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When you’re dealing with a personal injury or accident in the USA, you’re often forced to find legal representation. For better or for worse, most of us have never had to hire an attorney, much less a personal injury lawyer. What makes someone a good lawyer? What are the must have traits for a good lawyer?
You may find people recommending attorneys based on their compassion and empathy. However, that doesn’t help you if they don’t respond to your requests for information or advice. For example, building rapport on the first meeting doesn’t matter if you can’t reach them afterward. Responsiveness is essential. Do they make appointments as soon as possible, or do they make you wait? Do they respond to phone calls and emails as quickly as they can instead of leaving you in limbo for several days?
A good way to gauge attorneys in this area is to read customer reviews. Take the time to read the negative reviews. Do people complain that they spent days waiting for returned calls or weeks to get paperwork back?
You can’t afford for your case to be handled by someone unfamiliar with personal injury law. Furthermore, there are several niches in personal injury law that is best handled by someone with experience in that area. Medical malpractice and trucking accident cases are two such examples. Failing to get the necessary documentation lined up or not finding the right expert witnesses can put your case in jeopardy. Someone who regularly personal injury cases may know how to total up the damages associated with a car wreck or traumatic brain injury incurred to date but not how to properly predict future associated costs. Work with experts like the experienced team at Baumgartner law firm.
One way to gauge their expertise is to learn about the certifications and specializations they have. Another is to ask about the percentage of cases they win. If they have roughly 50-50 odds, you should look for someone who wins most cases that they take. You should also ask how much they settle cases like yours for. You don’t want to work with an attorney who often settles for less just to get a payday and say they won the case.
We’d rate expertise as more important than experience. However, someone straight out of school lacks the expertise to handle your case because their knowledge is theoretical. If you’re talking to a senior attorney in the initial consultation, ask who will actually be doing the work. Don’t let yourself be impressed by a senior attorney who passes you off to someone who hardly knows what they are doing.
Suppose you have an attorney who is responsive. This doesn’t mean they’re good communicators. Too many lawyers try to project an image of competence and end up looking elitist. They hide behind legal jargon and complexity in an effort to impress you. In reality, they may or may not be competent. However, you need someone who is an effective communicator. It isn’t enough that they can argue your case in front of a judge or file the right paperwork with an insurance company. Can they effectively communicate with you?
You can gauge this at your first meeting. Can they explain how they’ll handle your case? Can they explain in terms you understand what your case is worth and what is expected of you? If they tell you to simply sit back and do what you’re told, find someone else.