9 Things You Should Know About a Free Consultation with a Personal Injury Lawyer in San Antonio, TX

You will probably come across the phrase “free consultation” many times as you search for a San Antonio personal injury attorney. Almost all injury lawyers conduct free consultations for new clients to educate them about their legal rights and assess the personal injury claims they might have.

To make the most of your free consultation, you should prepare some questions and topics for discussion. And to do this, you need to know how consultations work and what you can accomplish during one.

How to Schedule a Free Consultation With an Attorney

Free consultations should play a central role in selecting a lawyer. You can narrow down lawyers using online bios and recommendations from friends and family members. But you need to talk to the lawyer before hiring them.

You will form a working relationship with your lawyer over the months or years it takes to resolve your case. You need to make sure your lawyer has the knowledge, skills, and experience appropriate for your case. And you need to know that you and the lawyer agree on the goals and strategy for your case.

To schedule your consultation, call the lawyer’s firm. The legal assistant or paralegal scheduling your consultation will ask about your situation. If your case fits the lawyer’s practice, you will get an appointment to discuss your case and how the lawyer can help you.

Nine Things to Know About Free Consultations

Some aspects of free consultations that you should know include:

1. Free Consultations Come Without Obligation

You have no obligation to the law firm when you schedule a free initial consultation. Specifically, you do not need to:

  • Pay for the consultation
  • Hire the law firm
  • Inform the lawyer if you hire a different law firm

In fact, many accident victims schedule multiple free consultations with different law firms to find the best personal injury lawyer for their cases.

2. Your Time Is Limited

You do not have unlimited time. When you schedule your appointment, the lawyer’s assistant should tell you how much time you have. Most consultations last between 30 and 60 minutes.

You should arrive prepared with some questions and discussion topics. Preparation will help you work through your consultation efficiently. It will also allow you to respect the lawyer’s time.

3. Your Discussion Is Confidential

Lawyers need the full picture to assess your case and advise you about your options. Lawyer-client confidentiality protects your communications with a lawyer for purposes of seeking legal representation. This rule encourages you to disclose all facts to the lawyer without worrying that the lawyer will disclose or use that information.

You should prepare to have an open and full discussion with the lawyer. 

You should disclose all relevant facts to the lawyer, including ones that:

  • Hurt your case
  • Embarrass you
  • Show you might have lied previously

Suppose that you suffered nerve damage causing sexual dysfunction. You should disclose this fact to the lawyer, even if it embarrasses you, because it might affect the value of your case and the lawyer’s strategy.

Legal fees are among the most important issues to discuss with the lawyer during a free consultation. You must know the cost of hiring a lawyer so you can compare different lawyers. Knowing the fees will also help you set your expectations for your case.

Injury lawyers almost always charge a contingency fee. These fees get collected at the end of the case based on the settlement or damage award the lawyer wins. As a result, you will not need to pay any upfront fees. You will also pay no attorney’s fees if the lawyer loses the case.

5. Lawyers Use Consultations to Screen Cases

Since a lawyer’s income depends on winning compensation for clients, they will carefully screen cases to ensure they only take cases they can win or settle. If a lawyer accepts your case for representation, you know your case has enough value that the lawyer is willing to accept the risk of taking a contingency fee.

If a lawyer lacks confidence in your case, they will explain the problems they foresee. When a lawyer declines your case, you should seek a second opinion before giving up. Sometimes, lawyers have differing opinions about the risks and weaknesses in cases.

6. Free Consultations Are Job Interviews for Lawyers

You should approach your free consultation as your opportunity to interview the lawyer. 

Pay attention to how the lawyer communicates so you can measure the following:

  • How well you will work with the lawyer
  • The lawyer’s ability to negotiate with insurers
  • How persuasive the lawyer will argue before a jury

If you find the lawyer’s logic or communication confusing, a juror or claims adjuster might feel the same.

7. Experience Matters

Lawyers with more experience will know the following:

  • Case strategies that have worked in the past
  • Court filing procedures
  • How to deal with different insurers
  • Arguments that persuade jurors
  • Expert witnesses who can provide solid, persuasive testimony

You should focus on lawyers with relevant experience. Even though the same legal principles apply to most injury cases, a lawyer focusing solely on car accident cases will have a very different skill set than a lawyer who takes only medical malpractice cases.

8. You Should Discuss Deadlines

Texas, like all states, has a statute of limitations. This law tells you and the courts how long you have to file a personal injury lawsuit. You should discuss the statute of limitations in your case with the lawyer so you know how long you have to make decisions about your case.

9. You Do Not Need to Hire the Lawyer at the Consultation

You should not feel pressured to hire a lawyer after your meeting. You will probably need time to carefully consider whether to hire a lawyer. You may even want to talk to other lawyers before picking one of them for your case.

Choosing the Best San Antonio Personal Injury Lawyer for Your Case

You should choose a San Antonio personal injury attorney based on your personal priorities. The best lawyer for you and your case might not be the lawyer with the most billboards.

Instead, the best lawyer for your case will share your goals. And you will have a rapport with the lawyer so you can build a working relationship with them as both of you fight for a fair resolution of your claim.