If you have been injured in an automobile accident, you deserve to be compensated for your injuries. However, just because you should be compensated doesn’t mean the other party’s insurance company will reimburse you without a fight. Handling an accident’s aftermath and ensuring that you are fairly reimbursed can be grueling, so you’ll want an auto accident lawyer experienced in accident claims representing your case in Houston, TX.
How Should I Prepare for a Meeting With an Auto Accident Lawyer?
When you’re meeting with the car accident lawyer who may be representing you for the first time, you’ll want to bring every bit of information you can provide relating to your accident. The attorney will determine if they wish to take your case, and you will decide if you want them to represent you.
Providing extensive documentation ensures that you begin your working relationship with transparency. By following these steps, you can make sure your claim is off to a strong start and that your first meeting with your lawyer is fruitful.
Save All Correspondence Regarding the Accident
Depending on how quickly you contact a lawyer, the claims adjuster for the other driver may have already reached out to you through traditional mail, email, or telephone. If this happens, save the correspondence if it is through email or standard mail, and make a detailed note about the date, time, and conversation they call you.
Remember that you’ll want to avoid responding before you have a lawyer. Insurance adjusters will try to convince you to admit fault in the accident and twist your words to dodge compensating you for your injuries.
Your accident lawyer will extensively investigate the accident to uncover evidence proving your statements are valid. Any evidence you’ve already collected that strengthens your case will benefit them as they assess your claim.
Some evidence that can help strengthen your claim includes photographs of the accident, the police report, eyewitness statements, medical records, and bills and statements from expenses related to the accident. Even though your lawyer will do their own investigation, any information you provide will help them figure out the best way to approach your claim.
Keep a “Post-Accident” Journal
Starting a journal as soon as possible following the accident is a wise move that many victims do not consider. Since you may not remember facts such as your daily pain level, having a record ensures you ask for appropriate compensation for pain and suffering. Your first entry should be a detailed account of what you remember from the accident, and subsequent days should show how the accident has impacted your everyday life.
This impact could include things as seemingly insignificant as you no longer being able to attend your favorite spin class or more severe things like you being unable to climb the stairs to reach your bedroom. While you may feel silly documenting everything about the accident, even facts that seem insignificant could benefit you later.
Compile a List of Questions
Even though a large portion of this meeting will revolve around the lawyer asking you questions about the accident, you’ll get to ask your own questions too. Making a list of questions in advance prevents you from forgetting to ask critical questions when speaking with your attorney for the first time. Some questions you want to ask the attorney include:
Do You Have Experience Handling Accident Claims Similar to This One?
Even if a lawyer specializes in a particular field, that doesn’t mean they have been successful with their efforts. They could be new to this type of law or only do it part-time. The majority of jurisdictions now allow lawyers to share information about other cases, so if your area allows it, you should ask about your lawyer’s prior success rate.
Do You Have Trial Experience?
While most car accident claims settle without going to court, you’ll want to know your lawyer is experienced in the courtroom, just in case. When claims escalate to the courtroom, it usually means that the insurance company is very confident in its ability to win the case. If that occurs, you’ll want a seasoned lawyer handling your case, not a lawyer new to courtroom dynamics.
Will You Handle This Case Directly?
It’s common for cases to be handled by case managers and even junior attorneys. The managers and junior lawyers are usually entirely qualified to handle your case, but if you want your claim handled by a specific lawyer, you’ll want to ask. It’s essential to find out who will complete the legwork on your case before committing to a law firm.
Do You Work on a Contingency Basis?
Most personal injury attorneys and auto accident lawyers will not charge directly for their services. Instead, they will take a percentage of any winnings received from a settlement or successful trial outcome. This payment method is called a contingency fee since the attorney receiving payment is contingent on them securing your compensation.
How Long Do You Think the Case Will Take?
When you are out of work and medical bills are piling up, you’ll grow more and more stressed if you don’t know how close you are to the end. You’ll also want to have an estimate of how long your day-to-day life will be interrupted by evidence collection, legal proceedings, and investigative medical visits.
Unfortunately, your lawyer won’t be able to give you a guaranteed answer since numerous factors can cause a trial to be delayed. Still, they should be able to provide you with a rough estimate based on their prior experience.
What Can I Do to Improve My Case?
While you can certainly sit back and allow your lawyer to handle all the legwork, you may be able to improve your odds of a high payout by becoming invested. Participating in your case by visiting doctors, collecting records, and talking to investigators, can increase your odds of a generous settlement offer. As your attorney is attempting to secure you the best payout possible, you’ll want to do anything they recommend to increase your chances of a successful claim.
If You and I Disagree on Accepting a Settlement, Will You Yield to My Choice?
Some attorneys will be trying to get a quick payoff, while others may be pushing for you to hold out for as much money as possible. One option isn’t better than the other; it’s just a matter of which is right for you. While you’ll want to take your attorney’s opinion into account, at the end of the day, you’ll want to know that your lawyer will respect your wishes and not withdraw from representing you if they think you should settle and you aren’t sure.
Find a Skilled Auto Accident Lawyer in Houston, TX
When you are dealing with the fallout of an accident, you’ll want a knowledgeable accident lawyer who has gone to trial in Houston, TX, before handling your case. With your claim in the hands of a professional, you will have peace of mind knowing your odds of receiving a fair settlement are high.
Don’t be left navigating filing a claim and pursuing compensation alone. Instead, contact Houston Injury Lawyers and let us help you during this challenging time.