WHAT INFORMATION DOES AN ATTORNEY NEED
TO KNOW TO DECIDE WHETHER TO TAKE MY CASE?
You or your family member has been injured, and it was someone else’s fault. Now what?
You have never thought about suing someone before, and you don’t know where to start.
You are not alone. This is a common refrain we hear from potential clients.
First step, find a lawyer. You may ask friends or family for references, or you may just Google “personal injury lawyer.” You come across a firm you feel comfortable with, and you give them a call.
But what do you need to tell a personal injury firm so that they can decide whether they are the right fit for your case?
This blog post addresses the most important aspects of an intake call between a personal injury law firm and a potential client.
- Type of case. When trying to find the right fit for you and your personal injury case, you need to know what type of case you have. Many lawyers like Bethany Schneider specialize in all types of personal injury cases, but other lawyers may only specialize in one area, such as medical malpractice. The first thing a prospective law firm will want to know is what type of case you have – car wreck, premises liability, trucking wreck, medical malpractice, products liability, dog bite, etc.
- Date of injury. As other blog posts on this site have discussed, the date of your injury is extremely important to a prospective law firm because it tells us how long you have left until the deadline is up to file your claim. Most cases in Georgia have a two-year deadline so a lot of firms will be more hesitant to accept cases closer to the deadline. Schneider Injury Law will evaluate your case no matter how close to the deadline it is. Also, if the deadline occurred during the COVID crisis, the deadline is extended until the courts re-open, giving you more potential time to file your case.
- How the injury occurred. The next step will be explaining to the law firm exactly how the injury occurred and why you believe the injury was someone else’s fault. The intake specialist, either a paralegal or lawyer, will most likely follow up with questions about any important facts that could be helpful or hurtful to your case. Do not be offended if the intake person cuts you off while you are explaining your situation to get more details, such as dates; they are just trying to make sure they collect all the necessary information from you in order to fully evaluate your case. It is crucial to be upfront and honest with the law firm about any hurtful facts because you don’t want to risk getting dropped by a firm later if the firm believes you’ve withheld critical information from them. For car wreck cases, if you have a copy of the police report, it can be helpful to e-mail that to the firm during the consultation to have for reference.
- Type of injuries and medical treatment. Because cases are usually valued at the type of injuries suffered, the firm will want to know the types of injuries you’ve had and what type of medical treatment you have had to date. A lot of times in car wreck cases, there has not been much treatment yet, and the full extent of injuries is not yet known. That’s ok. Sometimes an experienced personal injury firm can help clients find the best doctors for their condition and taking into account their financial circumstances. If you have collected medical records yourself, which we always recommend if you’ve been hurt and suspect negligence, it is helpful to e-mail those to the firm for review in conjunction with your intake.
- Extent of injuries. Many lawyers when evaluating cases will want to know whether the injuries are continuing/permanent to determine whether your case is the right fit for the firm. Providing examples of limitations from your injuries or specifics about your pain can be very helpful to a lawyer in evaluating your case.
- Any pre-existing conditions/injuries. One of the most detrimental issues in a case can be pre-existing conditions or injuries that were not disclosed from the outset. In Georgia, you can recover if an accident made your pre-existing injuries worse. That’s called, aggravation of pre-existing injuries. But if you already had a condition that was not made any worse by the accident, then you cannot recover for that injury. It is important in evaluating your case for the firm to fully vet any potential defense issues like pre-existing injuries.
A lawyer is prevented from using or revealing any information you provide during a consultation – even if that lawyer decides not to take your case. Being open and honest is the best way to ensure that you get the right lawyer for you.
Schneider Injury Law offers free consultations and will guide you through the intake process. We are just a call or email away. Attorney Bethany Schneider pledges to respond to potential client inquiries within 1 business day so you won’t be left waiting by the phone for a response. During the client intake process, focusing on the above information will help Schneider Injury Law evaluate whether your case is the right fit for the firm. Please call us at (404) 800-3060 for a free consultation or email Bethany directly at Bethany@SchneiderInjuryAttorney.com.