One of the most important steps to take when you are involved in any litigation resulting from a car accident is the first meeting with your attorney. The initial meeting is what get the ball rolling and allows your lawyer to begin the process of preparing your case for either a settlement or a court appearance.
The first thing your attorney will want to is to debrief you about the particulars of the accident in which you were involved. Your lawyer will also ask you questions about your age, employment, and other relevant facts, but unless the accident took place under very unusual circumstances or you arrived at the lawyer’s office totally unprepared, this part of your meeting will usually be brief and to the point.
Regardless of how long this debriefing lasts, you must be aware that your lawyer will be asking you to tell him or her how and when the accident occurred. At times it might seem as though you are being bombarded by a barrage of tough questions, but your lawyer needs to have all the facts in order to, among other things, determine how winnable your case is, what legal steps to take, and whether or not he or she can take your case at all.
During your first interview, you may also anticipate several actions that your lawyer may take besides asking you to tell an account of your accident. Your car accident lawyer is likely to ask you to sign various documents, including the release form authorizing him or her to ask your healthcare provider with any medical records related to the case at hand. You will also be asked to give the lawyer all of your insurance information and to divulge whether or not any insurance adjusters have discussed your case and, if they have, the extent of your conversations with them. In addition, you may be question on whether you have talked about your accident with anyone else and how much information you have given out before consulting an attorney.
The car accident lawyer may ask you health-related questions and look at any physical injuries that you may have as a result of the car accident. He or she will inquire if you have been to your doctor or sought medical attention at a hospital. If no external injuries are present but you suffer from pain or other health complaints, your lawyer might ask you to see your healthcare provider and get a full medical examination and any necessary treatment.
How the first meeting with a car accident lawyer ends depends on various factors. For instance, your lawyer may tell you that he or she cannot take the case; it might be too complicated and time-consuming, or that the car accident attorney’s caseload is so heavy at the present time will impede a competent and prompt handling of your specific case. On the other hand, your lawyer may inform you that he or she can accept you as a client and will therefore provide you with instructions on how to communicate with him or her regarding your case.
Source: Southern Speech Communication Journal; Volume 45, Issue 4, 1980, “The initial attorney/client consultation”