Experience is always important. How many years have they been practicing? Have they been around the block before?
Their trial experience is very important. A lot of attorneys handle cases and never go to court. Insurance companies know that. They treat them differently than attorneys who are willing to go to court to try a case to conclusion in front of a jury.
You want a firm with the financial resources to finance your case, retain the right experts, and take the needed depositions. All of those things cost money. The attorney must front that money and pay for it. The firm should be able to do this.
You want an attorney with whom you can communicate well. You want someone who will explain things clearly and who is accessible.
It’s hard for attorneys to return every call because we’re busy on a case. However, we have staff; we have assistants. With the email now, there’s really no reason you can’t get a response in a timely fashion. You want somebody you can communicate well with.
What Are Common Client Concerns When They Meet With You Initially?
Oftentimes, the clients will take the position that the accident wasn’t their fault or the accident was the other side’s fault for certain reasons. They typically ask our views of this. This is a good discussion to have.
Oftentimes, we don’t know right away. You can’t just listen to your client about the case, because clients aren’t always 100 percent accurate. You take their story, and then you corroborate it with other witnesses and physical evidence.
So often, they ask, “What do you think about liability? Is this a case I can win?”
A bad question often asked early on is, “What do you think my case is worth?”
A good lawyer is going to tell them he doesn’t know. Until the client finishes treatment, until the client gets better, until we know the type of injury, until we know the treatment’s resolution timeline, until we know permanent limitations, until we know the impact on a person’s life financially and with the family, you can’t honestly give them an evaluation. If I were a client, I’d be very wary of an attorney that told him the case was worth very large numbers during the first meeting.
Some cases are obviously worth a lot of money. For example, if a person is paralyzed, if there is liability, that case is worth a lot of money. The question becomes: it worth 1 million or 7 million. I can’t tell you until I get further into the case.
If a person loses a limb in an accident, obviously it’s worth a lot of money. However, is it worth a couple of million or 5 or 10 million? You don’t know until you get further into the case.
On your run-of-the-mill injury, when somebody breaks his shoulder, or somebody injures the knee, it’s really not a fair question. It’s not a question you can ask and expect an accurate answer the first time you meet with an attorney.
Does Keeping a Diary or a Journal Detailing Events Following an Accident Help a Bicycle Accident Case?
This is a really interesting question. It’s okay to keep notes on things you want to remember. For example, let’s say you’re at the scene and two witnesses approach you and say, “We saw that the other person’s at fault.” You can have a journal in which you put their names and numbers and a general description of what they said.
A year from now, you may forget their names or numbers. You might forget what they said. It’s good to have it written down.
It’s good to make a list of doctors, as well. Typically, people can remember the doctors they’ve gone to. Once again, we would subpoena the medical records. We’ll know the dates you were there and the treatment that was rendered.
But if you went to Doctor Jones, later Doctor Smith, and later Doctor Johnson, you can make a note of that in your journal. This helps down the road.
It becomes a little bit of a grey area when people keep a daily diary. They say: “I woke up this morning, my head really hurt.” The next day, “I woke up this morning, my head hurt worse.”
This can be interpreted in two ways. It’s harmful if the client is doing this to help his lawsuit. They’re exaggerating his claims, and he’s being overly involved.
He’s over-thinking it and writing every little thing that happens. This trivializes the injury and makes it seem a little bit unusual and maybe not credible. This is the risk of a daily journal.
Also, you might provide too much information in the journal. You might go on and on about your activities, your swimming, your playing, your running, and you thus tell the other side about your active day.
You’ve given them a lot of ammunition toward the value of the injury you’re claiming. So, I don’t personally like diaries.
If a special event happens, allowing you to state: “I blacked out last night when I got up. I was taken to the hospital,” you can make a note of the date and time. However, that’s probably enough. Too much detail can hurt you more than help you.
For more information on Qualities of A Good Attorney, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (916) 565-2100 today.