Law Offices of Mathys & Schneid | September 8, 2023 | Personal Injury
When you are involved in an accident, it is important to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Most personal injury lawyers offer a free consultation for potential clients in DuPage County, Illinois. A free consultation allows you an opportunity to discuss your case and ask questions without being obligated to hire the attorney.
What Happens During Your Free Consultation?
When you schedule a free consultation, you should begin preparing for your meeting with the lawyer. Refresh your memory on the details of the accident, and come prepared to describe injuries.
The more accident details you are able to provide, the easier it will be for the lawyer to assess your case. You can also discuss case strategy and legal options during your initial consultation.
Below are nine things to keep in mind for your free lawyer consultation:
1. Tell the Truth
Being honest with your lawyer will help them create a better case strategy. Your lawyer cannot effectively advise you without knowing all of the facts. Since your lawyer will be on your side for any legal claims you may make, the more information they have, the better.
2. Come Prepared with Documents
Bring your documents with you to the free consultation. Reviewing evidence will help the attorney provide you with sound legal advice and evaluate your case more accurately.
Some documents that are helpful to bring to your consultation include:
- Medical records
- Car accident report
- Photos and videos of the accident scene
- Insurance information
- Witness contact information and statements
If you decide to hire a lawyer after meeting for an initial consultation, bringing documents to the meeting can help initiate your case sooner.
3. Ask About Deadlines
In Illinois, you have two years to bring a personal injury claim. If you fail to bring your claim before the statute of limitations expires, you will be barred from recovering damages.
4. Inquire About Fees
The free consultation is the time to ask about the attorney’s fee arrangement and how much you are required to pay. Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This allows you to secure legal representation without paying out-of-pocket costs to initiate your case. If your case is successful, your attorney will receive a portion of your settlement or verdict.
5. Discuss Communication
Use the free consultation to assess whether the lawyer’s communication style will work for you. You should set expectations regarding updates on your case. Make sure that someone on the legal team will be available to speak with you if the lawyer is busy.
6. Ask About Experience
The lawyer’s past experience will often determine if they are a good fit to represent you. Ask the lawyer if they have handled cases similar to yours in a successful manner.
If a lawyer does not have extensive experience handling cases similar to yours, you should consider scheduling a free consultation with a different lawyer.
7. Find Out About How Much Your Case Is Worth
If the lawyer you are consulting with is experienced with cases like yours, they should be able to evaluate your case’s value in a preliminary manner. While the lawyer is unlikely to tell you exactly how much compensation you will receive, they can give you an idea of potential outcomes to expect as well.
8. Talk Timelines
A skilled personal injury lawyer can indicate how long your case is likely to take to be resolved. Timing will likely depend on whether your case is settled with the insurance company or goes to trial.
9. Ask How You Can Help
During your free consultation, ask about what your lawyer needs from you. You will need to be involved for your case to be successful.
When you clearly understand what your role will be and have asked any lingering questions, you can decide if the lawyer is a good fit for you.