If you or a loved one encounter any kind of legal situation requiring a personal injury lawyer in Alabama, your first meeting with a potential legal representative can be a daunting experience. It is essential for you to find an attorney with significant experience in the area of law who has the resources and skills to navigate your case to a successful conclusion. However, it can be challenging to determine how best to spend your time during an initial consultation.
Prepare for Your Consultation
Before requesting a free consultation with an attorney, take time to gather all of the materials and evidence you possess that pertain to your case. Having this ready ahead of your consultation will help streamline the entire process. Take time to develop a set of questions for the attorney that pertain to your specific case.
- “Do you think I have valid grounds for a lawsuit?”
- “What type of compensation can I expect if I win?”
- “How difficult will it be to secure a settlement or case award?”
- “How many cases like mine have you handled successfully in the past?”
- “Do you plan to pursue a settlement or take my claim to trial?”
- “How long will my case take?”
These are just a few examples of specific questions to ask about your case. Of course, if you are considering hiring an attorney you also want to be sure of the attorney’s qualifications. Develop more questions that pertain to the attorney and his or her practice and experience.
- “How long have you practiced law?”
- “Do you have any special qualifications or certifications other lawyers do not have?”
- “What is your success rate with cases like mine?”
- “Do you have professional contacts who could testify as expert witnesses on my behalf?”
- “What do you know about the court where my case will proceed?”
Start with these questions and then come up with several more that pertain to your case. Remember, an attorney offering a free consultation may not be willing to offer any actual legal advice until you agree to an attorney-client relationship, so your consultation may focus more on general legal information about your case until you agree to hire the attorney.
General Tips for Talking to Your Attorney
The initial consultation will be your first meeting with the attorney and you will have the option to agree to or decline legal representation. If the attorney believes your case holds merit, he or she will likely recommend proceeding with legal action and ask you to sign a contract for representation. Most personal injury attorneys offer representation on a contingency fee agreement, so there is nothing in it for them to represent a losing case. If an attorney who offers contingency fee billing says you have a winnable case, it is likely he or she is telling the truth.
Keep a few general tips in mind every time you speak with an attorney.
- Whenever you speak with your attorney once you agree to representation, everything you and your attorney discuss is protected information under attorney-client privilege. Your attorney cannot divulge any information about your case to anyone without your consent.
- Be honest, even if you think it could compromise your case. Your attorney cannot provide effective legal counsel if you keep information from him or her. If you are unsure whether to tell your attorney something as it pertains to your case, it is always best to err on the side of trusting your attorney. He or she needs as much information about your claim as possible to guide you to the fairest possible result.
- Come prepared for every meeting. If you have a scheduled meeting with your attorney, make sure you have everything you need for the meeting prepared in advance. If you are unclear about how to secure necessary paperwork or other materials, ask your attorney how to obtain what he or she needs.
Your attorney works for you, but it can still be difficult to know how to approach your first conversation with an attorney. Keep these best practices in mind and develop questions for your attorney as if you are interviewing him or her for a job because ultimately that is exactly what you are doing.