Helpful Tips for Working with An Attorney as An Injured Plaintiff
If you have a legal claim and your goal is to maximize the compensation you would like to recover, I highly encourage you to read this. When clients work with an attorney, they can sometimes make a few mistakes that can make it harder for both the client and the attorney. These are the most common errors, mistakes, and issues that I see happen on a frequent basis.
First, if you have been hurt in an accident or you have been wronged, there is no need to embellish the facts and tell a one-sided story to your attorney, or a potential attorney. This can lead to much worse results than just telling all the facts at the beginning. The most important thing when working with an attorney is to ALWAYS TELL THE TRUTH, even if some of the truth hurts your case. REMEMBER: All of your conversations between you and your attorney about the legal matter are considered privileged, so you have nothing to lose by telling your attorney the whole truth. If your attorney knows about all the facts, especially the ones that will raise problems at trial, your attorney will have a better understanding and it will be able to devise a comprehensive strategy based on the actual facts, and not inflated falsities which will eventually come out and hurt your credibility. Never lie or attempt to make your claim into something it is not, this will simply lead to a significant amount of wasted time of not only the attorney’s, but your time as well. Just like your attorney will be attempting to discover all the facts, the attorney on the other side will be doing the same. The truth always comes out, and when it comes out in a way that is a surprise to your attorney, it will make righting the ship a much harder task.
-Always tell the truth, tell both sides of the story, and explain what evidence the other side might be able to present.
It can sometimes be difficult as life goes on to remember to stay on top of your communication with your attorney. It is important to always call your attorney back,and to return their emails when you get them. Believe me, we know what it is like tohave a million things going on, but staying in contact is very important. If your attorney is trying to reach out, call them back. There could be a statute of limitations issue or something else that needs to be dealt with as soon as possible. If your contact information changes, remember to update it with your attorney, believe it or not but millions of dollars in legal awards go unclaimed every year simply because the client stopped communicating with their attorney and forgot to update their information when they got a new phone number, address, and email.
-Keep in contact with your attorney, try to check-in at least once a month.
The best thing you can do for your attorney is to keep, save, properly store, and organize documents. Whether they are medical records, police reports, insurance information, text messages, or emails. To maximize your claim the best thing you can do is to keep everything that has anything to do with the claim you are going tofile. Your attorney will ask you for it, and the better state of organization it is in the more time they can research the important aspects of your case.
-Keep all documents that have any relation to your claim, scan them and back them up if possible, the more documentation the better.
Once you have hired the attorney, your role changes. This will be laid out in the “Contingency, or Hourly Fee Agreement” this document is what governs your relationship with your attorney, but also places some restrictions on things you can do. For example, once you have retained counsel, you can no longer speak to the person you are in a legal battle with. If they call you, you need to tell them to contact your attorney. Additionally, you cannot work with other attorneys on the case without your attorney knowledge and consent. All of the limitations in the contract you signed with your attorney are there for a reason. Most of them are done to protect the interests of the client, and must be followed.
-Always follow the fee agreement or retainer contract you signed, and if you do not understand have your attorney explain to you the limitations it has.
Working with an attorney can help to alleviate your legal issues and get you the compensation you deserve. When you do certain things like being completely honest and open, keeping in touch with your attorney, keeping track of all the important documents before handing them over, and following the guidelines in the agreement you signed. Then you are putting yourself in a position to help maximize your compensation or settlement.
If this document interested you or you would like some more information about your claim please feel free to contact us at (402) 409-0909. Also look at the articles titled: Advice for taking a deposition, What is mediation?, Do I have a legal claim?