One of our most frequently asked questions is, “Do you offer free consultations?” The answer is yes! But is this common among Alberta personal injury lawyers? Many people, when they think of lawyers, think of expensive legal fees, high costs, and big bills. And it’s true that most lawyers are paid by the hour, and charge high hourly rates. But injury lawyers are different.
How Are injury Lawyers Different From Other Lawyers?
There are 3 main ways that injury lawyers differ from other lawyers:
- Injury lawyers offer free initial consultations;
- Injury lawyers offer contingency fees; and
- Injury lawyers cover your disbursements.
Let’s explore each of these in turn.
Free Initial Consultations
In Alberta, virtually all injury lawyers offer free initial consultations. Usually this means that you meet with a lawyer and perhaps other members of the law firm’s legal team for a set time to go over your injury claim and get some free legal advice. During this consultation, the lawyer also assesses your claim to determine if it is likely to be successful. Most free injury lawyer consultations in Alberta last for 30-60 minutes, depending on factors such as the firm’s policies, the value, complexity, or severity of your claim, or the number of people involved in the claim with you (for example, multiple family members in a car accident together). Consultations can be longer if necessary, to allow the lawyer to gather all the important facts and answer all of your questions. Free initial consultations usually take place at the lawyer’s office, but injury lawyers across Alberta, and especially in Calgary and Edmonton, are increasingly offering more options to potential clients including:
- House calls;
- Hospital calls;
- Meeting at a location of your choosing;
- Phone consultations;
- Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, or other video consultations.
Preparing For Your Free Consultation
Prior to meeting your free initial consultation, your injury lawyer may ask you to prepare. The lawyer will likely ask you to bring important information about your claim with you such as:
- A Police report;
- Witness statements;
- Insurance information;
- Photographs of injuries or the accident location;
You should also come prepared with a list of questions you want the lawyer to answer during the consultation.
What If I Don’t Want to Hire the Injury Lawyer After the Free Consultation?
Most personal injury lawyers in Alberta offer free consultations with no obligation. That means you can meet with the lawyer but you don’t have to hire him or her, or pay for the consultation if you choose not to hire that lawyer. Some injury victims like to shop around and meet with multiple injury lawyers for free consultations. Others prefer to research injury lawyers online, choose a lawyer to meet with, and only meet with a different injury lawyer if the first consultation was unsatisfactory.
Almost all injury lawyers in Alberta offer contingency fees. Very simply, this means the lawyer doesn’t get paid unless and until you get paid. In other words, the lawyer’s fees are “contingent” or dependent on an event happening. For injury lawyers, the event that has to happen before they get paid is that they successfully recover money for you by resolving your claim, either through a negotiated settlement or in a court of law. If you’re shopping for a personal injury lawyer, here is some important information about the differences in injury lawyers’ contingency fees.
Covering Your Disbursements
Every legal action costs money, and not just lawyers’ fees. There are always expenses associated with pursuing an injury claim, and these expenses are called disbursements. Disbursements in an injury claim run from hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on the severity and complexity of your claim. They include things like:
- A police report for a motor vehicle accident;
- A land titles search for a slip and fall;
- Medical reports;
- Treatment charts from doctors and other medical providers; and
- Expert witness assessments and reports.
Most Alberta personal injury lawyers will cover your disbursements, which means they will pay for those expenses while the claim is ongoing, like a loan. Some injury lawyers charge interest on the disbursements during the time it takes to resolve your claim, and rates vary from lawyer to lawyer. When the claim is completed, in most cases an experienced Alberta injury lawyer will be able to recover all of the disbursements from the insurance company of the person(s) you made the claim against, so you won’t have to pay for them out of your own pocket.
If All Injury Lawyers in Alberta Offer Free Consultations and Contingency Fees, and Cover My Disbursements, How Do I Choose?
Now you’ve learned that virtually every injury lawyer in Alberta offers free consultations, contingency fees, and covered disbursements. If all of these things are the same, you may be asking, “What’s really different about injury lawyers, and how do I pick the best injury lawyer for me and my claim?” We have written this article to help you answer that exact question.
Litwiniuk & Company – Alberta’s Injury Lawyers
If you’ve been injured in an accident in Alberta, Litwiniuk & Company offers free consultations at a time and place that works for you. If it’s convenient to meet at 10 pm by Zoom, we’re there for you. If you’d prefer a 7 am consultation in your home on a Sunday, we’ll do that too. Our consultations are truly free, which means you are under no obligation to hire us. And if you choose us to help you win your claim, we don’t get paid unless and until you do. And we’ll cover your disbursements while the claim is ongoing. We’ve been helping injured Albertans since 1976, and we’re standing by to help you when you’re ready. Get all your injury claim questions answered by a lawyer, for free – call or email us today to book your consultation.