Most personal injury lawyers offer a “free consultation.” What exactly does a “free consultation” consist of? Here are some frequently asked questions about free consultations:
Q. Is a free consultation really totally free? Are there no hidden costs?
A. With a reputable attorney, free means free. The only “cost” you may have is the cost of transportation to the lawyer’s office.
In my practice, I will usually begin the free consultation by speaking with you on the phone, thus saving you even any transportation costs. In many cases, if you decide that you would like to hire me for the case, you can do so after the call, without even coming to the office. (Of course, if you want to make an appointment to come to the office to meet me in person, that is always welcome.)
In other, more complicated cases, I will definitely schedule a live meeting after the initial phone call. By the way, if you are seriously injured and can’t come to my office, I will visit you.
FREE CONSULTATION ALSO MEANS NO OBLIGATION
Q. If I accept a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer, am I obligated to hire the lawyer for my case?
A. Absolutely not. Accepting a free consult does not obligate you in any way. You do not have to hire the lawyer after the consultation unless you want to.
Q. Are there any documents I need to have available for the free consultation?
A. Strictly speaking, no. You should always call an experienced personal injury attorney immediately after an accident, even if you don’t yet have any documentation. The earlier a lawyer starts work on your case, the better the result is likely to be.
That said, if you can get your hands on certain documents in time for the consult, you should try and do so. I list the documents in another post on my blog.
Q. Do I get to speak with an actual lawyer during the free consultation?
A. It depends on which lawyer or law firm that you call. In some firms, particularly larger ones, new client “intake” is done by an administrative assistant or a paralegal, not by a lawyer. In other offices, a “junior” lawyer, with limited experience, may conduct the consult.
However, in my office, I make a point to handle free consultations personally. I have been practicing law for over 30 years and feel that a victim should speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible after an accident. There may be issues that need to be addressed immediately. An administrative assistant, a paralegal or an inexperienced junior lawyer may not recognize such issues, to the victim’s detriment.
TOPICS DISCUSSED IN A FREE CONSULT
Q. What will I discuss during the free consultation?
A. At a minimum, you should be ready to describe how the accident happened, whose fault it was, and what injuries you suffered. You should also feel free to ask any questions whatsoever that you may have about the accident, how a personal injury case works, or anything else pertaining to your possible case.
Here’s I handle it in my office: By the end of the consult, I will try to give you my evaluation of your case, and what needs to be done. I will also explain how legal representation works in a personal injury case. If you choose to hire me, I will not charge you any fee for my services unless I win money compensation for you.
Q. How long will my free consultation take?
A. Speaking for myself, the initial call between a potential client and me usually runs around twenty to thirty minutes, give or take. Any follow-up office visit, or a visit by me to the potential client, will typically take a bit longer, usually between half an hour to an hour. It depends on how complicated the issues are in the case.
Q. Can a free consultation take place in the evening or on a weekend?
A. I absolutely schedule free consults on evenings and weekends. However, other law offices may have different scheduling policies.
HOW TO SCHEDULE A FREE CONSULTATION
Q. How do I arrange a free consultation?
A. The best way is simply to call a lawyer’s office and ask for one.
Personally, unless I am in court, meeting with a client, or already in the middle of a free consult, I will interrupt whatever I am doing in order to give you an immediate initial free consultation. If I can’t speak immediately, just leave a message and I will return your call the moment that I’m free.
Please call me at 888.316.8288 if you are ever injured by someone else and would like a free consultation.