After a car wreck, your mind is reeling and you are struggling to figure out what to do. You thought you had good insurance but the other guy’s insurance is giving you the runaround. They aren’t paying for what they should pay for, they aren’t telling you what you need to do, and they are calling you asking you to settle. Don’t.
You have so many questions so you google personal injury lawyers or maybe you post on facebook asking for a recommendation. You finally get to a website like this one and you are ready to pull the trigger because you feel like you need your “free consultation.”
There are at least 4 things you should do BEFORE you talk to a personal injury lawyer. Let me explain:
Before Meeting A Personal Injury Lawyer
1. Go to the doctor for your treatment
If you have been injured in a car accident or through the negligence of another, you shouldn’t make decisions about your medical treatment based off a lawyers advice. If your doctor says you should do something, you should do it. You shouldn’t wait to talk to a lawyer before getting your medical treatment. In fact, if you wait too long, then you won’t be able to claim certain injuries that are not documented timely in your medical records.
Experts often call this analysis paralysis. You have to often have to analyze every little detail before you pull the trigger. But it is simple: if you are hurt, you go to the doctor. If that doctor can’t help you, she will refer you to another doctor. If you are not hurt, you do not have a personal injury case.
2. Request your declarations page and a full copy of your insurance policy
You need to know what your options are. Yes, I know the other guy caused your injuries and your insurance shouldn’t be responsible. But, you pay a premium each month for insurance and it is there for a reason. If you have medical expense payments (med pay), then it could make going to the doctor a lot easier. Simply put, it doesn’t drain your bank account.
If the other guy didn’t have insurance, then you could be forced to make a claim on your uninsured motorist policy. If the guy who hit you doesn’t have enough insurance, you could be forced to make a claim on your underinsured motorist policy.
You don’t know what you don’t know and most people don’t know what kinds of insurance they have. I often find myself explaining this at the very beginning of every representation. It helps if you have a copy of your declarations page and a full copy of your policy.
3. Research the specific issue you are dealing with
If you are dealing with a shoulder, foot, brain injury, then research the treatments associated with those injuries. Also research other case results with those same injury types. While every case is different, you can get a bit of an idea about how your case will proceed.
If you are dealing with a med pay issue, or a property damage issue, or a case value issue, then research each of those issues on google. If you find a lawyer who has handled those issues before and provides comprehensive guidance that you can understand about what to do in those situations, call that lawyer. If you see a website that is essentially a glorified yellow pages ad, then think twice. That lawyer isn’t committed to educating you about the process of your personal injury case. That process is important, complicated, and sometimes very lengthy. You need to know what you are in for.
Consider the alternative, though. You find a website with videos, blog articles, case results, FAQ answers, etc. Any question you might have should have a general discussion on that lawyer’s website.
4. Ask for free educational materials from several lawyers
Every personal injury lawyer should be trying to educate the general public and his or her clients about the types of cases that the lawyer handles. Ask that lawyer for free educational materials written by him or her about that help you learn the ins and outs of your case. If a lawyer hasn’t prepared any educational material for you to learn from, perhaps that lawyer won’t spend the time or effort to educate you later.
If you do all of these things, you will be fully prepared before you meet with a personal injury lawyer. If you don’t, you won’t know the right questions to ask and you may make a big mistake hiring the wrong law firm for your case.
Give us a call if you want to know if your case is one we handle. We don’t offer free consultations because those have become cliché and essentially a sales meeting. Instead, we offer free strategy sessions and we give people information. Information is power. If you choose to hire us to represent you and your case fits our practice, then we are happy to work together to help you pursue your case.