Tips to Maximize Your Personal Injury Settlement
1. If your attorney tells you how much your case is worth when you first meet. Many clients want to know immediately how much their case is worth. However, it would be unprofessional and inappropriate to guess how much your case is worth because at the first meeting all the necessary information necessary to determine the value of a case is generally not available. If an attorney gives you an amount, you should consider the caliber of reliability and ethical behavior of the attorney.
2. They will make costs contingent on the outcome. There are attorney’s fee and costs (expenses for ordering police reports, medical reports, employment records, etc.) in personal injury cases. It is illegal in Washington State for costs to be on a contingent basis. If an attorney promises to make costs contingent on the outcome of your case, such a promise violates the Rules of Professional Conduct. If an attorney is willing to break the ethics code on costs, you should ask what other ethics he or she is willing to compromise.
3. If the attorney compromises on their fee. Do you want an attorney that you can out negotiate?
4. If your attorney or their office will not communicate with you. Is your attorney being straight forward and direct with you? Are they giving you a politician’s answer or being direct? Your attorney is not earning their fee if they are not holding up their part of the deal by spending the time to communicate with you.
5. Is your attorney telling you exactly what you want to hear? It is very easy to tell a client what they want to hear. It is your attorney’s job to give you straightforward, direct advice, which may not always be what you want to hear.
6. Does our attorney call him or herself a trial lawyer? You should ask them how many of their cases have gone to trial with a jury verdcit. Many attorneys call themselves trial lawyers, without ever having gone to trial. The insurance companies know which attorneys will settle on the cheap because they are afraid of juries, and which attorneys are willing to fight for their clients all the way to a jury trial.
7. Does your attorney guarantee an outcome? Attorneys cannot promise or guarantee an outcome. To do so violates the ethics rules and common sense. Most of life comes without a guarantee. The only guarantee an attorney can make to his clients is the guarantee to always act in their best interests.