What Should I Expect from a Free Consultation?

If you’re in need of a lawyer, or think you might be, you’ve probably seen a dozen or more offers for a free consultation while investigating your options. Even though these consultations are indeed free, and carry no obligation, speaking directly with a lawyer about your case can still be an intimidating step to take.

Maybe filing a lawsuit is still an abstract concept for you, and speaking with a lawyer would bring you closer to making it a reality. Maybe you’re worried that you won’t know the right questions to ask, or that you’d be setting yourself up for a high-pressure sales pitch. Or, you might not know what to expect from a free consultation at all.

Below, we’ll walk you through what you can expect from a free consultation from The Stoddard Firm.

We’ll Check Whether Our Specialties Align with Your Needs

To have the best possible chance of winning your case, you’ll need to work with a lawyer who has specialized knowledge of similar incidents and the laws and precedents surrounding them. During your consultation, we’ll ask you questions to help determine if we’re the right fit for you.

For example, a few of our key areas of expertise include:

Traffic Accidents — If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one in a crash that wasn’t your fault, we may be able to help you collect more complete compensation than what an insurance company would voluntarily offer. We’re especially skilled with cases involving commercial tractor-trailers. Driving these enormous rigs takes special training and a clear head, and shipping companies are responsible for the results if they put underqualified or overworked drivers on the road.

Industrial / Construction Accidents — Although employers are generally immune to lawsuits for workplace injuries, we’re experts at finding ways for survivors to collect full compensation after serious accidents at factories, construction sites, ports, and other damager places with machinery. We’ll ask questions about who was responsible for the worksite, and what kind of equipment played a role in the accident. This helps us identify possible negligent parties other than the victim’s direct employer. These lawsuits are usually against the premises owner, another contractor on a jobsite, or the manufacturer of a product that failed.

Negligent Security — If you’ve been the victim of a violent crime, odds are low that you’ll be able to collect worthwhile compensation from the perpetrator directly. Unless your attacker happens to be independently wealthy, it’s much more useful to sue the owner of the property where you were hurt. A property’s security measures have a huge effect on its crime rate, so landlords can be held responsible if they skimp on security at a location where crime is a known issue or hide that prior crime from tenants.

Sex Trafficking — Just like other forms of violence, property owners have a duty to watch for signs of sex trafficking and take all reasonable steps to protect their guests. Businesses can also be held responsible for sex trafficking if they knowingly enable it in ways other than allowing it to happen on their physical premises. The Stoddard Firm often brings sex trafficking and racketeering lawsuits against seedy hotels who aid in sex trafficking of minors.

If you’ve been the victim of an accident or crime not explicitly mentioned here, feel free to reach out and ask about our experience.

We’ll Discuss What Kind of Losses You’ve Suffered, and Estimate a Monetary Value

Civil settlements and awards are based primarily on the estimated value of what the victim has lost. So, in order to file a successful lawsuit, we’ll need to prove not just that the defendant was negligent, but that their negligence had a significant negative effect on your life.

For example, if a driver ran a red light and hit you, damaging your spine and totaling your car, you would have the right to compensation for your medical bills and replacement car, along with lost income and lost enjoyment from missing out on work opportunities and hobbies.

If, on the other hand, a driver ran a red light and hit you, but you walked away unscathed, and the car actually belonged to your friend or employer, you would have a much weaker claim to compensation, even though the driver’s negligent behavior was exactly the same.

The Stoddard Firm handles cases involving serious injuries.  Those injuries could be physical or they could be psychological. If the physical injuries are serious (death, loss of limb, blindness, hospital bills exceeding a few hundred thousand dollars) or the mental injuries are serious (rape and sexual violence), we will likely be interested in exploring your case.  If the injuries are not serious (back pain, scrapes, cuts, bruising, burns without significant hospitalization, anger at how a store clerk treated you, low medical bills), our firm is not a good fit.

During your consultation, we’ll talk about what concrete expenses you can include in your claim, as well as the losses you’ve suffered that have no simple price tag, and the typical value a court is likely to assign to them.

We’ll Honestly Assess Your Chances for a Meaningful Win, and Tell You If We Can Help

Pursuing a lawsuit is always a gamble for the plaintiff. Legal costs can pile up quickly, the emotional stress alone deters many victims from pursuing legitimate cases, and success is never 100% guaranteed.

At the Stoddard Firm, we do everything possible to minimize the risk to our clients. We strive to make the litigation process as stress-free as it can be, and we work on a contingency basis, which means the only payment we accept is a percentage of what we help our clients collect.  Essentially, we take the bulk of the risk upon ourselves.

That way, there’s no financial barrier to pursuing justice, and our clients can be sure that we’re not lying about the viability of the case or the hours we put into it. There’s no incentive for us to do those things, because our pay is entirely based on results.

Even so, we still choose to take cases against powerful defendants, sometimes even unpredictable, potentially precedent-setting cases, if they deal with issues we’re deeply passionate about, and we believe that we can make a compelling legal argument.

We’ll be completely honest with you in your consultation about how strong or risky we think your case is. We’ll discuss what legal obstacles you’ll face, and whether the defendant’s assets are likely to be worth your time. Ultimately, though, if we offer to represent you, it means we truly believe that we have a good shot at getting you a favorable outcome, both practically and morally.

We’ll Start Talking Out a Plan to Build Your Case

If we determine that your case is a match for our skills, and that pursuing it would be a wise move for both you and us, we’ll make an offer of representation. Of course, the decision to work together as lawyer and client is a mutual one, and it’s completely normal for you to have questions of your own about what we can do for you, before you decide to hire us.

At this point, we’ll discuss any concerns you may have, and talk about what our first steps would be as your official counsel. Depending on the specifics of your case, this might involve intensive first-hand investigation and evidence collection, or it might be as simple as notifying your opponent that you now have legal representation, and recommending that they revise any lowball offer they may have made to you.

When in Doubt, Reach Out

If you’re still uncertain about whether filing a lawsuit is right for your situation, or whether we’re the right firm to handle your case, that’s exactly what a free consultation is for. Give us a call at 678-RESULTS, or message us through our online chat function, and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have about your situation, your rights, and what we can do to help.

Attorney Matt Stoddard

Atlanta Personal Injury LawyerMatt Stoddard is a professional, hardworking, ethical advocate. He routinely faces some of the nation’s largest companies and some of the world’s largest insurers – opponents who have virtually unlimited resources. In these circumstances, Mr. Stoddard is comfortable. Mr. Stoddard provides his strongest efforts to his clients, and he devotes the firm’s significant financial resources to presenting the strongest case possible on their behalf. Matt understands that his clients must put their trust in him. That trust creates an obligation for Matt to work tirelessly on their behalf, and Matt Stoddard does not take that obligation lightly. [ Attorney Bio ]

TBI Claims and Your Insurance Case Manager: Know Your Rights

Following a traumatic brain injury (TBI), you may be eligible for an insurance claim that pays for many of the expenses and care you need for your recovery. Overcoming the symptoms of a TBI can take years or even a lifetime. Worse, you may not have the tools to do this alone, which is what a case manager is here for. Unfortunately, you may worry that your insurance case manager is not respec...