What Should I Expect When I Meet With My Seattle Personal Injury Attorney?
Meeting with a Lawyer for the First Time
During your first meeting with your personal injury attorneys after an accident or injury, they’ll want to hear about what happened and will collect a variety of information from you. The length of the initial interview can vary depending on your particular circumstances and your injuries. In straightforward cases such as car accidents, the first meeting probably won't take very long, especially if you come prepared. In more complex cases, such as wrongful death, the initial interview will usually take longer.
The highly qualified Seattle personal injury attorneys at Hardwick & Pendergast law firm will provide you with this initial consultation free of charge, at no obligation to you. Call toll free at (888) 228-3860.
Initial Meeting With an Injury Attorney in Seattle
During the meeting, your lawyer will ask you a number of questions, in order to help you find the best solution for your case. Your lawyer will want to know facts about your medical treatment, others involved in the accident, potential witnesses, and more. He or she will also discuss practical aspects of your case such as what services the law firm will provide during the claims process, the way contingency fees work, and the kinds of results you can expect in your case.
Here is an idea of what you can expect during your first meeting with a personal injury attorney:
- You may be asked to sign a form authorizing the release of your medical information from healthcare providers, so the firm can obtain your medical records on your behalf.
- You will need to provide information about all your insurance coverages.
- You will be asked if you have talked to any insurance adjustors and if so, what you have said and whether you provided a recorded or written statement about the accident or injury.
- The attorney will ask if anyone else has interviewed you about the accident or your injuries, and if so, with whom you spoke and the details of what was discussed.
- If your injuries aren’t obvious, you may be asked about the current status of your injuries – whether you are in pain and what your prognosis is.
- You will be advised to see your doctor if you have any lingering physical problems or complaints. Understand that if you don't see your doctor and later decide to pursue a legal claim for your injuries, the defendant may argue that you aren't seriously hurt, on the theory that no doctor visits indicates no medical problems.
- The attorney may decide to consider your case, and to contact you shortly after the meeting to discuss your legal options. This is a common practice in injury cases, so you should not read anything into it.
- The attorney may ask you to sign a fee agreement or contract for representation. Read the contract carefully and ask questions before you sign it. You should be able to take the contract home to study it before signing.
- The attorney will tell you what the next steps are. There may be a factual investigation before a lawsuit is filed or settlement is considered, and the lawyer may be able to give you a rough estimate of how long it will take to resolve the case.
- The attorney will tell you not to talk about the case with others and that you should refer questions back to him or her.
What Happens When the Personal Injury Attorney Agrees to Take the Case?
If the Seattle personal injury attorney agrees to take your case, he or she will:
- Contact the responsible insurance company or companies and make sure all future communication comes directly to the attorney. The other insurance company is prohibited from contacting you directly and you won’t need to respond to or send any correspondence.
- Coordinate all benefits you may have under your personal injury protection (PIP), L&I and DSHS coverage for medical bills, lost wages and home care.
- Work with your healthcare providers to obtain your records for a thorough understanding of your injury.
- Assist with property damage claims.
- Handle all of the paperwork, investigation and correspondence.