If you have been involved in an car crash, your primary concern is probably healing from your injuries. However, during your recovery period, bills can mount and you may be unable to work. Financial pressures can add to your stress, which can make healing more difficult.

The good news is that under the right circumstances, you may be able to recover compensation for your wreck in the form of a personal injury lawsuit. The negligent party may have insurance or assets that can be used to pay for your damages.

In some cases involving very minor or no injuries, and very small amounts of property damage, you can work out a settlement directly with the insurance company. In situations where there are more serious injuries or larger amounts of property damage, you will most likely want to hire a personal injury lawyer who can help you handle all of the details of the case, as well as help you get the most amount of compensation possible from your crash.

Most personal injury attorneys offer free consultations. They also normally do not take any fees upfront, and instead take a percentage of any award or settlement that is obtained. The consultation is a good chance to see if your personalities mesh, get a good idea of the attorney’s experience and knowledge, and to decide if you want to hire him or her to handle your case. At the consultation, the lawyer will get a chance to evaluate your case to see if it is worth pursuing, as well as to size you up to determine whether he or she would want to take you on as a client.

Initial consultations in personal injury cases are pretty important. If you end up choosing an attorney, you could be working closely with her for months or even years. You are relying on that lawyer’s knowledge, experience, and passion to help determine the outcome of your case. Before you go to that important initial consultation, you should prepare carefully.

Make a list of questions.  Before the meeting, make a list of questions that are important to you and your case. Although naturally other questions will come up at the meeting, you may be nervous or distracted and could forget to ask about issues that are important to you. One topic you should cover is the attorney’s experience, including number of years practicing law and how many cases that are handled, and number of trials. You should also ask about the lawyer’s perspective on early resolution – some personal injury attorneys are scared of court and will accept low settlement offers. You should look for an attorney who is willing to settle when the situation necessitates, but is not scared of court. You should also look for an attorney who has handled a number of cases in your specific area.

Help the lawyer out with documentation. If you choose a competent attorney and give her all the facts, the attorney should be able to get the documentation necessary to make your case a strong one. However, you can make the attorney’s job much easier by taking notes, gathering police reports, medical records, and anything else you think your attorney needs and keeping them well organized. The easier you can make things for your lawyer, the more likely she is to be successful on your case. Bring any documentation you have in a well-organized manner to your meeting.

Give your attorney all the facts.  Don’t try to hide anything from your attorney in the initial meeting. After all, your attorney is deciding whether he or she wants to take your case as well. The attorney typically does not get paid until the case is over, so he or she could end up spending significant amounts of time working on a case only to discover facts later that would have prevented her from taking the case if they were known. For example, if you had a prior injury to the same part of your body, bring that up. Keep in mind that anything you tell the attorney is confidential. It’s important to allow the lawyer to make a decision on the case with all the facts.

If you have been involved in an accident in the Oakland-San Francisco area and are looking for a personal injury attorney, call Micha Star Liberty, San Francisco personal injury attorney, at 510-645-1000. She can help. Call today to learn more or to schedule a free consultation on your case.

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