What Is Included in a Free Consultation With a Lawyer?
What Is Included in a Free Consultation With a Lawyer?
When someone injures you, it’s not an “accident.” However, it can be hard to find answers and accountability without help from the right personal injury attorney. Most reputable personal injury lawyers offer free consultations to prospective clients, but what is a free consultation? Is it even worth your time?
We know you can’t trust just anyone with your case—you have a lot at stake. A free consultation gives you a chance to get to know a personal injury attorney or firm better, which can help you decide if they are the right fit for you and your family. In this article, we’ll uncover the truth behind free consultations and help you prepare for your first meeting with an attorney.
What Happens During Free Consultations?
Consider your free legal consultation to be a first date with the attorney who might handle your case. It is an opportunity for the two of you to get to know more about each other, as well as your case, without committing to a serious future relationship. You might be working with your personal injury attorney for months or even years. So, you should take this decision seriously.
During your legal consultation, the attorney you’re meeting with will ask you questions about your case—and you’ll get to do some questioning too. You should plan on doing the following activities during your evaluation:
- Share information about your injuries and the incident
- Show the personal injury attorney any documents you have, like medical records, crash reports, and letters from the insurance company
- Learn more about your legal options and rights
- Get to know the lawyer’s approach and personality
Consultations covered by attorney-client privilege, so what you say should be confidential. During the meeting, be as honest as possible about your case. The more open you are, the more accurately both you and your attorney can determine whether you are a good fit for each other.
Free legal advice is a great thing, but there are limits to how much you will get during a case evaluation. You won’t get a clear-cut answer about whether you’ll win your case or get a multi-million-dollar settlement during your first meeting. These consultations are meant to help you decide whether you will hire the attorney you meet or not—and these issues deserve a lot more investigation and research.
One of the benefits of a free consultation is that it removes much of the pressure associated with a paid visit. These meetings carry no obligation and give you the freedom to pick and choose as you please. If you are feeling stressed, be sure to share this with your attorney, as they will work with you to make the process more manageable for you.
Do All Lawyers Offer Free Consultations?
Although many lawyers offer free legal consultations, some may charge you a consultation fee before taking your case. This is a red flag—very few established personal injury law firms will charge you for a case evaluation.
Be sure to double check what your chosen law firm’s fee policy is before agreeing to meet. Not all attorneys follow our no fee policy, and you don’t want any unwanted surprises during or after your meeting.
Free Consultation vs. Representation
Although consultations give you the chance to ask questions about your case to an experienced personal injury attorney, the attorney does not represent you yet and can do nothing on your behalf. First, you must become a client and enter into an attorney-client relationship with their law firm.
Until you and the lawyer have entered into an agreement together, they will not file a lawsuit, negotiate with the insurance company, or do anything else to further your case.
Preparing for Your Legal Consultation
Before you meet with an attorney for your free legal consultation, you want to be sure you have everything you’ll need. Gather your evidence, information about your insurance claim, write down questions, and get ready to answer any questions they may have for you. Even if consultations are a first step, it will inform your next legal decisions—and you want to be sure you get the most out of your time to with the injury lawyer.
Make Sure You Choose the Right Lawyer
Even if you find an experienced personal injury lawyer, that doesn’t necessarily mean that are the right lawyer for your case. Personal injury attorneys can practice in several different practice areas, so be sure to choose an attorney that practices personal injury law relevant to your case’s particular category. Many attorneys will have case results and client success stories on their websites, so using these as reference may help you get a better idea of their credentials.
Even if you find an experienced personal injury lawyer, that doesn’t necessarily mean that are the right lawyer for your case. Personal injury attorneys can practice in several different practice areas, so be sure to choose an attorney that practices personal injury law relevant to your case’s particular category.
Be Ready to Answer Questions About Your Case
During your consultation, the attorney you’re meeting with will need to ask you a series of questions to get the full picture of your case. These questions may be very detailed. So, if you feel you may have a hard time recalling some finer points under pressure, write down your story beforehand to be sure you give them all the information they need.
Here are some questions an attorney may ask you during your free consultation:
- How, where, and when did your accident happen?
- How serious are your injuries? How did they occur?
- Were there any witnesses at the scene? Did you get their information, if so?
- Did you have anyone with you at the time of the accident? If yes, who?
- Did you file a police report?
- Have you received medical attention?
- Did you file an insurance claim?
- Did you get the other party’s insurance information?
- What other details can you remember?
Any extra physical evidence that you gather will only help to support your honest answers to these questions, so be sure to bring any proof you may have. An experienced lawyer will use this information to help you understand your case most accurately and explain how you can get justice.
Have Your Legal Questions Ready for the Attorney
Keep in mind that a free initial consultation is not only an opportunity for an attorney to meet you, but also a chance for you to meet them. Use this opportunity to learn more about their practice areas, experience, and legal approach. Consider indirect factors that may affect your decisions as well, such as speed of communication, after-hours communication, and their law firm’s culture and policies.
Some questions you may consider asking during your free consultation are:
- What kind of legal procedures should I expect?
- How long will my case take to resolve?
- What legal strategies would you use?
- How long have you practiced law in this area?
- How many cases have you handled like mine?
- Do you think this case will settle or go to trial?
- Do you think I can win my case?
- What is your legal specialty?
- Who will be working my case?
- What size settlement could I be entitled to?
The more questions you ask, the more you will get out of your free consultation. Ensuring you have the answers you need before choosing legal representation will determine your success and comfort moving forward.
Understand Their Fee Structure
Most personal injury charge a contingency fee, which means that they will receive a percentage of your settlement or jury award if you win. (And if you do not recover money, you owe them nothing.) This is very different than the fee structures of other lawyers, like divorce or child custody lawyers, who might charge an hourly rate, flat fee, or ask for a retainer before they will start working on your case.
Make sure you understand the precise terms of your prospective lawyer’s fee agreement. For example, it’s not uncommon for lawyers to charge a different contingency fee percentage if they have to file a lawsuit. And different lawyers take different approaches to how they handle case costs (like expert witness and filing fees).
The last thing you need after an injury is to worry about is the cost of legal help. That’s why Crosley Law follows a no fee policy with all their clients. We don’t get paid unless you win, plain and simple. We follow this policy to make sure anyone has access to legal help, regardless of their financial status.
Related: How Much Do Accident Attorneys Cost?
Crosley Law: Helping Texas Accident Victims Fight Back
Don’t let financial worries prevent you from getting the help you deserve. At Crosley Law, we offer free consultations so you can get answers for any of your legal questions or concerns. Our team of experience personal injury attorneys has a reputation for getting our clients the compensation they deserve by any means.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.
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Crosley Law Firm, PC is a professional corporation of trial lawyers focused on representing individuals and families who have suffered serious personal injuries or wrongful death. If you’ve been injured, fill out the form for a free consultation, or call 210-LAW-3000.