When you hire a personal injury lawyer, there are certain things you should be able to expect from him or her. These are some of the key ones:
1) Explain the Terms of the Agreement
Most likely, you will sign a contingency fee agreement with your personal injury lawyer. This agreement should be written in plain language. It should clearly outline what the lawyer is being retained to do and what the fees will be. If anything is unclear, ask the lawyer about it. If you still don’t understand, or if you have any unaddressed concerns, you should consider having another lawyer review the agreement.
2) Explain the Process
Your lawyer should give you some idea of what to expect in terms of timelines and potential outcomes. This doesn’t mean firm answers. Many factors influence how long it will take to reach a settlement and how much you end up receiving. But your lawyer should give you an idea of what is likely to happen, and the factors that will affect outcomes, so that your expectations are realistic. This helps reduce the chance of misunderstanding and disappointment down the road.
3) Respond Within a Reasonable Time to Your Inquiries
This is a big pet peeve for clients. For whatever reason (overwork, poor organization, etc.), some lawyers do a very poor job of communicating with their clients. In fact, poor communication is probably the number one complaint that clients have about their lawyers. According to some surveys, more than half of ethics complaints against lawyers involve communication issues.
At Zhivov Law, we respond to most voice and electronic messages within a couple of hours (and often within a few minutes) on business days. Virtually every call and e-mail we receive is responded to the same day. If you’re not happy with your lawyer’s response time, talk to them about it. You should not have to fight to be noticed!
4) Treat You With Respect
Law can be stressful and uncertain. But that’s no excuse for treating people poorly, especially clients. Although everyone has bad days and bad moments, you should expect a certain level of respect and consideration in the e-mails, letters and phone calls you get from your lawyer. Unfortunately, not every lawyer does this. Rude e-mails from lawyers are actually a leading source of client complaints. This shouldn’t happen.
5) Offer Client Testimonials
With thousands of dollars at stake, and a process that will take months or years, you want to make sure you have the right personal injury lawyer. Reading or listening to client testimonials on a lawyer’s website is a great way to ensure this happens.
You can check out our client testimonials here.
These are just a few of the things you should expect from your personal injury lawyer. If you have any questions, please contact us.