Personal injury representation: the right way

It’s hard not to notice that almost every attorney out there advertises heavily for personal injury clients.  There are generally two kinds of lawyers who do this: lawyers who regularly handle personal injury cases, and lawyers who do not regularly handle personal injury cases but who would like to.  An injured person must be very careful in his or her choice of personal injury attorney – firstly by making sure that they actually retain a personal injury attorney.  Secondly, even if someone regularly handles personal injury cases in West Virginia, he or she may not be the right choice for the case.

I cannot remember how many times I have had people call me who are unhappy with their choice of personal injury lawyer.  They hired them, signed an agreement, and never heard another word from them.  The reason probably being that they are one in a hundred of clients in a personal injury mill.  In one of those law firms there is little one-on-one attention to the client.  Instead there is a lot of procrastination and mass churning of cases, heavily reliant on forms and always dependent on the early settlement of cases for less than the client fairly deserves.  This is the wrong way to do it.

There is a right way to handle a personal injury case.  From day one, the law firm must undertake their own investigation of the cause of the injuries.  Evidence must be preserved.  I would bet that in probably 75% of personal injury cases, the lawyers do not adequately perform an investigation and do not adequately preserve evidence.  The result is that the client will not be adequately able, or prepared, to go to trial and win.  This usually means that the client must settle – and must settle for less than he or she deserves.

Thirdly, a personal injury case must be actively prosecuted.  This means that the law firm must work on it no less than once per week.  Things must get done.  The case must be kept moving – toward trial.  I would venture to say that 70% of personal injury cases are chronically delayed to due to no reason other than the law firm’s caseload or laziness.  Generally, the closer and more quickly you move towards trial, the better the settlement will end up being (assuming it is not done recklessly or without diligence).

Fourthly, the client must be kept involved and informed in what is going on.  The client must have constant access to the law firm.  There should be many questions answered.  The client should not feel left out of the process.  Likewise, a good personal injury case also requires a reasonable client.  If a client has unreasonable expectations (sometimes that is the fault of the attorney who has misled them in order to get the case) proper handling of the case can be impossible.  Where clients are reasonable and informed, cases get much better settlements.

So don’t just open the phone book and call whomever has the largest ad.  And don’t just call the attorney who handled your divorce.  This is a complex area of the law that requires specific talent and experience.  Utilize the free consultation process to find the right person for your case.

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