Taking legal action is sometimes the best strategy following a Florida injury in a car crash, slip-and-fall, or medical mistake. However, doing so is typically inadvisable without the aid of a Naples injury lawyer. The first step in that process may be something called a “free consultation.”
You may have heard the term, but how much insight/advice is actually included in that? What should you bring to it? What questions should you ask? If you schedule one, are you obligated to hire that lawyer/law firm? Will you actually speak with a lawyer of will the consultation be with a staff member?
The consultation is at no charge to you and a great opportunity for you to glean important information about your rights, what your case may be worth, the possible outcome, and how a lawyer might help you pursue damages. There is no obligation for you to hire that particular attorney during the consultation. In fact, it may be advisable to consult with more than one Naples injury lawyer before deciding which one you ultimately hire (if you hire one at all). It’s a risk-free way to gain a better understanding of your legal options and to make an educated choice about which attorney will be the best fit to help you do it.
What Exactly Happens During a Naples Injury Lawyer Consultation?
Most consultations take place over the phone or on a video conferencing call. For some situations, we extend the option of an in-person appointment. In certain circumstances, we may come to you.
In all cases, those who reach out to us have an opportunity to ask key questions not only about their case (viability, value and possible strategy), but also the attorney’s experience in that practice of law, the law firm’s resources, prior successes and more.
It’s also a chance for the attorney to ask important questions about your case. We’ll want to know how your injury happened, who you think may have been at-fault, what kind of evidence you’ve been able to collect on your own so far (or what might exist elsewhere) and how significantly this has affected you and your family.
If we think you’ve got a strong case, we’ll tell you so. If we think it’s a long shot, we’ll say so as well. It’s important to understand that while exact attorney’s fees can vary a bit depending on experience and one’s success rate, all Florida injury attorneys are paid on a contingency fee basis. What this means is if your case is not successful, you aren’t responsible to pay any attorney’s fees. If you do prevail, whether at settlement or trial, your attorney will be paid a previously-agreed percentage of that. This is important to understand upfront because if you don’t have a strong case, the attorney has little motivation to tell you otherwise. Still, you want to be sure the person you hire is someone you feel you can trust and with whom you have a good rapport.
Note that meeting with an attorney does not mean you’ve decided to file a lawsuit. In fact, your case may not even require that at all. Many cases can be resolved through negotiation with insurers, something the attorney will likely be able to tell you more about during this initial meeting.
How Should I Prepare for an Initial Consultation?
You’ll get the most out of the consultation if you come prepared. The lawyer or someone on staff may advise you if there’s something specific you should bring or send ahead of time, but in general, you want to bring as much pertinent information and evidence as possible. This may include (but isn’t limited to):
- Photographs or video recordings of the accident site/your injuries.
- Any police reports that were generated.
- Copies of any medical records and bills.
- Witness names and/or statements.
- Any relevant social media posts, voicemails, texts, etc.
- Notes you took during any conversations with insurers.
- Willingness to be open and honest with your attorney
It’s important during the conversation that you be as forthright and honest as possible. We understand some of it may be sensitive or embarrassing, but falsehoods or omissions are not going to help you or your lawyer. Keep in mind: Everything you discuss during the consultation is completely confidential. This is true whether you ultimately decide to hire that lawyer or not.
Finally, it’s a good idea to come prepared with some questions you know you want to ask, and check them off as you go so that you make sure you have as much information as possible about what to do next.
If you are injured in Fort Myers, Port Charlotte, Sarasota, Cape Coral, Naples or Key West, contact Garvin Injury Law at 800.977.7017 for a free initial consultation.
Consumer Pamphlet: Attorney’s Fees, Florida Bar Association
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How Do I Know If I Have a Florida Bad Faith Insurance Claim? March 11, 2021, Naples Injury Lawyer Blog