9 Things You Should Know About a Free Fort Walton Beach Injury Lawyer Consultation
Paul Brannon | January 25, 2022 | Personal Injury
If you have sustained an injury or been involved in an accident, you may be thinking about taking advantage of a free consultation with a lawyer. It is important to begin by researching reputable injury attorneys in the Fort Walton Beach area.
Some of the most common personal injuries that may lead you seek out an injury attorney include:
Most personal injury lawyers offer free consultations to accident victims. These meetings allow you to seek legal advice without any financial risks. However, there are certain things you should know before requesting a free case review from an attorney. Below, we will discuss nine things you should know about personal injury consultations.
1. Statutes of Limitations May Apply
A statute of limitations is a legal time limit for victims who choose to pursue a civil claim after an accident or injury. It is important to make sure that the statute of limitations has not passed in your case before you seek a consultation.
Most personal injury cases in Florida have a statute of limitations of four years. Others have shorter time limits. If you fail to file your lawsuit within the time limit, Florida law will bar you from recovering damages.
2. Get to Know Your Lawyer
Do not simply call the first attorney that shows up in an online search for a “personal injury lawyer near me.” Instead, you should read reviews of any firm or attorney you are considering.
You can get to know your lawyer better by looking at their Google My Business profile. Or you can check their reviews on major rating services like Avvo. These will give you a basic idea of how a lawyer’s former clients feel about the services they received. This, in turn, may help you decide who — or who not — to hire.
3. Bring Documents
When you arrive for your consultation, you should bring documents that are related to your case.
Some of the most relevant information and documents include:
- Photographs of injuries or the accident
- Police accident reports
- Medical records and doctor’s notes
- Insurance information
Your attorney will review this material to get a full picture of your situation. This evidence will help them to understand the best course of action in your case. And it will allow them to make the most of your free consultation.
4. Take Notes
As soon as possible after your accident, you should take notes to detail your experience. Over time, it will be difficult to remember all the important facts and details of your accident or injuries.
Write down the following information in your notes:
- Time and place of the accident
- Weather conditions
- Witness contact information
- Nature and severity of your injuries
You should bring these notes to your initial consultation with your lawyer. This information will be useful as your attorney explores your legal options.
5. Your Lawyer Will Ask You Questions
During your legal consultation, the attorney will ask plenty of questions about your accident and injuries. This will help them to understand your case better. It will also help them to know how you will respond to questioning in case your claim requires a trial.
Keep in mind that most communications between you and your attorney are confidential. Therefore, your attorney may ask sensitive questions to get to the important facts in your case. This could be the difference between winning fair compensation and walking away with nothing.
6. Prepare Questions for Your Lawyer Beforehand
Before attending the initial meeting, write down any questions you have for the lawyer. The consultation is a good opportunity to learn whether this particular attorney is right for you.
Some relevant questions include:
- What is your success rate?
- Who will I talk to about my case?
- Will my case be handled by an attorney?
- Have you handled this type of case before?
- How does your firm handle payments?
- Do you believe I can recover damages?
Your lawyer has heard these questions before. So, do not shy away from asking them. The answers will help you set expectations for your case and your attorney-client relationship. If your lawyer is hesitant to answer your questions, they are probably not for you.
7. You Can Discuss the Viability of Your Case
During the consultation, the attorney should discuss the viability of your case. You may not need or be able to sue the other party, depending on the details of your accident. Your attorney must calculate the statute of limitations in your case to determine if you still have time to file a claim. Likewise, they must do a preliminary assessment of your damages to determine if your claim is worth the time and cost to pursue.
If you do not have damages, you cannot bring a personal injury claim. If you have minimal damages, it may not be worth pursuing an injury claim. If you do not have a viable personal injury claim, the lawyer should let you know and decline to take your case.
8. Don’t Forget to Discuss Fees
You should discuss fees and payments during the initial consultation. Most personal injury attorneys are paid through contingency fees. This fee structure allows you to secure quality legal representation with little up-front financial risks.
With a contingency fee, you only pay your lawyer if they recover compensation for your claim. In fact, you will not owe them money if they fail to settle your claim or obtain a verdict in your favor. If they do recover compensation for you, you will pay them a percentage of your overall settlement or verdict (usually between 33-40%).
9. Found a Great Lawyer? You’ll Need to Sign on the Dotted Line
If you decide that the lawyer is right for you, you will sign contracts and documents that establish an attorney-client relationship. After this, you will have all the protections afforded by an attorney-client relationship. Your lawyer will investigate your case and begin building your case for the money you need to move forward after your accident.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in Northwest Florida
We have two convenient locations in Northwest Florida:
Brannon & Brannon Personal Injury Attorneys – Fort Walton Beach Office
975 Mar Walt Dr
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547
Brannon & Brannon Personal Injury Attorneys – Destin Office
4507 Furling Ln Suite 214
Destin, FL 32541