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Are you a little nervous about scheduling a consultation with a personal injury attorney? If so, you are not alone. The media likes to portray personal injury attorneys as sharks or other predators who may be out to trick potential clients into hiring them. In reality, personal injury attorneys are more like the Biblical David, helping their clients take on giants. In a consultation, a lawyer will explain your rights and responsibilities, as well as potential remedies available to you.

A consultation is not a sales pitch, which is what some people fear. Instead, it is more like an informational session. Most personal injury firms offer free consultations. You get to meet with an attorney without charge and obligation. You do not have to hire a lawyer. Furthermore, if you do hire a lawyer, you do not have to hire the lawyer who offered the free consultation. It truly is no obligation.

You need to bring information to your free consultation. You want to maximize the free time and advice you are going to get from the lawyer. The more information you can provide them, the more streamlined the visit. Bring as many details about the incident that led to your injury as you have. You want to include proof of your injuries — medical bills, photos, and doctor’s reports. If you have information about evidence, bring it as well — police reports, witness contact information, photos, and more. Finally, if you have had any communication with insurance companies, bring it with you as well.

Many law firms will provide questionnaires before your free consultation. Please fill it out beforehand so the lawyer can review it before your consultation. You do not want to waste your consultation time filling out paperwork.

During the consultation, the lawyer should give you an opinion on whether you have a personal injury claim, a ballpark figure of anticipated settlement or claim amounts, and a projected time frame. That information gives you an idea of what to expect about the case.

You should also ask for information about the attorney-client relationship if you choose that lawyer. What is the attorney’s experience in this type of law? What are their contact policies with clients? If the case does not settle, does their firm handle lawsuits, or will they refer you to another counsel? How and when will you pay the lawyer? Who pays the costs associated with the case?

Knowing what to expect helps you make the most of your free consultation. Remember, these consultations are no obligation. So, take advantage of the opportunity to find out more about the remedies potentially available to you.