Have you recently sustained an injury due to the negligent, reckless, or intentionally harmful actions of another party? You might have a solid claim for compensation under California’s personal injury laws. An experienced Sacramento, CA personal injury attorney can help you determine who is liable for your damages and how much you might recover from successful legal action.
Unless you have practical experience in the legal field and have dealt with the Sacramento, CA court system, you are going to need help from a reliable and skilled attorney. Navigating a civil claim of any kind can be difficult without professional guidance, and even seemingly simple personal injury claims can evolve into complex legal battles when you don’t have the right legal representation on your side. At The Law Office of Black & DePaoli, PC, our Folsom, CA personal injury lawyers know how to successfully represent a wide variety of personal injury claims.
What to Expect During Your First Meeting With a Personal Injury Attorney
Needing legal representation for the first time can be a jarring experience. You must find the right attorney to represent your personal injury case, but you need to act quickly if you want your case to meet the two-year statute of limitations on personal injury claims in California. Speed is also essential if your damages have had a compound effect on your life and drained you financially.
Your first consultation with a Sacramento, CA personal injury attorney should consist of an interview process between you and the attorney. It’s the attorney’s job to review the client’s case accurately and thoroughly, and it’s the client’s job to determine whether the attorney is a good fit for the client’s case. Some examples of questions you should plan to ask a prospective Sacramento, CA personal injury lawyer should pertain to:
- The attorney’s experience. It’s best to work with a Sacramento, CA personal injury attorney who has significant experience in California civil law and a solid track record of successful personal injury cases. While many new attorneys are talented and committed to their clients’ recoveries, they may simply lack the experience to successfully navigate a complicated personal injury lawsuit.
- The attorney’s availability. You should have an idea of how easy it will be to get in touch with your attorney before you agree to their representation. First, ask how often you can expect updates about your case and verify the best times and methods for reaching your attorney. You may also want to ask about your prospective attorney’s caseload, so you have an idea of how many cases they’re handling at once. A good attorney will only accept a case if they know they have the time and flexibility to manage it effectively.
- Any special experience the attorney possesses. Some personal injury attorneys focus on car accident claims while others specialize in lawsuits relating to dog bite injuries or medical malpractice claims. You should find a personal injury lawyer with practical experience handling cases similar to yours.
- The attorney’s impression of your case. It is unlikely any attorney will want to accept a case with little chance of success, especially if they provide contingency fee billing to their clients. It’s important to ask a potential attorney what they think of your case and to take the opportunity to ask specific questions about your situation. A consultation is a protected conversation, so you can speak relatively freely about your claim. That way, the attorney has as much information as possible to form a professional opinion about your case.
- The attorney’s intended approach to your case. The vast majority of personal injury lawsuits settle outside of court, but this is not always possible. You should know whether the attorney believes your case can be settled quickly and quietly through negotiation or if you should expect a lengthy litigation process.
- The attorney’s billing policy. Make sure you understand the attorney’s fee arrangement, how much you can expect from your claim, and how much the attorney expects your case to cost to handle on your behalf.
During your consultation, the attorney will ask any questions they deem necessary to understand your claim. Consultations are valuable experiences for personal injury plaintiffs, allowing them to clarify any misunderstandings they might hold about their legal options.
Understanding an Attorney’s Breakdown of Your Recovery Options
Your consultation can be very revealing about your legal situation. After you get a feel for how the attorney handles their clients and they have provided you with their interpretation of your case, you can start asking more specific questions about your claim. One of the first things you likely want to know about your personal injury lawsuit is how much compensation you could potentially recover if you win.
A good attorney will be straightforward and reasonable in their assessments of your damages. California state law allows personal injury plaintiffs to recover several different types of compensatory damages, and the attorney should thoroughly explain how California laws apply to the damages you have claimed in your lawsuit. For example, if you suffered a physical injury, the attorney should review your medical records and other expenses related to your treatment for the injury. This will help them determine how much compensation your lawsuit might yield and additional forms of compensation that may bolster your recovery.
Next Steps After Consultation
As your first consultation with a potential attorney concludes, you may still have questions about your case. However, you should have a better idea of how the attorney plans to approach your legal representation. At this point, you can agree to their legal services or continue searching for a different attorney. Again, while it’s vital to meet the statute of limitations for your claim, it is also important to find an attorney who helps you approach your case with greater confidence.
Once you agree to legal counsel, you and your Sacramento, CA personal injury lawyer will start building your claim. The first phase of the personal injury lawsuit process is drafting the Complaint. Your attorney will name the defendant in your claim, outline your evidence and claim for damages, and provide the defendant with your expectations in terms of compensation. This Complaint is filed with the local court, which will then, in turn, officially serve the Complaint to the defendant. At this point, the defendant may supply an Answer, and the case will move to settlement negotiation, if possible.
Your attorney should have provided you with their expectation as to how your case will resolve, and they can prepare you for the settlement negotiations or litigation procedures you are likely to face next.
Find the Right Attorney for Your Claim
Taking advantage of a consultation offer from a Sacramento, CA personal injury lawyer is the best way to gain additional perspective and insight into your personal injury claim. You might misunderstand aspects of California law as they apply to your case or misinterpret essential facts about the damages you need to recover, and the right attorney can clarify these issues for you during an initial consultation.
The legal process can be daunting, and you might be feeling the pressure of your mounting financial concerns and unpaid expenses following your injury. Connecting with the right Sacramento, CA personal injury attorney, means taking the first step toward recovering the compensation you need to return to a healthy and fulfilling life after a personal injury.
Take your time to develop a list of questions to ask a prospective attorney before your consultation. If you are ready to explore your options for legal recourse following a personal injury from a car accident, premises liability issue, or other cause, The Law Office of Black & DePaoli, PC, is available to help. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary case review with a skilled Sacramento, CA personal injury attorney. Once we evaluate your claim during the consultation process, we can let you know what you can expect if we represent your case.