How to Work with a Personal Injury Lawyer
One of the misconceptions about hiring a personal injury attorney is that they will do all the work to help you file or litigate your claim. Of course, your attorney will lead your effort and do much of the heavy lifting in settlement negotiations and trial.
However, you need to work with your attorney and law firm along the way for you to have the most effective case. If you have never worked with an attorney before, you are wondering how to effectively help your lawyer who is working to give you legal help. Here is how to work with an attorney during your personal injury case.
Tell Your Lawyer the Truth About Your Legal Issues
When you have your free consultation with your attorney, they are going to ask you many questions about your claim. They need to know about your case before they decide to sign on as your attorney.
It is crucial to answer your lawyer’s questions truthfully when they ask them. The worst thing that a client can do is to give their lawyer incorrect information, placing their attorney in a compromised position when they are confronted with the true facts.
Telling the truth not only includes giving correct information, but it also means that you need to give all relevant information. Omitting any key facts does not allow your attorney to work effectively.
The facts do not change whether your lawyer knows them or not. It is better to put everything on the table so the lawyer can decide how to best proceed. Lawyers have the ability to fire clients who do not tell them the truth.
Try to give your lawyer information up front and in a timely manner. This will allow them to provide the most effective legal representation.
Keep Your Paperwork Organized
One of the best ways that you can help your personal injury attorney is by keeping your paperwork organized. This makes their job easier by saving them the time necessary to organize it themselves.
Many times, your lawyer will be working on tight deadlines. They may need to give an answer or a counteroffer to the insurance company, or they might need to make a filing with the court.
Having the paperwork ready and organized will allow them to focus more on doing their job. Accordingly, you should take some time to ensure that your paperwork is in order and clearly marked so your attorney can understand and use it with as little interaction with you as possible as they work for your legal rights.
Give Your Lawyer Quick and Comprehensive Answers
Not only may your attorney ask for documents, but they might also request for you to fill in certain facts as your case progresses. When they are asking you a question, there is a reason why they want to know the information. You should make providing them with a quick answer your top priority. You should always ask them the time when they need the answer.
Clients should also take the time to provide them with detailed answers, so they do not have to come back with more questions. This will help make the lawyer more effective and better able to formulate the way to respond to the court or the insurance company.
If you need extra time to give a detailed answer, try to ask your attorney if they can give you additional room to answer. Your attorney needs to do their best legal work. They may need to take the time to do legal research depending on what you provide them.
Be Reasonable in Your Expectations of Your Client Relationship
Your lawyer will work as hard as they can for you. Not only is this in their interest in many ways, but they are obligated to do so by their state bar. However, this does not mean that your lawyer can guarantee success. At the end of the day, the strength of your case is based on the evidence and the law.
Not only should you be reasonable in your expectations of the result of your case, but you should also be reasonable in your expectation of your attorney. They are also working with other clients and have deadlines in other cases.
In other words, you should not expect to hear from them every day with an update, especially if nothing has happened in your case. You can check in with them every so often, but you should not call them every day.
Your lawyer is obligated to inform you of major developments in your case and to work diligently on your claim. However, you should have reasonable expectations of them.
Understand that Your Lawyer Does Not Control Everything
Many clients end up getting frustrated with their lawyer when they do not get the results that they want both in terms of timing or compensation. While your personal injury attorney will work as hard as they can to negotiate the best offer and keep things moving, there are many things that are outside their control.
Some details of your case are dictated by the insurance company or the defendant. They may not be interested in a quick resolution of your case, or they might try to low-ball you with their settlement offer. While your attorney can do the best they can to work with the situation, they cannot force the insurance company to move your case along.
Ask When You Do Not Understand
Your personal injury attorney will do their best to explain your case and legal matters to you in layman’s terms. They understand that their clients are not experts in the law. They do not expect you to understand the law like someone with a law degree.
Even though they will try their best to explain things to you and give you legal advice in terms that you can understand, there will be some concepts that people without law degrees may struggle to understand.
As such, make sure to stop the attorney when you do not understand something and ask further questions. They might assume that you understood their explanation unless you ask them when you are unsure.