When you have been in a car accident that wasn't your fault, all you want is to get what you are owed. All too often, this is more challenging than what the average person can handle alone. If you find yourself in this situation, then an auto accident attorney is necessary. The following can help you know what to expect during your first consultation with an accident lawyer.
Most consultations begin with an assessment. This initial assessment not only brings the attorney up to date on the situation, but it also helps them to determine whether you actually have a case and, if so, what the best course of action is in pursuing the case. Be prepared to tell the attorney exactly what happened during the accident, as well as followup information such as treatments or financial duress as a direct result of your accident.
It is important to be truthful when talking to the attorney. Even if you haven't officially hired them yet, the visit still falls under client confidentiality requirements. It is better to be honest before an attorney begins working on your case rather than have the truth come out after you and the lawyer have invested hours of time into it.
You won't need to provide everything at this first meeting, but there are some key pieces of documentation to bring. These include the following:
- The names and contact information for everyone involved in the accident
- Your car insurance information, as well as the information of anyone else involved
- Medical and treatment bills
- Damage or loss estimates if you have them already
- Information on any witnesses
These initial documents will allow your lawyer to begin building your case. You will likely be required to provide more documentation later, as well, so keep any letter or receipt that pertains to the accident.
If both you and the attorney agree that they are a good fit for the case, then you can finalize the hiring arrangements. This entails going over the attorney's fees and costs. Typically, the cost of the attorney is a percentage of any settlement -- if you don't get paid, they don't get paid. There may also be fees that are your responsibility to pay regardless of the outcome of the case, such as filing fees. After you agree on the costs, payment arrangements must also be made. A common arrangement is that all costs and fees aren't due until the ruling comes in. Then, the costs will either come from the settlement if you win or you will pay any outstanding fees within a certain time frame if you lose.
For more help, contact an auto accident attorney in your area.