Meeting your solicitor
Before you meet your solicitor it is a good idea to get together any letters, documents or other paperwork which you think the solicitor might need to see. For instance, if you have been involved in a car accident the police may have given you a card or a letter with some details on about the accident e.g. time, place, reference number (if in doubt show the solicitor the document and they will decide if they need the document or not).
It is also advisable to take any insurance policies that you may have to the meeting so that the solicitor can check to see if you have any legal expenses insurance.
At your first meeting there may be more than one solicitor present. This means that, if your solicitor is not available to speak to you at any time during your case, perhaps because they are at a court hearing, you will still have someone you can speak to who is familiar with your case.
The solicitor will ask you to tell them what, if anything, you can remember about the accident. It may be that because of your injuries you cannot remember anything. If that is the case, do not worry. The solicitor will be used to dealing with this situation. If a friend or family member witnessed your accident, your solicitor will be able to speak to them and they can also obtain information from others, e.g. the police or the Health and Safety Executive.
Once the solicitor is aware of the facts of your case they will tell you whether they have enough information to be able to properly advise you. If the solicitor feels that you have a reasonable chance of winning your case (i.e. a greater than 50% chance), then they will tell you what investigations they need to do next. They will also discuss with you how to pay for these investigations.
There are a number of different ways to fund your claim such as Legal Aid in Clinical Negligence cases, legal expenses insurance, after the event insurance, conditional fee agreements ("no win, no fee") and in some cases funding from your trade union or the Legal Services Commission (formerly the Legal Aid Board). The solicitor will advise you which option is best for you.