Imagine a scenario where you’ve been hurt. You’ve retained an attorney, and you hope to recover for your losses. You eagerly wait for your day in court.
Somewhere along the way, you start to wonder about the job your attorney is doing in your case. Maybe you seldom hear from your attorney with case updates. Maybe you call your lawyer’s office but rarely receive a return call. How can you tell if your attorney is dropping the ball? Here are some signs that your personal injury attorney isn’t doing their job.
Your Attorney Should Communicate With You
When you contact your lawyer, you should hear back within a reasonable amount of time. Your attorney might have other cases to handle, so they might not always be able to get back to you right away. However, if you have important questions and you never seem to hear back, this can be a red flag.
Client communication is an essential part of an attorney-client relationship. A client needs to have confidence that their attorney is their partner and teammate as they work to get the justice they deserve. If an attorney doesn’t call you back, there may be cause for concern.
There Should be Things To Do
When you file a case in a Nevada court, you might not have a trial for many months. There are important things that are supposed to happen during this delay. Your attorney should be busy preparing your case for trial. There are a lot of things to do long before you ever arrive in court. These things involve gathering evidence so that you’re ready to present your case in court.
For example, one way to gather evidence is to conduct depositions. Deposition refers to the process of interviewing witnesses under oath to see what they know about the case. This usually occurs at an attorney’s office or another meeting place outside of a courtroom. Your attorney can also make requests for documents from people who have records that are relevant to the case.
There’s a good chance you’re going to need medical appointments to prepare your case. Part of a personal injury case is proving your losses. That means you need medical experts who can determine your exact injuries and how they’re likely to affect you in the future.
There may also be court dates along the way. Your attorney may need to file or respond to pretrial motions about whether certain evidence is admissible in trial. The court can decide some of these issues before a trial even begins.
The point is that while you wait for the trial, you should have things to do. There should be events, meetings, and depositions that happen periodically. If you never hear anything about what’s going on in your case, it may be cause for alarm. Although no two cases are exactly alike, your attorney should be able to tell you what they’re doing to gather evidence and prepare for trial.
Your File Doesn’t Make Sense
Just like you have a right to a copy of your medical files, you have a right to a copy of your attorney’s file. That means you can look through the paperwork yourself to see what’s going on. There should be copies of the initial court filings, discovery requests, and anything the attorney receives from the other side.
This is an excellent way to see the work your attorney is doing on your behalf. If your attorney is working hard, there’s going to be a paper trail in the file.
Also, reading the file for yourself is a good way of determining if your attorney is taking the right steps to prepare for trial. Even though legal work can sometimes be confusing, you can probably still make sense of what you find in the file. You can read what arguments your attorney is using to advance your case. If you have any questions, you can get a second opinion from another attorney.
Your Lawyer Should Know Your Case
When you talk with your lawyer, they shouldn’t be a stranger. Instead, your lawyer should know you, and the facts of your case. If your lawyer is fuzzy about the details about your injuries or the status of the case, it may be time to hire a more experienced personal injury attorney.
There Are No Settlement Negotiations
The truth is that most personal injury cases settle before trial. Of course, that can’t happen if your attorney never pursues a settlement. There is an art to negotiating a good settlement for a client, so a lawyer doesn’t necessarily try to settle a case before discovery or spend too much time showing the other side their cards.
Even so, a settlement is an important part of any personal injury case. Your attorney should actively work towards a settlement at some point in the case. You may also attend a mediation session to try to work towards a resolution.
Ways to Improve the Situation
If you’re concerned about the job your attorney may be doing in your case, there are a few things you can do. Make sure you respond to any requests for information. Even if it’s as simple as asking you how you’re doing, if your attorney asks you for information, you should respond as soon as you can.
Also, ask your attorney what kinds of things you can do to help move the case along. Ask your attorney if they’ve done any discovery in your case. If the answer is no, you can discuss why your attorney feels discovery isn’t needed. You can ask if your attorney feels there are problems in your case and what you might be able to do to move past those issues.
Work With an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Any person facing a personal injury claim needs a qualified and experienced attorney to advocate on their behalf. Having a great case doesn’t put dollars in your pocket by itself. You need an excellent attorney to help you build a strong case to present in court and negotiate a satisfactory settlement.
Trust your instincts. You should have an attorney you’re comfortable with who works their hardest to maximize your recovery. If something tells you your attorney isn’t handling your case with the skill and attention you deserve, it may be time to talk to another lawyer.