If you've been hurt in an auto collision, you want to make sure you end up with a "good" lawyer for you and your case. And that expectation can work both ways. Every lawyer wants a "good client." But what is a "good client," and how much of being a "good client" is actually within the client's control?
In a nutshell, a good client does whatever is necessary in order to ensure that the case goes as smoothly as possible, and that the best outcome (a fair personal injury settlement, or a win in court) can be reached. That means:
1. RESPOND TO YOUR LAWYER. Clients get pretty upset when their lawyer doesn’t return phone calls. Lawyers feel the same way. If you don’t return your lawyer’s phone calls, emails, or letters promptly, you're not just wasting your lawyer's time, you could also be hurting your case.
2. ATTEND ALL OF YOUR MEDICAL APPOINTMENTS. Your health care provider will note any appointment that you miss, and, if you miss too many, the insurance adjuster (or the jury) is going to assume that you must not have been hurt as badly as you claim. This will cost you and your lawyer money. Be sure to keep all of your appointments.
3. COOPERATE IN THE DISCOVERY PROCESS. If you end up filing a lawsuit, the defendant will send your lawyer written questions called interrogatories, as well as document requests. Your lawyer will send these on to you. You will need to promptly answer the interrogatories and provide your lawyer with the requested documents, or your case could be dismissed. Help your lawyer, and help yourself. Respond to all discovery as quickly as you can.
Practice for your deposition. Your deposition is a very important step in your case. Your lawyer is there to help you prepare, to offer guidance during the proceedings, and even step in if the other side is taking a questionable approach. Follow your lawyer's advice and recommendations.
4. DON'T (ALWAYS) BLAME YOUR LAWYER. Clients who are annoyed that their case isn’t going well will often turn on their lawyer and say that it must be the lawyer’s fault.
Some things are indeed a lawyer’s fault, and any client needs to be attuned to that. But some problems that arise in personal injury cases are the client’s fault, and other obstacles are no one’s fault. Some personal injury cases just aren’t that strong (meaning there's little or no chance of reaching a favorable outcome). Don’t blame the messenger if your lawyer brings bad news. It's not going to help your case.
We have a long history of representing injured people and their survivors. If you, a friend, family member, neighbor, or co-worker has been injured in an account collision, give us a call at 253.858.5434 to see how we can help.