Meeting a lawyer for the first time? Follow this advice

If you’ve been injured in an accident, are writing a will or purchasing real estate, there are many steps you need to take – including finding a lawyer.

When you’re meeting a lawyer for the first time, there are many things to consider. Attorney Christopher Welch, of Budash and Welch, LLP, offers his advice:

1. Bring your paperwork

“They need to bring with them any paperwork related to their matter,” Welch said.

If you’ve filed your case with a court, an official document regarding your legal matter will be provided. In criminal cases, a formal report would be filed from the police.

Have all of these documents handy before your appointment.

However, if your paperwork has not been issued yet, Welch said that you should not wait before contacting an attorney. An initial consultation can be held right away, and a second held when your paperwork is officially filed.

2. Be prepared to tell the whole truth

Sometimes it’s not easy to confide in a person that you’re just meeting for the first time.

“A client needs to understand that when they come here anything they talk about, whether or not they hire us, is confidential,” Welch said. “They need to be open and honest with us so that we can make a fair assessment of their case.”

Should the whole truth not be told during an initial consultation, it could effect the outcome of a case.

3. Have realistic expectations

Welch said that, when you’re first contacting a lawyer, you need to maintain realistic expectations about the initial consulation.

“The purpose of the initial conversation is not to render legal advice or take action on their matter,” Welch said. “Generally we will not take action on their matter until we have been retained or hired to work on the matter.”

Common questions for attorneys during an initial consultation, Welch said, are:

  • Do you handle these types of cases?
  • Does my case have merit?
  • What are your fees?

Another item of advice that Welch offers those in need of a layer is “do your homework and shop around.”

“Just because an attorney has the cheapest fee or has the most experience handling a subject matter doesn’t mean that you’re going to get along with that person or relate to that person,” he said. “You have to be comfortable with the attorney that you hire.”

Stay safe this winter with these driving tips

While winter can be a beautiful time of year, it can also be a treacherous season on the roads. Winter driving conditions require increased attention and an ability to adapt quickly.

In 2015, 8,010 people nationwide were killed in car crashes between December and March, resulting in an average seven percent per month increase from 2014, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). These numbers are a warning to everyone on the roads about how dangerous winter driving can be.

“Winter looks more idyllic outside our house windows than outside our windshield,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “The good news is many cars are equipped with life-saving technologies. It is important that drivers understand how the technologies work in order to drive safely in winter conditions.”

In an effort to prevent crashes on the road this winter, MyCarDoesWhat, an NSC and University of Iowa initiative, is offering some major pieces of advice for driving in winter conditions.

  • Slow down. Drivers frequently underestimate how long it takes to brake and how difficult it can be to steer on slippery roads.
  • Don’t use cruise control on slippery surfaces like ice and snow. It will diminish your control and reduce your reaction time in the event of a skid.
  • Remember, bridges and overpasses freeze before roadways, so be alert in cold weather when approaching one.
  • Many new safety technologies (like back-up cameras) have outside sensors that can freeze or fog up. Always make sure they are clear so they work their best.

MyCarDoesWhat also reminds drivers of the safety technologies that can help vehicles adapt in slippery and changing conditions.

  • Anti-lock braking systems (ABS) help drivers maintain control by preventing wheels from locking up. ABS works differently than traditional brakes, delivering and releasing precise braking pressure to each wheel as needed. So, don’t pump the brakes if you have ABS. Just hold them down firmly and look and steer in the direction you want to go. The brakes may buzz and vibrate when the ABS has activated.
  • Traction control helps you accelerate without spinning out on slippery surfaces like snow and ice.
  • Electronic stability control senses when you may be losing control around a corner or curve, and can stabilize your car if it begins to veer off the road.
  • Adaptive headlights adjust to changing roadway conditions — such as curves — to provide optimum illumination along the roadway during long winter nights and periods of low daytime visibility.
  • The temperature warning feature provides updates about upcoming roadway conditions such as black ice.

“When there is snow and ice on the road, antilock brakes can improve the stability of your braking so you can steer better,” said Dan McGehee, director of the University of Iowa National Advanced Driver Simulator. “Remember to hold the brakes down even when they pulse and vibrate.”

For more information, visit and follow MyCarDoesWhat on Twitter and Facebook.

Stay safe this winter. Learn how your car works and drive slowly in dangerous conditions.

This article provided by StatePoint Media. 

Stay safe while decorating this holiday season

While you’re decking the halls this holiday season, be careful! Standing on a ladder to hang holiday lights and other decorations can be dangerous.

The American Ladder Institute offers these basic ladder safety tips:

  • If you feel tired or dizzy, or are prone to losing your balance, stay off the ladder.
  • Do not use ladders in high winds or storms.
  • Wear clean slip-resistant shoes.  Shoes with leather soles are not appropriate for ladder use since they are not considered sufficiently slip resistant.
  • Before using a ladder,inspect it to confirm it is in good working condition.
  • The ladder you select must be the right size for the job.
  • When the ladder is set-up for use, it must be placed on firm level ground and without any type of slippery condition present at either the base or top support points.
  • Only one person at a time is permitted on a ladder unless the ladder is specifically designed for more than one climber (such as a Trestle Ladder).
  • Ladders must not be placed in front of closed doors that can open toward the ladder. The door must be blocked open, locked, or guarded.
  • Read the safety information labels on the ladder.

Have you been hurt in an accident? Our firm has been assisting the injured, whether the injury is moderate to severe. Learn more about our Personal Injury cases here.