Here are factors to look for and question your attorney about:
- Experience in the area of law that relates to your case
- Experience actually trying cases: has he or she achieved any significant verdicts or settlements? Are these settlements and verdicts available for you to look at? Don’t accept the “All my cases are confidential” line!
- Respect in the legal community
- Board Certification
- Membership in Best Lawyers in America
- Membership in trial lawyer associations
- Publications- has your attorney written anything that has been accepted for publication in legal journals?
- Ask your attorney if he or she is licensed in the state where your case will be filed. If he/she is not, you may be at a disadvantage.
So you use these factors, interview your attorney and have made your decision. You might be asking yourself: what now? Well first of all, you must make sure that your attorney keeps you informed about the progress of your case. He should take time to explain the “pace” of the case and in what time frames you can expect activity to take place. Make sure that you and your attorney have a firm understanding of who will be handling your case.
After choosing the right experienced personal injury attorney, you will see many benefits. Here is a list of tasks that your attorney may be called to do in your case:
- Initial interview with you
- Educate you about personal injury claims
- Gather documentary evidence, including police accident reports, medical records and bills
- Analyze your insurance policy to see whether there are any coverages which might make you pay all or a portion of the medical bills while the claim Is pending
- Analyze your insurance coverage and suggest what coverage should be purchased for future protection
- Interview known witnesses
- Collect other evidence
- Analyze the legal issues, such as contributory negligence and assumption of the risk
- Talk to your physician or obtain written reports from them to understand your condition
- Analyze your health insurance policy or welfare benefits to make sure whether any money they spent to pay your bills must be repaid
- Analyze the validity of any liens of the case
- Contact the insurance company to put them on notice of the claim
- Decide with you whether an attempt will be made to negotiate the case with the insurance company or whether suit shall be filed
- If suit is filed, prepare the client, witnesses and healthcare providers for depositions
- Prepare written questions and answers, and take the deposition of the defendant and other witnesses.
- Produce to the defendant all of the pertinent data for the claim, such as medical bills, medical records, and tax returns
- Go to court to set a trial date
- Prepare for trial and/or settlement before trial
- Prepare the client and witnesses for trial
- Organize the preparation of medical exhibits for trial
- Organize the preparation of demonstrative exhibits for trial
- Prepare for mediation and/or arbitration
- File briefs and motions with the court to eliminate surprises at trial
- Take the case to trial with a jury or judge
- Analyze the jury’s verdict to determine if either side has good grounds to appeal the case
- Make recommendations to you as to whether or not to appeal the case
You can download our free ebook on accident cases in Virginia.