Seeking a personal injury settlement with the help of a car accident lawyer in Houston, TX can help you recover money for your losses. In Texas, the at-fault driver is responsible for covering all of the damages, including medical bills and lost wages. While the average car accident settlement is around $15,000, many cases settle for more. The first time you meet with a lawyer, they will help you estimate the value of your claim and your chances of winning.
How to Prepare for Your First Meeting With a Car Accident Lawyer
Your first meeting is a chance for you to ask questions about the legal process. It’s also a time when you can tell your side of the story, explaining how the accident happened according to the details you remember. While you are not expected to spend a lot of time preparing for the meeting, you may want to put together a list of questions and gather any evidence you have on hand.
Understand the Purpose of the Initial Consultation
Your first meeting with a lawyer happens before the client-attorney relationship is official. Lawyers give their clients a chance to get to know them before committing, and vice versa. Most personal injury firms offer this initial consultation for free. For the client, it is an opportunity to assess whether or not the lawyer is a good match for the case.
Before the Meeting, Check the Credibility of the Firm
You can save yourself time by scheduling a consultation after you have determined that the law firm is credible and that the lawyer specializes in personal injury law. Within this legal niche, he or she should have ample experience with car accident cases.
You can check online reviews, both on the firm’s site and on objective third-party sites. You can also look into the kinds of cases the firm has successfully argued in the past, being sure to note how much compensation was won on behalf of the clients.
Prepare Your Questions
Especially if you’ve never been involved in a car accident before, you may want to use your time to clarify aspects of the process with which you are unfamiliar. Some answers may be general, while others will be specific to the firm. Here are some questions that you might want to ask:
- Which of my losses are eligible for compensation?
- Based on the available evidence, is it likely that I can secure a personal injury settlement or a court-ordered payout?
- Could an investigation reveal additional sources of evidence?
- Are you willing to litigate on my behalf if my claim is rejected?
- Do you work on a flat fee or a contingency fee basis?
- How are court fees handled in the event of a trial?
- Have you argued cases similar to mine in the past?
Review the Details of the Accident
You should be prepared to explain how the accident happened. Your attorney will act in your best interests exclusively and will focus on evidence that minimizes your role while demonstrating the other driver’s negligence. If there are indications that you might be partially to blame, you should share that information with your lawyer so that he or she can prepare counterarguments against the other side.
Before going in for the meeting, you should review the location of the accident, the time of day or night it occurred, and what the road and weather conditions were like. If you remember details such as the other driver’s failure to use a turn signal or indications that he or she was texting, you should be ready to share those specifics with the lawyer.
Gather Any Documentation You Have
One of the most important services a lawyer can offer you is a thorough investigation into the causes of the accident and the damages for which you may be eligible. To win compensation from the other driver, you will need to be able to show that they caused the accident, which in turn caused you to experience losses.
If you do not already have any documentation of the crash or of your injuries, you should still feel comfortable meeting with a lawyer. He or she will help you collect the evidence you need as you move further along in the process of submitting your claim. However, it could be helpful to show the lawyer any of the following items you already have:
- Photos and videos of the two cars immediately following the crash
- The number of your insurance policy
- The other driver’s name and contact info
- The name of the other driver’s insurance company
- The other driver’s plate number
- Physicians’ notes from your ER visit
- The names of responding officers and the number of the police report, if one was created
- The names of any bystanders who witnessed the accident
Ask How the Attorney Will Handle Any Complicating Factors
Before agreeing to work with an attorney, it is a good idea to get a sense of how he or she will handle the nuances of your case. If you are concerned that you may be ineligible for compensation because you were partially responsible for the crash or because you had a preexisting condition at the time of the accident, talk to the lawyer about the issue. He or she might have information that could make you feel more confident.
In the case of shared responsibility, you should know that you may still be eligible for compensation. If a preexisting condition is your concern, your lawyer will likely tell you that you have the right to claim an amount of money equal to the cost of compensating any new injuries you incurred and/or the aggravation of an old injury. These are just two examples of contingencies that your lawyer may be able to overcome.
Be Ready to Receive a Case Assessment
The first meeting with a personal injury attorney usually concludes with a case assessment. Many clients find it helpful to take notes during this part of the discussion. The lawyer will explain how likely you are to receive a settlement or a court-ordered payout based on the conversation the two of you have had over the course of the consultation.
In a personal injury case, you may be eligible to receive compensation for all of your medical expenses, the income you missed while recovering, and the amount of pain and stress you experienced as a result of the accident. You may also be able to claim punitive damages in cases involving drunk driving or other egregious behaviors.
Pursue Your Personal Injury Settlement With a Car Accident Attorney in Houston, TX
Our attorneys are available to discuss your case and answer any questions you have. We are committed to obtaining justice for our clients, especially those who have experienced avoidable injuries at the hands of others. To set up a consultation in Spanish or English, you can call 713-597-6013.
We understand the amount of stress that goes into dealing with an accident. We want you to feel comfortable with our legal process right from the very first meeting. We will take the time to understand how your case can be resolved in your best interests, and we will fight relentlessly for an optimal outcome. To pursue your case with an experienced, knowledgeable car accident lawyer in Houston, TX, contact Houston Injury Lawyers, PLLC.