What to Expect at the Initial Consultation
The process of personal injury cases in the District of Columbia begins with the initial consultation phase. At the initial consultation, a potential client meets with an attorney in order to evaluate not only the merits of a potential personal injury case but also to evaluate the attorney and services the attorney may be able to offer the injured person. From there, the attorney will handle a personal injury claim and see it through the claim process with important input from the injured person.
The initial consultation is very important for everyone involved. It allows the DC personal injury attorney to obtain a better understanding as to how the incident occurred, the nature and extent of injuries, the treatment involved, and the prognosis moving forward. It is important for the injured person to be prepared for the initial consultation and be able to speak openly and frankly with the attorney, so the attorney has all the information he or she needs in order to evaluate the claim.
Oftentimes it is the first time the client will speak with an attorney. However, if any client wants to speak to an attorney during the initial phase of evaluating the claim or reviewing the retainer agreement, the attorneys here at our firm are always happy to talk with any potential client.
Initial consultations can take place in a number of ways. Some clients want to have an initial consultation right away and meeting face to face with the attorney is always welcome in most of our cases. Other times clients will want to speak with the attorney by telephone in order to get a better understanding of the claim process and go over any issues he or she may have with the retainer agreement. Other times, the clients are happy to go through the intake process and open their claim file through the assistance of a paralegal before actually speaking with an attorney. We are happy to accommodate clients in any manner they choose and work with the clients in the initial consultation phase.
What to Expect
Generally, during the initial consultation, the attorneys will have a lot of questions for the client regarding how the incident occurred, the injuries involved, and the treatment rendered to date along with trying to get an understanding as to what the treatment is going forward. People should expect to answer a lot of questions and potentially produce documents or records during the initial consultation phase.
The specifics of the initial consultation will depend on the specific incident giving rise to the claim, An injured person should look for a personal injury lawyer who has knowledge of and experience with handling similar types of claims. With that knowledge and experience, the attorney will then rely upon his or her experiences and know what to do in order to process the claim in the best manner possible for the injured person.
Documents to Bring
Anything that is important to the case the potential client should bring with them. If there is a question as to how the incident occurred, the police report is always a good source of information. If there is any question as to the injuries involved, then medical records regarding that treatment are best to bring the initial consultation. Whatever the record is will depend on the individual case but, depending on the issues in that case, records are always best to bring to the initial consultation.
The attorney will review the documents and records to evaluate them based upon his or her experience, and use the documents in order to evaluate the claim and advise the potential client accordingly.
Attorneys will always conduct their own investigation, and the investigation will depend on the nature of the claim. A claim involving a question with liability, meaning there are some questions as to who is at fault, will follow an investigation as to how the incident occurred, whether or not there are any witnesses, and things to that nature. Other cases may not have questions as to how the incident occurred, but the question may lie with the nature and extent of the injury sustained. In that scenario, the attorneys will evaluate the medical records and consult with any medical professionals, if necessary, in order to evaluate the claim.