One of the first steps you should take after being injured in any accident is to contact the personal injury lawyer of your choice. You do not have to wait. You can get a lawyer on your side on the day of the accident if you want to, and it’s usually a good idea.
Just about every New York personal injury lawyer offers free consultations, and we’re no exception. We wanted to give you an idea of what to expect if you schedule one.
Preparing For Your Consultation
If you’ve waited until after your initial hospital discharge to contact us, we’d ask you to gather some information before your appointment.
The information includes:
- Accident reports
- Medical records
- Insurance policies
- Photos or video from the scene
- The other party’s information, if you have it
- Incident reports
Ideally, you wouldn’t talk to the opposing party or insurance companies at all before you visit with us, but if you have, gather any information you have about those communications. Often, people do a lot of damage to their cases, trying to deal with insurance companies before retaining a personal injury attorney. We need to know what damage has been done and whether we can repair it.
Discussing Your Case
We have two jobs during your consultation: listening and asking questions. We are trying to obtain a thorough understanding of your case. We’re looking both for the facts of the case and for the impact the case has had on your life.
Be honest, even if you think you made mistakes or might have been partially responsible for the accident. We can address problematic elements when we know about them, but there’s nothing worse than being blindsided.
According to the American Bar Association, approximately 30% of clients lie to their lawyers at least once during the course of their representation. The most common reasons clients lie are to protect themselves from legal consequences, avoid embarrassment, make themselves look better, or even because they imagine lying might give them a better outcome on their case.
We’re not here to judge you, so don’t let any embarrassment you might feel keep you from arming us with all the information we need to do an outstanding job for you. Lying never helps your case. The other side almost always uncovers the problematic facts and can use them as a big “gotcha” if your own lawyer has taken you at face value.
Evaluating Your Legal Options
This is the consultation phase, where we evaluate your case’s merits and help you assess your legal options.
We explain the applicable laws and regulations, help you understand whether you have a valid claim under New York law, and help you understand what needs to happen next so you can pursue compensation.
In some cases, the lawyer might decline your case. This happens when the case isn’t strong enough to proceed. You can always get a second opinion, but this is important information too. If the lawyer won’t take your case and you’re being offered a settlement, what you’re hearing is that you should go ahead and take it.
Most of the time, we’re happy to take the case. We’ll walk you through our fee structure and set you up with a representation agreement.
Managing Your Lawyer-Client Relationship
You’ll be communicating closely with your attorney throughout the life of your case. It’s important to continue to send over relevant documents and information as your case progresses. It’s also important to ensure you’re directing insurance adjusters and representatives from the opposing party to your attorney rather than attempting to interact with them yourself.
At our office, we work hard to offer honest advice, to communicate clearly, and to communicate whenever there are relevant developments in your case. We also try to constantly display empathy simply because we know nobody calls us because they’re having a good time.
We’ll also investigate your case and negotiate with the defendant to get you the best possible settlement. After you reach maximum medical improvement, we should be able to give you a best-case value for your case and a worst-case value. We’ll be working to get your settlement between those two important numbers. The average case value in New York is around $287,000, though, of course, the final value of your settlement depends on several factors.
Ideally, we’ll develop a relationship of trust, and you’ll feel confident following our advice when the time comes.
Ready to get started? Reach out to schedule your free consultation today.