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What Should I Expect When I Contact a Lawyer?

​Many if not most auto accident lawyers do not charge for an initial consultation.  When you call for an appointment ask about a consultation fee up front.

Bring a copy of the police report, and any insurance paperwork that you have, including your own auto insurance policy.  If you have a copy of a police report, bring that as well.  You should also bring with you a copy of your health insurance plan.  Your lawyer will need to determine if your health insurance is part of an ERISA plan, and entitled to any reimbursement of costs.

The lawyer will ask you questions about the circumstances of your accident. If they determine that you have a claim for your injuries, they will ask you to sign a written representation agreement. They will also need you to sign medical releases in order to contact your health care providers and obtain treatment and billing records.

Contingency Fees in Car Accident Cases

Typical representation agreements in accident cases are based on a contingency fee.  That is, the lawyer is entitled to a percentage of any money collected by the client for their injuries, whether obtained prior to placing a matter in suit, or following trial. In Connecticut there are statutory limits on the amount the attorney can charge the client.  It is important to know that the attorney’s fee is separate from the costs and expenses reimbursed by the client.  The percentage contingency fee is taken from the gross settlement, or court award.  Costs and expenses are reimbursed in addition to the contingency fee. 

Damages in Car Accident Cases

There are three bases for liability in a civil matter.  First, the defendant must be more at fault for the accident than you are.  Second, you must have actual damages in order to obtain a judgment or settlement.  Third, you have to have a defend ant who can pay those damages, or else has insurance to cover an award of damages.  Damages include:

  1. economic damages, such as lost earnings and medical expenses;
  2. pain and suffering, both physical and mental; and
  3. loss of life’s enjoyment, for example, a physical injury that precludes you from taking part in a hobby or any other pleasurable activity, tennis, golf, running, swimming, etc. ...

Sometimes a lawyer will determine that there is no legal liability, or that it is unlikely that the defendant will be able to pay a judgement, or else the damages are too insignificant to justify bringing a claim.  You should always feel free to seek a second legal opinion.  And even if the lawyer is willing to take your case, it is a good idea to seek a second opinion. 

How to Choose a Lawyer

The choice of your lawyer is critical.  You will need to partner with your lawyer to bring about the best result.  Pick the lawyer you feel you can best work with given the complexity of the case, the lawyer’s experience, and your ability to work with that person. 

The relationship that you have with your lawyer is a critical part of the process.  Bringing a claim, or lawsuit, involves time and trust.  You may be required to answer interrogatories and produce documents.  You may be required to undergo a deposition, and even a trial.  You shouldn't have to fear any of these procedures, because you will be with your lawyer.

If you have been injured in Connecticut, I welcome you to contact my Clinton, CT law office for a free consultation. I will be happy to speak with you about your case and help determine if I am the right attorney for you.

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