If you’ve recently been involved in a car accident, you may find yourself feeling shaken and shocked. You may have been fine and completely healthy one day, and almost entirely disabled the next. It can happen in an instant, and when it does, it’s unsettling and overwhelming to say the least. If you find yourself in this situation, you may be feeling all of these things – and all of these feelings are understandable. What you shouldn’t be feeling, however, is that you are alone, or without options in this situation. In fact, quite the contrary is true.
If you are the victim of a car accident for which you were not at fault, you may be entitled to damages, and you should make every effort to obtain them if so. Last year alone in the state of North Carolina, there were almost 320,000 car accidents. They happen daily, and in many (though certainly not all) cases, they are entirely the fault of one driver. Often, people are unfamiliar with the process of filing a claim, or simply don’t understand their rights under the law, and as a result, they forego compensation that they would legally be entitled to.
Don’t let this become your situation. Instead, make sure you talk to an attorney about your accident, and your potential for recovering compensation as soon as possible. If you’ve never met with an attorney or filed a car accident claim before, it is only understandable that prior to your initial consultation, you’ll want to feel prepared and know what to expect.
The initial consultation is a client’s first meeting with an attorney for two primary purposes: discussing the potential merits of a case, and getting to know the attorney and the services that he or she may be able to offer. It is a chance for both parties to get to know each other and essentially, to see if they would be a good fit to move forward with the case together. Depending upon the attorney and your personal schedule and needs, the consultation might take place in person, or it could take place over the phone. Many attorneys are flexible in this regard. The most important thing is that you make time to talk together.
At the consultation, the attorney typically wants to learn the history of the client’s accident, as well as a little bit about the client personally. The attorney may ask about how the accident occurred, the nature and extent of the injuries it caused, and the medical treatment that has been provided. The attorney may also want to know a bit about the client’s medical history, and whether or not he or she has any other pre-existing conditions that were affected by the accident or that impact his or her condition.
Beyond the attorney learning about the client however, the initial consultation is also a good time for the client to learn about the attorney. This is the time that a client should ask the attorney about his or her fee structure, strategy for practicing cases, success rate, and experience level. It’s also a good time simply to get to know each other and get a feel for whether or not your personalities might work well together.
In addition to asking questions and getting to know each other, your attorney might also want you to bring certain documents to the initial consultation. These can be anything from medical records showing your diagnosis and the treatment you have received, to police reports documenting the accident, to pay stubs showing your salary, or insurance policies. The attorney might want to review these documents to get a more comprehensive idea about your potential claim and the best way to move forward.