No one expects to be involved in a car accident, especially a serious one involving bodily injury. When the unexpected happens, setting up an appointment with a car accident attorney can help you feel more in control. Having a qualified legal professional on your side is the best way to hold the liable party responsible. So, what can you expect from your first meeting with a car wreck lawyer in Cheyenne, Wyoming?
Your First Meeting With an Attorney: What Should You Expect?
Deciding to work with an attorney on your auto accident claim is an excellent first step to take. Not only can your attorney help you identify details of your case that will increase the value of your claim beyond what you may have expected, but he or she can also negotiate with the insurance company and represent you in court if necessary. Having an attorney increases your chances of a fair settlement because the insurance company will see that you are serious.
Your first meeting is a chance to get to know your attorney and vice versa. He or she will ask you some basic questions about the accident and how it affected your life. You may go over some documents together, including medical bills and evidence from the scene of the crash. The meeting generally wraps up with a transparent discussion about billing.
How To Prepare for Your First Meeting With a Car Accident Attorney
Be Ready to Talk About the Accident
During the first meeting, your lawyer will try to get an overview of what happened during the accident. You should be prepared to answer the basic “who, what, where, when, and why” questions to the best of your ability.
Don’t be afraid to speak freely and disclose all the details you can remember, even if you feel they might work against you. Your lawyer is on your side, and he or she needs accurate information in order to develop a winning strategy. You can rest assured knowing that everything you say during the meeting will stay between you and your lawyer. With some very limited exceptions, the Wyoming State Bar requires lawyers to maintain confidentiality.
Be Prepared to Disclose Your Previous Statements About the Accident
If you have made statements on social media regarding your accident, your lawyer needs to know what you posted. The same is true for any verbal comments you have made to others, especially the other driver or anyone connected to him or her. The insurance company might try to use your statements against you, and your lawyer needs to know what they were in order to do damage control, if necessary.
Assess How the Accident Impacted Your Life
Part of your lawyer’s job is to fight for you to receive maximum compensation. He or she will need to understand the kinds of damage the accident caused you. These could include:
- Medical expenses
- Property damage to the vehicle
- Damage to valuables inside the vehicle
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional stress
When you go into your meeting, you should be prepared to discuss your health, your emotional well-being, and your financial state post-accident.
What Documents Should You Bring to the Meeting?
If you can, you should bring some relevant documents to show your lawyer during the first meeting. Don’t worry if you don’t know exactly which documents you will need for your case. Your car accident attorney will help you build evidence as you get further into the process. In the meantime, you should gather any documents that you believe will help your lawyer understand the accident and its impact. You can start collecting:
Evidence of the Crash
If you were able to document the crash immediately after it happened, you should bring the evidence to show your lawyer. It is helpful to have:
- The names and insurance info of everyone involved
- Names of witnesses and their statements
- Photographs and videos of the aftermath from various angles
- Photographs of any injuries
- Photographs of damage outside and inside the vehicle
- Photographs of any valuable items that were damaged
- The police report (if there is one)
Evidence of Your Injuries
If there were injuries involved in your crash, getting fair compensation is an important part of the healing process. It is important for your lawyer to tally the full cost of your medical expenses. You should show him or her:
- Medical bills
- Hospital records
- Receipts from the purchase of medical equipment
- Records of ongoing treatment and its cost
- Prescriptions for medication
Evidence of Lost Wages
Another type of expense that deserves proper compensation is lost wages. If you had to miss work after your accident, you have the right to claim the missed hours as an expense. In the case of severe injury, your lawyer can help you calculate your reduced earning capacity or the extent to which the accident compromised your ability to return to work. The following pieces of evidence can help your case:
- Records of the time you took off
- Previous pay stubs
- Previous tax returns
What to Expect at the Conclusion of the Meeting
At the end of your meeting, your lawyer will give you a candid overview of the case from his or her perspective. He or she will probably give you some estimates on how your case will go and what your chances of a settlement offer are. Remember that these estimates are not promises, they are projections based on similar cases and past experiences.
A Retainer or Representation Agreement
Sometimes, your lawyer may take a few days to review your case before accepting you as a client. Other times, he or she might offer to represent you on the spot. In the latter case, signing a document called a retainer or a representation agreement will make your attorney-client relationship official. Additionally, your lawyer may ask you to sign some releases pertaining to your insurance information and your medical records.
Going Forward Together
The first meeting with your lawyer is just the beginning. Having a legal professional on your side can benefit your case in multiple ways, whether it resolves quickly via a settlement offer or goes to court for a trial.
Preparing Your Claim
Once your lawyer has helped you build evidence for your claim, he or she will help you submit it according to the proper deadlines and requirements. This will speed up the process and prevent the insurance company from using certain tactics to delay it.
Negotiating With the Insurance Company
The negotiating power of a qualified attorney is essential when it comes to auto accident claims. If the insurance company offers you a settlement that is too low, your attorney can go back to them with a counter-offer and evidence as to why it is justified.
In most situations, the insurance company will seek to resolve matters by offering you a settlement offer. They do this to avoid litigation fees, especially if they see you are working with a skilled attorney of your own. However, if the case does go to trial, your lawyer can offer legal representation in court.
Meet With a Top Car Wreck Lawyer in Cheyenne, Wyoming
We understand that the outcome of your car accident claim is extremely important. Resolving your case with a just payout can provide funds for medical bills, relief from lost wages, and compensation for pain and suffering. Having your first meeting with a car wreck lawyer in Cheyenne, Wyoming should leave you with a greater sense of control over the situation. To learn more about how an attorney can help your case, contact Ochs Law Firm.