If you’re looking for a personal injury lawyer, you have likely heard the term “free consultation” over and over again. And while not having to pay anything is great, no one wants to waste time. Knowing how to talk to lawyers can help you make the most out of your free consultation. It can also help you get the best representation your attorney can provide.
Remember, communication is key. Here are 5 tips to remember when talking to personal injury lawyers—courtesy of our very own at Lawton Cates.
5 Tips for Communicating Effectively with Lawyers
1. Tell the Whole Story
The whole point of talking to a lawyer is to see if you have a case, how good your chances are of winning, and how much compensation you may be entitled to. Although you don’t want to use up the whole consultation sharing your side of the story, you will need to at least start with the overall summary.
When consulting an attorney, accident victims should touch on the following points:
- Who was the other person/company involved in the accident?
- What caused the accident?
- What were you (the victim) doing right before the accident?
- Do you share any blame for the accident?
- What were your injuries?
- How long did it take you to heal?
- What other negative impacts has the accident had on your life?
Although you should not answer these questions for an insurance adjuster, you should answer them for your attorney. Remember, an insurance adjuster is working against your best interest; your attorney is working to protect your best interest.
2. Be Honest—Everything You Say Is Confidential
It is very important to be honest with your lawyer. Their goal is to build a strong case, as well as have an argument ready should the defense bring up any weak points during trial. If you do not give them accurate information, they will not be able to do either.
Fortunately, anything you tell your lawyer is privileged information. They cannot and will not disclose anything you say to others.
3. Ask About Your Rights
Do you have a right to file a civil lawsuit? Or will you need to file for workers’ compensation? How much compensation are you owed? The answers to these questions will depend on the facts and circumstances of your case.
Under Wisconsin law, for example, your compensation is limited to your share of fault for the accident. And if there are multiple people responsible for the accident, you may need to file multiple claims.
Make sure to ask your lawyer about your rights, such as:
- Do you have a right to file a personal injury claim?
- Does your injury qualify for compensation? If so, for what damages?
- Who would need to pay out this compensation?
- Is there a time limit to filing a claim?
4. Ask About the Best-Case Scenario—and the Worst
Next, ask your lawyer what the best possible outcome is for your case. A good lawyer will not make any promises. (Be wary of any lawyer who promises they will win your case.) Still, they should at least be able to inform you of the best-case scenario.
Make sure to also ask about the worst possible outcome. What would that look like for your case? And how likely is it to happen?
Knowing the risks of taking legal action is extremely important. This is not just a case—it’s your future. You know that, and you need an attorney who knows that too. You don’t want to miss out on compensation because a seedy lawyer gave you poor legal advice.
5. There Are No Dumb Questions
Beyond the best- and worst-case scenarios, don’t be afraid to ask any questions as they come up. The legal process can seem confusing if this is your first time going through it. Truth be told, it can be just as confusing the second and third time around.
A lawyer’s job is to make navigating the legal process easier for you. They are both your advocate and your guide. There are absolutely no dumb questions when talking to them.
On the other hand, if you find that your lawyer is mistaken about one of the facts you went over, politely correct them. Even one misunderstanding (such as where the accident happened) could change your legal rights.
Successfully talking to a lawyer requires honesty, curiosity, and patience on both sides. Hopefully, these tips will help you pick the best lawyer for your case, knowing full well that you two are on the same page.
Find Out if We’re the Right Fit for You
At Lawton Cates, we have represented injured Wisconsin residents since 1958. We prioritize our clients, taking the time to give them one-on-one attention. We will listen to your side of the story and address your needs and concerns. Our case results speak for themselves.
Let us help you move forward after an accident. We offer free consultations, with zero obligation to hire our firm. That way, you can see if we’re the right fit for your case in a risk-free setting. What’s more, we accept cases on contingency fees—there’s no charge unless we win.
Talk to a Wisconsin injury lawyer today! Call (608) 420-4033 or reach us through an online contact form.