For many, meeting with a lawyer is uncharted territory and not something you will do regularly. It may seem overwhelming and you might not know what to expect from the initial meeting. To relieve any apprehensions you may have it’s a good idea to get organised beforehand. Here are some handy tips to guide you through the meeting process seamlessly.
Questions to ask at first contact
Your lawyer should advise you of what to bring when you make an appointment, if they don’t you should ask them. Ask if they charge for the initial consultation or not and what their fee structure is.
Before appointing a lawyer to represent you its important that they specialise in the area of law you need help with. To get the best outcome for your case you should find someone who specialises in matters similar to yours. Once you have researched firms and narrowed down your choices, you can then make an appointment. Gather necessary medical paperwork and documentation and write down anything that you think may be relevant to your case including question and contact details of pertinent people. If you can, it’s best to write a timeline of events as soon as you can after the incident when still fresh in your mind. Try to write down as much as you can even minor details that you think may not be relevant. The date and times should be noted along with any witnesses. It’s wise to keep a detailed account of everything relating to your injury, including costs, travel, time off work etc. Having everything in writing increases the likelihood of receiving an outcome you are happy with. Present all documentation to the lawyer. This can save having to book an additional appointment due to lack of paperwork and gets the ball rolling faster.
Attend the meeting
The first meeting is an opportunity for you to establish your rights and to gather as much information as you can. Take notes as you go, you can look back on these later if needed. The lawyer will ask you a series of questions to obtain an in-depth understanding of the events leading up to the incident and the incident itself. From the information gathered, they will advise you of whether you have a good case for a claim, what the best approach is given your situation and what to expect. Remember, you don’t have to go with the first lawyer you meet with. If you don’t feel comfortable with them, organise to meet with others until you find the one think will represent you best.
Questions to ask at your meeting
If there is anything you do not understand, make sure you ask the lawyer to clarify or run through what they are saying in layman terms if they are using complex legal jargon. Don’t be afraid to ask questions as you need to understand what they are saying. Here are some good questions to get you started:
- If the firm works on a “No Win, No Fee” basis you should ask if it is all-inclusive or if there are some things you will need to pay for along the way.
- If there are costs, what are they and when am I expected to pay?
- Based on your circumstances, ask how likely it is that your case will be successful
- How long does the process take?
- Do I need additional evidence or information to support my claim?
- Will you keep me updated throughout the process?
- What can I claim for based on my situation?
Make sure you have a full understanding of the cost agreement and clear up any areas of uncertainty before signing. Your lawyer should explain this to you and have a breakdown of the costs listed. Take the time to read this to avoid any hidden surprises down the track that can see you forking out money you hadn’t considered or budgeted for.
Discuss your expectations
You and your lawyer can talk about your expectations and what is realistic and not. It is good to have these types of open discussions to avoid disappointment. An experienced lawyer will have a breadth of experience and can give you an idea of what you can expect given your circumstances.
After your meeting
Complete tasks your lawyer has set you
If your lawyer has asked you for something such as medical records, contact numbers, further documentation etc, ensure you organise this and get it back them as soon as you can so no delays are preventing your claim from progressing.
Keep in contact
If there have been any changes to circumstances or you have remembered details that you previously left out, ensure you update your lawyer as soon as possible as it may affect your case.
Need a lawyer?
Being prepared enables you to get the most from your meetings, this is especially important if you are paying for every communication upfront, you want to be sure you are getting your money’s worth. If you are looking for an expert injury lawyer, our team can help. South East Injury Lawyers have more than 15 years experience representing Queenslanders and we know what it takes to successfully get you the compensation you need to get you back on your feet. For a free consultation with one of our senior representatives, get in touch today.