Being in an accident can not only be extremely traumatic and painful, it can also put an immense undue financial burden on you. This is especially true if you are unable to work following the accident as a result of injuries or pain and suffering. If you have been in an accident, whether it be a car accident, a bike accident, a slip and fall, or an accident of any other kind, then you need to speak to an attorney quickly.
However, before you speak to an attorney, you need to make sure that you are prepared. The last thing you want to do is hire the wrong attorney to help you sue for damages. Here is the ultimate guide for questions to ask, questionnaires, checklists, and how to hire an attorney after you are in an accident.
Personal Injury Checklist
Fail to prepare or prepare to fail. This maxim couldn’t be more true after a car accident. To ensure your own safety and to give you the best chance of recovering damages, it’s essential to have a plan in place. This personal injury list explains exactly what you should do if you are unfortunate enough to be involved with a car accident.
Personal injury checklist example
- Ensure you are safe from traffic;
- If the cars are moveable, they should be pulled off the road;
- Call the authorities if there are injuries;
- Do not admit fault or discuss your injuries;
- Exchange insurance and identifying information;
- Document the accident with photos and notes if safe to do so;
- See your primary care doctor if you are in pain. Visit the ER if you have to;
- Do not speak to the other party’s insurance company (this especially includes the recorded statement);
- Call a lawyer as soon as possible;
- Get a treatment plan or look into physical therapy or chiropractic care;
- If a report was taken, request a copy, if not, submit one on your own through the DMV website;
- Keep track of time off work and receipts for medical bills and co-pays;
- Keep a journal of your progress and any activities that are difficult to do given your pain;
- Get better;
- Reconnect with your lawyer to discuss case value and start the settlement process.
Personal Injury and Car Accident Checklist
Now that you’re safe, the next step is finding and hiring the right Sacramento accident attorney.
How to hire a personal injury lawyer
The first thing you should do when you are hiring a personal injury lawyer is to conduct research. You can read reviews of local attorneys online, you can ask your friends and family members for referrals, you can even call the state BAR association and ask them for some referrals.
Once you narrow down your list, you should call them and see which ones take your call. See how you like them when you speak to them. In terms of price, do not let percentages fool you. Firms that offer discounted fees oftentimes do so because they are not as good and generally do not get as good of results.
You should feel impressed by the attorney’s office, staff, and reputation. This is a very important decision so do not rush it. Conduct thorough research and look up the attorney online. Read his or her website, see if the person’s message resonates with you.
Questions to Ask Your Personal Injury Lawyer Before Hiring
How often do you litigate?
The reason why this question is so important to ask is because insurance companies will not take lawyers seriously who do not litigate on a regular basis. If you want to win the lawsuit, then you need to hire an attorney who has a lot of experience litigating and who does so on a regular basis. Insurance companies take attorneys who litigate regularly very seriously.
How many clients do you have?
If the attorney has too many clients, then this can be a problem because he or she might not be able to give you enough time. However, if the attorney has no clients, then this can also be a problem because it might mean that the attorney is not very good. So, look for lawyers with some but not too many clients.
How many trials have you done?
Some attorneys prefer to never take cases to trial or to do so only very rarely. This is not ideal because again, insurance companies will take lawyers with a lot of trial experience a lot more seriously.
Do you enjoy litigation and trials?
This is a good question to ask because the best litigators usually actually enjoy litigating. They are competitive and they like to win trials.
How do you calculate damages?
There are many different ways to calculate damages, but the per diem is the most logical and fair. Therefore, you should seek out attorneys who use this method.
Do you wait until the statute of limitations to file the lawsuit?
Most lawyers literally don’t work on cases that need to be litigated until the last minute. This sometimes results in a 1-2-year delay in even getting the case filed. We don’t do that. Our cases are always moving.
To make things easier for you, refer to our infographic:
Personal injury questionnaire
After you generate your list of questions for your Sacramento personal injury attorney, the next thing you need to do is to download the attorney’s questionnaire and fill it out. The purpose of this questionnaire is to provide your prospective attorney with all of the information that he or she will need to evaluate the basics of your case.
On the questionnaire, the attorney may ask you for relevant personal information too, such as whether or not you have health insurance or whether or not you are employed. When you are done filling out the questionnaire, you submit it to the law firm. As an example is a link to our questionnaire. We have both an online form and a pdf:
Once you find an attorney you like, make your move and get fighting. Here at Fry Law, we are always happy to speak with you. Please feel free to give us a call today at (916) 291-0700 to discuss your case. We look forward to helping you to recover the compensation you deserve.