What Is a Free Consultation and How Does It Help My Claim?

defining free initial consultationsBeing hurt in an accident can be overwhelming. While you are recovering from your injuries, you may be wondering if you need to hire a lawyer to help with your claim.

Most personal injury law firms offer free consultations to accident victims, but exactly what does that mean? Is the consultation really free?

At the Arnold Law Firm, our initial consultations are completely free of charge. You are under no obligation to retain our services after meeting with us.

An initial consultation is intended to help you and the lawyer decide if you want work together. It gives you an opportunity to learn more about your rights and legal options before signing an agreement to formally hire a particular law firm.

During your free legal consultation, the following information will be addressed:

Case Assessment to Determine Eligibility

An important part of a free consultation is a case assessment where the lawyer will determine if you have a legitimate claim that the law firm can assist you with. He or she will need to consider several factors unique to your circumstances and may involve asking you about the kind of accident you were involved in, the injuries you sustained, and  whether anyone witnessed the incident. Be honest and open during this process so that the lawyer can give you accurate feedback on the potential legal options available to you.

Explanation of the Legal Process

Aside from discussing details of your case, the lawyer may also offer insight into filing a claim with the insurance company. Should you be eligible to take legal action, your attorney will guide you through the legal process to help you better understand what is involved, which may include:

  1. Investigating and gathering evidence
  2. Reviewing medical records to assess your injury
  3. Calculating the value of your damages
  4. Preparing a demand letter for compensation
  5. Negotiating with the insurer to obtain a fair settlement
  6. Filing a lawsuit if a settlement cannot be reached
  7. Going through the discovery process to gather additional evidence about the case from the other side and providing responses to questions asked by the other side
  8. Going through mediation to settle a case before trial
  9. Heading to trial, if necessary

A Sacramento personal injury lawyer from our firm will relay a general timeline on how long this process can take depending on your circumstances when you schedule a free consultation.

Opportunity to Ask and Answer Questions

Your free consultation gives you an opportunity to ask questions. Choosing a lawyer is very important. Hire someone you feel comfortable confiding in and working with. You want a lawyer who you feel you can trust and rely on every step of the way.

Consider asking questions such as:

  1. How long has the law firm been in practice?
  2. How long have you been an attorney?
  3. How long have you specialized in personal injury law?
  4. Do you have experience with handling cases that are similar to mine?
  5. Who at the law firm would be personally handling the case?
  6. How long does it typically take for these types of cases to settle?
  7. What factors could affect compensation?

Also be prepared to answer questions from the lawyer. He or she will be evaluating your situation as a legal case and whether the firm would be able to assist you.

Discuss Lawyer Fees and Costs for Services

Your free consultation should include a discussion of the fees a lawyer may charge, including an explanation of the fee arrangement.

Most personal injury law firms work on a contingency fee basis. This means that the lawyer fee depends on the outcome of the case and there are no upfront costs. The lawyer is not paid unless you are paid. Their fee is based on a percentage of the settlement amount or verdict.

Why a Lawyer May Not Take On a Case

Just as you are not obligated to hire a law firm after a free consultation, the lawyer does not have an obligation to take your case. Some reasons why a lawyer may not agree to take a case could include:

  1. The lawyer has a conflict of interest related to your case.
  2. The statute of limitations has expired in your case.
  3. Minor injuries not in need of treatment and/or lack of damages.
  4. Lack of evidence that the other side is liable for your injury.

If a law firm chooses to not take your case, they may explain why it isn’t a good fit. You may want to consult with another law firm for a second opinion.

We Are Available to Take Your Call 24/7

Do not delay seeking legal help when you’ve been injured in an accident. Call the Arnold Law Firm at 916-777-7777 for a free case evaluation. Our firm has more than four decades of experience helping many injured victims and their families throughout California.

Learn more about preparing for your first meeting with a personal injury lawyer today.

Arnold Law Firm. No Upfront Fees. (916) 777-7777.