People who have been injured often wonder what to expect upon calling an attorney. Today, we’d like to diffuse some of the stress that comes with the uncertainty of what to expect when contacting an attorney for the first time.
Is this your first time contacting an attorney? Here is what to expect:
First, the attorney will ask you a few very basic questions about the purpose of your call, a general description of what happened, and what type of injuries have been sustained. Depending on the details provided, the attorney will determine how urgent your matter is and what steps you should take first.
Most people are so shocked by their accident/injury that they forget to treat their injuries. Injury attorneys typically advise people to get treated as soon as possible, if not for the obvious physical benefit, then to get a complete record that can be used as evidence. Keep in mind, all of this is still free advice and you have not formed an attorney/client privilege unless both parties agree on representation. Based on your initial details the attorney will determine whether you have a case or not, at which point you can choose them to represent you.
Upon agreement, your attorney will advise you on the following:
- Not to discuss the incident with any other party or representation of that party. You will be asked not to make any statements to the other party that may potentially be used against you.
- Seek immediate medical attention for the benefit of your own health and to obtain a complete medical record to be used in your case.
- Recall events that you may have missed in your general description of the situation and write it all down as soon as possible. Your attorney will also take notes on everything you tell them.
You will be asked if any photos were taken of the incident or the injury and if it’s still possible to photograph the injury, to do so right away. You will be asked to preserve any evidence and not tamper with it in any way. For example, if a product caused your injury, you will be asked to leave it/photograph it in the exact state when the injury occurred (that means no getting repairs or trying to fix anything yourself). If you were involved in a slip and fall, you may be asked to preserve your shoes by isolating them and preventing further use.
Your attorney will ask you for other details such as witnesses to the incident, your personal contact details, etc.
You will be briefed on what to expect next, whether an in-person meeting is required and what sort of things should be brought to the meeting. Sometimes an in-person meeting may not be required at all unless specifically desired by the client. You will be given a chance to ask any questions or make any comments regarding anything that has been discussed.
It is important that all of your questions and concerns are addressed during your initial phone conversation. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you are unsure about what happens next, what the fee arrangement is, or anything at all for that matter, be sure to ask.