We understand that there are a ton of good jokes about lawyers out there. And we get that there are some lawyers who 100% deserve to be at the pointy end of those jokes. Even so, when it comes to personal injury, a lawyer is one of the first people you are going to reach out to for assistance. When you are hurt in an auto accident or injured on the job, you want somebody on your side to defend your rights and pursue justice. We want to help you learn how to have a successful relationship with your personal injury lawyer to make sure you get the best outcome for your case.
A relationship with your lawyer is like many other relationships. They’re only successful if there is mutual trust, respect, and communication. Here are some tips that will increase your chances of having a successful case and a successful relationship with your lawyer. Who knows? You might just make a new friend.
Timing is critical
Your personal injury case has a time limit. This is because every state has a statute of limitations to take legal action. There are time limits for both criminal prosecution and civil lawsuits. While this may seem unfair to someone that has been injured by the negligence of another, the legal concept has been around since the times of ancient Greece. Statutes of limitations aim to protect an alleged defendant from unfair legal action because with the passage of time, evidence may be lost, memories fade, and eyewitnesses may die or disappear.
Because of this, contacting your personal injury lawyer quickly after an injury occurs is crucial. Your lawyer will direct you to record as much information as you can before your memories of the accident become less clear. When we forget vital details, it leaves extra room for the defendant to poke holes in your case. And you can believe if a person or business caused your injury through negligence, they’ve already started working with a lawyer on their side.
Since some cases take years, it’s incredibly important to document everything soon after your accident so you’ll be prepared when it comes time for a deposition. A deposition in a personal injury case is when you appear at a specific place at a particular time and provide sworn testimony under oath about the details of your case.
Be truthful with your personal injury lawyer
Sometimes people feel if they are completely honest with their lawyer, this will hurt their case. This isn’t necessarily so because your lawyer will understand if the issues you’re worried about are even relevant to the case. If it’s not relevant, then your lawyer can lodge a legal objection to it being brought up in court proceedings.
When you lie, you leave yourself open to scrutiny, which can end up torpedoing your case. We’ve all done things that we wish we hadn’t done. However, your lawyer is not the one to judge you. Being ashamed of your previous criminal history or something you’ve said in the heat of an argument may make you feel it’s best to keep it to yourself, but this is always a bad idea. During the course of a lawsuit, both your attorney and the defendant’s attorney are going to analyze, scrutinize, and dig. More than likely, one or both attorneys are going to find out that you lied. This kind of betrayal can wreck your relationship with your lawyer and, even worse, give the defense ammunition to describe you as untruthful. If you’re willing to lie about other things, then why should anyone believe your testimony concerning how you were injured?
There is also the attorney-client privilege to consider. Attorney-client privilege is a legal concept, and it ensures that confidential communications between you and your lawyer are kept secret. That’s not to say you can tell your lawyer you plan to lie to the courts. In that case, any respectable lawyer will try adamantly to change your mind. If they cannot, your lawyer may ask to be relieved from the case leaving the judge to wonder what events transpired to get that outcome. The bottom line is, don’t lie to your lawyer or to the courts.
We get that when the negligence of another party injures you, things can get emotional. And an empathetic lawyer is crucial to getting your emotional needs met. However, sharing every grievance with your lawyer when it’s not relevant to the case doesn’t help. We understand you have important things to say. A lot is riding on the outcome of this case, but taking the time to edit out the unnecessary information will leave your lawyer with more time to deal with the important aspects of your case.
Personal injury lawyers typically have a full caseload and will receive copious amounts of communication each day. If you send one-off emails about every single thing that crosses your mind, it can be overwhelming for them. It might be better to compile everything into one document and make an appointment to get their full attention.
Angry tirades via email aren’t nearly as helpful as you might think. It’s far more persuasive to organize your thoughts and state them plainly. This will help your lawyer and your case.
While your lawyer needs to be an excellent and timely communicator, there may be times when they can’t get back to you right away. Especially if they are in court, which they often are. A good lawyer will have a support staff that is also familiar with your case. If you need an answer right away, reach out to them. They may be able to answer your questions, and if not, they may be able to expedite communications with your lawyer.
With all that said, we absolutely believe our clients have the right to be heard and receive quality service. In a personal injury case, you are the ultimate boss, and we understand we work for you, and you hired us for a reason. We do our very best to be sympathetic, meet our client’s emotional needs, and provide the best possible legal strategies to help you win your case.
What are your duties as a client?
- Do what you agree to do
- Provide all details of your injury as requested
- Be honest
- Understand your lawyer-client privilege
- Tell your lawyer about any new developments
- Be considerate of your lawyers time and schedule
- Respond promptly to communication
- Let your lawyer know your availability
- Help with your own research
What are your lawyer’s duties to you?
- Let you know what to expect
- Provide a timeline of events
- Explain what is important to your case
- Explain delays or changes in the timeline
- Estimate what your case is worth
- Communicate with insurance companies
- Communicate with the defendant’s team
- Explain the risks and advantages of going to court versus settling out of court
- Help prepare you for a deposition
- Prepare you for trial
- Represent you in court
Perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of being a personal injury lawyer is managing our client’s expectations. We understand you may feel vulnerable and emotional. And, this is one of the most difficult things you’ve had to face, especially if your injuries are severe or have your financial future compromised.
We work hard behind the scenes and in person to create a mutually beneficial relationship with our clients. We want to give you hope that your claim or lawsuit results will be favorable. However, sometimes a personal injury lawyer will struggle to manage expectations. Our first impulse may be to promise you the moon because we are moved by your stress and pain. However, that is never what a good lawyer does.
A good lawyer will work with you to come up with realistic goals that are within reach. As a client, you have to understand that we’re working with facts and evidence. While you may not want to hear that your lawsuit or claim isn’t worth millions, you have to understand that we have the experience and knowledge of case law that informs us towards reasonable goals.
Part of our job is to explain best and worst-case scenarios and the possibility that some things can happen that are outside of what we can control. While our experience informs our calculation of what a case similar to yours could be worth, that doesn’t necessarily include all the factors that will ultimately impact the final compensation. It’s nearly impossible for a personal injury lawyer to provide an exact amount of what you can expect. If a lawyer does this, you should know right then and there, they are more interested in getting your business than deserving of your business.
Why hire Morgan & Morgan personal injury lawyers?
Now you know a lot about how to have a successful relationship with your personal injury lawyer. It’s a two-way street, like all relationships. At Morgan & Morgan, we take our client-attorney relationships very seriously because we like to think our clients are an extension of the family.
We are one of the largest law firms in the US, yet we’re still a family-owned business. We believe that says a lot about how we honor family values. Our lawyers are people too, and just like anyone, they want to have mutual respect, honesty, and trust with the clients they are working so hard for. When you’re ready to build a mutually beneficial relationship with a personal injury lawyer, don’t hesitate to reach out for a free, confidential case evaluation. We’re prepared to take on the big insurance companies, large corporations, or any Goliath out there. Our lawyers do it every day.