Great personal injury attorneys, on the other hand, are less common. Four important qualities separate the good from the great
The trait that defines a great personal injury lawyer is compassion. Great lawyers care about their clients. They understand the pain and suffering that their clients endure. Because they empathize with injury victims, they are able to communicate that suffering to juries and to insurance adjusters.
Clients refer friends to great personal injury attorneys not only because those lawyers achieve excellent results, but because they treat clients with dignity and respect. Great lawyers view their clients as people, not as sources of fees. Outstanding personal injury lawyers care about achieving justice for injury victims more than they care about money. They want clients to receive fair compensation so that clients can rebuild their lives, get the medical care they need, and overcome their injuries to the greatest possible degree.
Great lawyers talk to their clients. The number one complaint about lawyers is that they ignore their clients. They fail to return telephone calls. They never answer emails. It takes weeks to get an answer to a simple question. The lawyer might be doing a good job for his or her clients but the clients are frustrated because they do not know what is happening with their cases.
Great personal injury lawyers keep their clients fully informed. They send copies of every letter they write on the client’s behalf. They give clients regular progress reports. They return telephone calls and respond to emails promptly. If they are busy with a trial, they make sure that a paralegal or secretary gets back to the client and relays an answer or tells the client when the attorney will be available. Clients know that great lawyers are working hard on their behalf because great lawyers communicate with their clients.
Good personal injury lawyers are always willing to take cases when a negligent party is obviously at fault and significant injuries are clear. They may be less willing to help a severely injured person when there is doubt about the ability to establish that another person’s negligence caused the injuries.
Even great lawyers turn down cases when the facts or the law are not on the side of the injury victim. But when a great lawyer believes that an injury victim was seriously harmed because another person or corporation behaved carelessly, that lawyer will work hard to obtain the compensation that the client deserves. When other lawyers say no because they think it will be too difficult to win the case, a great lawyer will say yes. Great lawyers take risks by investing time in cases they might not win if they believe that the case cries out for justice.
A great personal injury lawyer is never afraid to take a case to trial. That does not mean that great lawyers never advise clients to settle. A fair settlement is usually preferable to leaving the fate of an injury victim in the hands of the strangers who sit on a jury. Great lawyers evaluate cases carefully. They know whether an insurance company’s final settlement offer should be accepted or rejected and they advise clients accordingly.
At the same time, a great personal injury lawyer is never afraid to try a case. Good lawyers might be comfortable taking strong cases to trial but worry that they might lose when liability is in doubt. Great lawyers understand that juries are unpredictable and that verdicts are not always favorable, but they are willing to take cases to trial when insurance companies refuse to make reasonable settlement offers. They never pressure clients to take an inadequate offer because they fear that losing a case will make them look bad.
Attorney Tim Ryan, author of "The Personal Injury Victim's Bible", has assisted thousands of injury victims, obtaining more than $1 billion for his clients collectively since 1981.
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