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9 Things to Know About a Free Lawyer Consultation

If you’ve been injured in an accident and want to file a claim, a personal injury attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve. However, sometimes the process for hiring a lawyer can seem confusing.

In most cases, your first interaction with an attorney is during the initial consultation. This may be in person or over the phone. Here’s what to expect during these meetings.

Not All Consultations Are Free

Now, you’ve probably seen commercials with lawyers offering free consultations. In fact, many attorneys do provide this service for no charge. But, keep in mind that some do not, so it’s always a good idea to ask.

That said, in most cases, the firm you speak with will likely mention whether there is a fee when you set up your first appointment. You may also check the attorney’s website for information on the costs of these consultations.

Anything You Say is Confidential

Bear in mind that attorneys are bound by strict ethical rules. This means that if you speak with a lawyer for the purpose of getting legal advice or services, you have formed an attorney-client relationship.

The attorney-client relationship is important because the lawyer is prohibited from sharing statements you make with anyone else. This is true even if you ultimately decide not to hire the attorney. Now, there are some limited exceptions to this rule, so you might consider asking the lawyer when and under what circumstances your information could be shared. 

The Attorney Will Ask You Questions to Evaluate Your Case

Now, there are a few things to keep in mind when preparing for your consultation. First, you should be ready to answer questions about the specific details of your case. You will likely be asked where, when, and how the injury occurred.

You should also consider bringing or taking note of any evidence you have that can help your claim. For example, photographs, police reports, or witness information can give the attorney a good idea of the strength of your case. 

You Should Also Ask Questions

Note that the consultation is also an opportunity for you to find out whether this is someone you want to have a professional relationship with. To that end, you might consider asking about the attorney’s experience and background, as well as the firm’s support staff and present caseload.

Personal Injury Cases Are Typically Based on a “Contingency Fee”

Another important question to ask is what will be included in the fee agreement and how court costs will be paid. Note that for personal injury matters, law firms usually work on a contingency basis, rather than charging an hourly rate.

Contingency cases involve the attorney fronting the cost of pursuing your claim with the expectation of receiving a percentage of what you are awarded in either a court judgment or settlement. Keep in mind that this is usually around 30-40% of the total dollar amount of the award.

An Experienced Attorney Will Not Give Guarantees

It’s important to note that there are risks in every lawsuit. Attorneys are aware of this, so any guarantees offered during a consultation should be seen as a major red flag. However, a lawyer is free to give you ballpark estimates based on prior cases. 

The Attorney May Not Take Your Case

Now, during or after the consultation, the attorney may decide not to take your case. There may be several reasons for this decision, including one or more of the following:

  • There is a conflict of interest
  • The attorney may believe you don’t have a strong enough claim, or enough evidence
  • The statute of limitations has passed, or
  • Your claim is outside of the attorney’s practice area.

If the attorney doesn’t take your case, don’t be afraid to ask for a referral to someone else. That is, if they don’t offer on their own, first.

You Can Talk to Other Attorneys

Keep in mind that if your case is declined by an attorney this does not necessarily mean that another lawyer will come to the same conclusion. In fact, it can be good to meet with more than one attorney even one has agreed to take your case. This ensures that you find someone that is the best fit for you.

Next Step After a Consultation

After the consultation, you will likely have a good idea of whether or not the professional relationship is going to work. If you decide to hire the attorney, you’ll sign an agreement to have the firm represent you. This is a contract that will set forth the lawyer’s responsibilities and how he or she will be paid. 

Once you have signed the fee agreement, the attorney will communicate to you the next steps. In personal injury matters, this typically involves contacting the opposing party’s attorney or insurance company. 

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    “Mr. Glotzer represented me after I was involved in a car accident. I was badly injured,but the insurance company refused to offer me a reasonable settlement. I decided to find an attorney and decided to hire Josh.

    His law firm did a great job on my case. They were very responsive to all my questions and obtained a great resolution for me. I received way more money than was originally offered. I would recommend their firm to friends and family.”

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    “Mr. Josh Glotzer is a great attorney. Over the last 15 years he has helped me on a number of cases with professionalism, and more importantly a positive outcome in my favor. I have referred him to a number of friends and colleagues, all of which have been equally as happy with his legal representation. I trust him and confident in legal ability. I highly recommend his law firm.”

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    “Don’t try to deal with insurance companies on your own. They strung me along for almost two years before I gave the case to Glotzer & Leib. Josh and his team quickly obtained a settlement that netted me many times what the insurance company was offering. Thank You!”

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    “My wife was in a car accident last year and Josh did an amazing job representing her. It’s very refreshing to see someone in his profession that actually cares and puts his clients first. He’s the best in the business and I feel so fortunate that I was referred to him. Keep up the great work and thanks for everything you did for my family!”

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    “I was in a rear end car accident last year and hired Mr. Glotzer’s office. It wasn’t a big case but their office helped me with my property damage claim and did a good job resolving the injury portion of the case as well.”

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