Car wrecks kill or seriously injure millions of people a year. Unlike the car wreck, the interview process to choose an attorney is usually fairly painless.
All attorneys have their own intake methods and preferences. But generally, here are a few things to expect during this process.
What Not to Say After an Accident
Sometimes, the things that victims do not say is more important than the information that they give. While your car crash is not a state secret, try not to talk about it too much. Generally, the more times we repeat a story, the more exaggerated it becomes. Your attorney just wants the facts as they happened.
Similarly, do not discuss the wreck on social media at all. Sometimes, victims inadvertently write things that seriously damage their cases.
For the same reason, do not give a statement to the insurance company. It is important to remember that you’re not required to give them a statement. The insurance company representative usually sounds very polite. But this person is trained to subtly extract damaging information about the crash. The company’s lawyers will use this information against you later.
Finally, never say anything like “I’m sorry” or “It was my fault,” even if you think you are completely in the wrong. Liability is a legal matter that no one can resolve until all the facts are in. Admissions of liability at the scene are incredibly damaging. So, say something like “How can I help you?”
What Do I Need to Tell My Lawyer?
In short: Everything. Don’t hesitate to share personal information with your attorney, such as your address, phone number, and Social Security number. A car accident lawyer needs this information and will keep it safe.
Give the attorney as many details as possible about the crash. Don’t keep anything about it from them. Even seemingly insignificant items, like the angle of the sun or the other driver’s reaction after the crash, can be very important.
Medical information is important as well. Tell them where you got medical attention, who saw you, and anything you can remember about how you were treated. Your attorney must know where to get all your medical records. Be prepared to answer questions about your daily activities as well. In many states, such as New York, these details are highly relevant. If you have trouble climbing up stairs or standing for long periods of time, that information is very valuable.
A successful claim for damages begins with a successful intake interview, so it’s important to be prepared.