’ve suffered.
When going to meet with your personal injury attorney for the first time, you can expect they will ask you for evidence related to your personal injury case. It’s not necessary that you bring all your documents and records to the first meeting. In that meeting, your lawyer will likely give you a list of documents you can prepare for the next meeting. But if you are able to bring any of the following pieces of evidence to your initial meeting, it can be a big help to your lawyer.
- Medical Records. In a personal injury case, it is the injury that is the key point. No case will be able to move forward unless you can show that you were truly injured by the accident, and the extent and effect of those injures on your life. Medical records may include proof of hospital stays, notes from your doctor, appointment records from a specialist visit, ambulance bills, records of physical therapy or rehabilitation, prescription medications, test results, X-rays or other medical images, and bills for any in-home care you required after your injury.
- Financial Records. These are other expenses or lost income that resulted from the injury. Examples include documents that show the dates you missed works and the wages you lost, your W2 and other payroll forms, your company’s PTO and benefits policy, auto mechanic bills for repairing a vehicle, damages to your vehicle or any other personal property, or home or vehicle accommodations after an injury causing you permanent disability.
- Photographs or Video. If you were able to take any pictures or videos at the time of the accident, this type of evidence can greatly support your case. When you take pictures or videos, you should try to include the cause of the accident (such as a slippery floor), injuries (like bruises your loved one sustained at a nursing home residence), and property damage (such as damage to your car). In the case of a car accident, photos should aim to give a full view of the circumstances at the time of the crash, including weather, lighting, road conditions, and any other relevant factors, like a broken traffic signal or road debris.
In addition to these sources of evidence, there are other documents that are helpful to bring. These include:
- Your personal identification
- Your insurance policy information
- Records of any correspondence between you and your insurance provider after the accident
- A copy of a police report if one was made at the time of the accident
- Contact information for any eyewitnesses of the accident, such as a coworker or bystander
- Your personal journals and notes you made about the incident, your injury, and your recovery
In short, if you have any documents, records, notes, photographs, or videos that in any way relate to your case, it’s probably best to bring them. There may be other items that you don’t think to bring, but a good attorney will be able to think outside the box and suggest documents you may have in your possession. It’s not your job to search high and low for evidence to support to your case. That’s the job of your attorney. But by bringing any available and relevant documents and evidence you have, you can help your personal injury lawyer get a running start on your case.
How You Should Expect to Feel After Meeting with a Personal Injury Lawyer
There are a lot of personal injury lawyers in Mississippi. Gulfport alone has its share of practicing attorneys—some exceptional, some mediocre, and some who probably should have gone down a different career path. When it comes to choosing the right lawyer for you, trust your instincts. Your instincts should be backed by wide research, intuitive questioning, and a solid foundation of educated consideration of your options—but never underestimate the value of your gut feeling.
As you leave your first meeting with a lawyer you are thinking about hiring, ask yourself some questions. The list below gives examples of the types of questions that can help you understand why or why not a particular lawyer might be a good choice for you.
- Do I trust that this lawyer has my best interests in mind?
- Do I believe they will put in whatever it takes to help me win my case?
- Did I feel seen and heard in the meeting?
- Does the lawyer have experience handling my type of case?
- What have past clients said about this lawyer?
- How did other people in the office treat me when I arrived?
- How would I describe the atmosphere of the meeting?
- Do I think this lawyer would personally answer my calls if I had a problem?
- Does the lawyer seem knowledgeable and experienced in their field of practice?
- Do I want to talk to this lawyer again?
If you’ve met with a good lawyer, and someone who is the right person to take your unique case, you should expect to feel good about your experience. You should feel confident that your lawyer will give your case the individual care and attention it deserves. You can expect that you lawyer will work as hard as they need, as long as they need, to get your case the most successful outcome possible.
If you’ve been hurt and need a lawyer, we invite you give our personal injury law firm a try. The law office of Corban Gunn, Attorney at Law offers free initial meetings to those looking for the right personal injury attorney in Gulfport, MS. We’ll answer any question you give us, and we never charge a fee for you to come get to know us better. We look forward to meeting with you.