One of the first steps in the legal process is meeting with an attorney to determine if you may have a case. During this meeting, the attorney is likely to ask you a variety of questions about what happened, your damages and other things that may impact the filing of a claim for compensation.
Below, learn more about what you can expect in a free initial consultation with a Harrisburg personal injury attorney. If you were injured because of another’s negligence, you should strongly consider hiring a licensed attorney to help you. Every accident is different, and it is difficult to determine if you may have a case on your own. It is also much more difficult to recover full compensation on your own.
What Happened in the Accident?
Your attorney needs to know more about how the accident happened and how negligence may have been involved. You will not be able to recover compensation unless you and your attorney can prove the accident resulted from another’s negligence.
Negligence is a legal theory with four parts, each of which must be established by your attorney. These four parts include:
- Duty of care – The at-fault party had a legal obligation to take reasonable care to prevent you from getting injured.
- Breached duty of care – The at-fault party did not uphold a duty of care, either through his or her action or inaction.
- Causality – The breached duty of care must be directly linked to you suffering an injury.
- Existence of damages – Your injuries resulted in measurable damages that can be included in an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
While every accident is unique, the more you tell your attorney the easier it should be for him or her to determine if you may have a valid case.
Before meeting with your lawyer, it may be helpful to write down what you remember about the accident, so you do not forget.
Have You Sought Medical Treatment?
There is no basis for a case without an accident-related injury. The injury must be diagnosed and documented by a medical professional.
You may still be eligible to seek compensation if you have not yet sought treatment. However, a significant gap in time between the accident and your first visit with a doctor can make it more difficult to pursue a case. The insurance company is likely to argue you were injured because of something else besides the accident.
If you are considering meeting with a lawyer and have not yet gone to the doctor, you should do so as soon as possible. Your injuries could be much worse than you think and leaving them untreated could make your recovery period take longer.
What is Your Diagnosis?
Your attorney needs to know how severe your injuries are to determine what your claim may be worth. If you only suffered minor injuries, you may be able to file an insurance claim on your own without the help of an attorney.
It will be difficult for a lawyer to tell you whether you may have a case without a diagnosis from a qualified medical professional.
It is important not to make assumptions about whether you can file a claim based on your diagnosis. An experienced attorney can tell you whether you may be eligible to seek compensation.
Did You Collect Any Evidence at the Scene?
While the attorneys at Schmidt Kramer are prepared to handle the investigation of your accident, it can be helpful for victims to collect evidence at the scene.
Make sure to bring the evidence you collected to the meeting with your attorney. He or she can review it to get a better idea about whether you may have a viable case. Pictures from the scene and statements from witnesses can be very helpful.
However, you should still consider meeting with a lawyer even if you did not collect evidence at the scene. If you think the accident was someone else’s fault, there may be a case.
Have You Been Contacted by the Insurance Company?
It is common for insurance companies to call victims soon after an accident to ask for a statement or even to offer a settlement.
If you talked to the insurance company, it is important to tell your attorney what you said. Even if you admitted fault or downplayed your injuries, you may still be able to seek compensation. It is important for your attorney to know what you told the insurance company so he or she will not be surprised later.
Have You Talked About the Accident on Social Media?
While you do not necessarily need to stop posting to your social media accounts during the legal process, it is not a bad idea. Social media posts could be used by the insurance company to claim you are not really injured, or your injuries are not very serious.
Make sure to inform your attorney about any posts you have made since the accident, particularly if any of these posts were related to your accident. You do not want your attorney to be surprised later. You want your attorney to be prepared, so if the insurance company uses your social media posts against you, he or she can counter these arguments.
Injured in an Accident? Call Schmidt Kramer Today for Help
Unsure how an attorney may be able to help you?
Call Schmidt Kramer today. We offer injury victims a free, no-obligation legal consultation. In this free meeting, we can discuss your accident and determine if you may be eligible to seek compensation. Even if you have a case, there is no obligation to hire us.
If you hire our firm, there are no upfront fees for our services. Our attorneys do not get paid unless you do.
Schmidt Kramer. Millions Recovered. Call (717) 888-8888.