1- Show Up Unprepared for the First Meeting
Many attorneys offer free consultations (either phone or virtual). This is your chance to make sure you want to work with this attorney and on what terms. Be prepared with a list of questions including the following.
- How long have you practiced this type of law?
- Have you represented a client with a case similar to mine?
- Do you foresee any problems with my case?
- What are the fees for taking my case?
- Is the cost dependent on whether or not we win (contingency fees) or based on hours working the case?
- What happens next?
- How long does it usually take to resolve a case similar to mine?
- Will you handle my case personally or hand it off to another lawyer in the firm?
Know what you’re getting yourself into. The lawyers evaluate your case to see if it fits their office well. You’re considering the office to see if they fit you well. Will they take the time to make sure you understand everything you need? Will they be easy to work with? Do they have a good track record winning cases like yours?
Lawsuits can take months or years, depending on the loss you suffered. You want to ensure the person you’re working with throughout that period will make your life easier rather than harder, fight tooth and nail for your cause, and take only a fair share of your settlement rather than nickel and diming you with fees until you have nothing left.
2- Show up Late–or Not at All!
Poor attendance is always a bad practice—especially when it’s for your legal appointments. To get the most out of every appointment, limit the number of visits you must make, and help your legal team represent you as effectively as possible, do the following:
- Arrive 10 minutes before the appointment.
- Call as early as possible if you need to reschedule.
- Turn your cell phone off or leave them in your car.
- Leave your children at home if possible. The struggle to find good childcare is real, but if you can hire a babysitter or enlist the help of a family member or friend to watch your kids, it will be much easier to be fully present at your appointment.
3- Feel Pressure to Speak Like a Lawyer
A lawyer goes to law school, so you don’t have to. They train to understand legal language and how to relay the information to others who are outside their profession. If you don’t understand a term, don’t feel embarrassed. Stop the meeting, and ask your attorney to explain. If it all feels like a little much to retain, don’t feel shy about taking notes.
When clients feel pressured to speak legalese, it can actually backfire. A client may give their attorney the impression that they know more than they do about the legal field, which could lead to misunderstandings. If the client uses the wrong terms, they could give the attorney the wrong impression about the details of their case.
4- Skimp on the Evidence
As lawyers, we use evidence to convince the court of a fair settlement. We can only do that if we have the evidence. Your lawyer will give you a list of necessary items to bring to your appointment, including but not limited to:
Timeline: A detailed timeline helps your lawyer understand the event and any contributing factors.
Contact Information: They must speak to everyone involved, including any witnesses. Their full name, address, and phone number would be best.
Injury Documentation: Medical records and pictures of any injuries are essential to prove your personal injury case. Keep a journal about how your injury limits your activities at work or home.
Property Damage Documentation: Pictures of any property damage and estimates to repair or replace the property will help the court decide how much the defendant should pay you to recover from the loss.
Proof Of Associated Costs: Proof of lost wages, medical receipts, additional childcare costs, and other secondary costs associated with your injury case are very important in building your case.
5- Hide the Truth
You probably heard it from your mom 100 times growing up, and she was right: honesty is always the best policy. Even if you share the responsibility for what happened, your lawyer will help you sort it out, and you may still be eligible to receive partial damages. Honesty about your activities builds trust and allows your attorney to better advise you on how to proceed.
- Be open and honest with your accident attorney. He or she needs to understand all the variables to present your case effectively.
- Avoid minimizing or exaggerating the facts. It may seem difficult to remain objective when speaking about what happened. People tend to omit painful details to avoid suffering or blow them out of proportion, seeking support and sympathy. Both responses to pain are fundamental to human nature and completely understandable, but they don’t help your lawyer win your case.
Your Utah personal injury will do the heavy lifting for you as long as you do your basic due diligence and avoid mistakes like these that could waste time (yours and your attorney’s) and harm your case.
If you have any additional questions or want to speak to lawyers in Utah, you can reach us at (801) 206-4002 or request an appointment through our Contact Page.