Free lawyer consultations are not uncommon, they are offered by most personal injury law firms. The purpose of the case review is primarily two-fold:
- For the lawyer to assess the details of a case and to make an initial determination, based on his/her experience, on the likely outcome of pursuing a claim.
- For the claimant to assess the lawyer’s reputation and experience in handling similar cases.
Personal injury attorneys do not want to take a frivolous claim to court, so as well as benefiting the claimant, an early case evaluation also works to the benefit of the attorney and the court system. When a law firm takes your personal injury case, it is generally because they believe you have some compensation standing on some level. It is in no one’s real interest to pursue a case that has little chance of ending in a financial settlement for the claimant.
One of the first things our lawyers will try to ascertain during the free case review is whether or not you bore some level of fault for the accident or injury. This is a critical matter in North Carolina as it is one of a handful of states that still operate under the contributory negligence law. If it’s clear to an attorney that you bore some responsibility for your injuries, then the attorney may advise against you pursuing a claim. However, there may be other options open to you, so at this initial meeting it is important that you present all known facts of the case and allow the attorney to make an accurate assessment.
Free lawyer consultations are similar to job interviews to some extent. Injured parties are essentially trying to determine if the attorney is the right person for the job. Injured claimants should bring all of the available information relating to the incident, and what transpired at the scene. It is always a good idea to obtain a copy of the official accident report as this will allow the attorney to make a better determination if a negligence case exists. If an insurance claim has already been denied, the denial letter can contain important information for a prospective lawyer also. Other than examining any paperwork you may have collected, the initial interview is essentially an exchange of questions between the injured victim and the intake evaluation attorney.
Good questions to ask begin with requesting information on how many cases like yours the law firm has represented. This is also important for family members who will be assisting seriously injured claimants. Seriously injured claimants often have individuals helping during these case reviews, such as a spouse or another family member. Sometimes a representative should be appointed when the victim is incapacitated and an experienced personal injury attorney can help with this designation without necessarily taking the case. The biggest question most claimants will have will be concerning availability of a claim and its projected value based on the evidence and the attorney’s experience of handling similar cases. For reasons that should be obvious, it is likely that any reputable attorney will be non-comital when it comes to discussing settlement values. Though some ballpark figure might be quoted as having been obtained in a similar case, the attorney will refrain from discussing specific claim figures at this early stage.
The intake attorney will also have some specific questions regarding the case. Obviously there are many types of cases and the questions will be specific to the type of claim you have. For example, in an auto accident case the attorney will want to know if you were behind the wheel at the time of the accident or a passenger. Drivers are denied claims at a much higher rate than passengers due to the contributory negligence law. The attorney will also want to know if any statement was given to the police if it is not included on the official accident report. Individuals with standing for a premises liability claim will not always have an accident report, but hospital records can help if there is no ambulatory report. They will also want to know details about the accident scene because even technical information can matter significantly when liability is being determined in an insurance claim negotiation or at a future court hearing.
The Choice of Lawyer Is Important
Pursuing more than one lawyer consultation is a good idea for an injured victim who is not satisfied with an initial interview. Just as in the medical field, a second opinion on your case may reveal useful information and other options to pursue a claim. While one attorney may not be right for the legal task, the next one may be exactly what is required. The most important step on your part is selecting a lawyer with a solid track record of success in obtaining maximum financial compensation for clients with a similar case to yours, and for ensuring he or she is someone you will be comfortable working with. We have several resources to help provide you with tips for selecting the right lawyer for your case, including these:
- 7 Things to Consider When Hiring an Auto Accident Lawyer In NC
How A Skilled Lawyer Can Make A Difference In A Motorcycle Accident Case
How the Contributory Negligence Law Affects Your Personal Injury Case in North Carolina
While we’ve talked about personal injury cases and car accident claims, our legal services extend to the following types of claims:
- MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENTS
- TRUCK ACCIDENTS
- SS DISABILITY
- WRONGFUL DEATH
- WORKERS’ COMP
- ELDER ABUSE
- CLASS ACTION LAWSUITS
To schedule a free consultation with an attorney at Kellum Law Firm, click here – free case review.
Or call 1-800-ACCIDENT 24/7