Are You My Lawyer?
As a victim of someone else’s negligence, one of the last things you need on your plate is having to play “Where’s Waldo?” to find and communicate with your lawyer. You hired your lawyer to simplify your life after the crash or fall causing your injuries. To have to chase your lawyer or her/his assistant for information about your case is frustrating for you and demonstrates the sloppy and improper way in which your lawyer practices. To ensure your right to know about your claim is always respected, look for these traits in your legal advocate:
– Return Phone Calls – One of the most frequent complaints I hear is “my lawyer doesn’t return my calls.” If this happens more than twice, I’d recommend considering getting another, more responsive lawyer. For me as a practitioner with a conscience and a sense of moral responsibility, nothing is more frightening than having a bunch of unreturned messages on my desk or in my computer’s in-box. In this case, what you don’t know CAN hurt you.
– CC Me On Everything – The client should receive a copy of whatever correspondence gets sent out to an insurance adjuster, doctor, adversary or expert. The client who reads all knows all there is to know about an issue and is as fully informed as the lawyer and letter recipient. This leads to fewer phone calls from the distressed client seeking information, reducing the problem of return phone calls, as noted above.
– Involve Me In My Case – At certain critical junctures in the personal injury litigation process, the client’s participation is mandatory, such as at deposition, arbitration or trial. Often, however, a client’s input, though not mandatory, would be extremely helpful in focusing the lawyer’s approach towards trying to get the case settled. A conscientious lawyer will visit the client’s home or work to get a real feel for how the accident-related injuries have altered the client’s lifestyle.
Communication is a hallmark of the legal profession and your advocate’s proficiency in effectively reaching her/his audience often equates with the degree of success you as the client achieve. You’re entitled to an attorney who will strongly and effectively advocate for your cause;someone who will not only speak to you when you call, but call you periodically to tell you what’s up with your claim.