If you find yourself in need of a personal injury lawyer, you’ve most likely just experienced something difficult or traumatizing. Maybe you’re facing a stack of medical bills while being unable to work. Or worse, maybe someone close to you has died as the result of the accident, and you’re in the beginning of a grieving process. It’s an extremely difficult place to be emotionally, on top of all these difficult decisions that need to be made. An attorney can be a great advocate to help you through a complex legal system, helping to empower you in the process. It’s your lawyer’s job to get results that help you recover strong.

No one wants to be the victim in an accident. But if you are, here are some things you can expect from a good lawyer:

Your lawyer should:

  • make it clear that you’re the one in charge 

  • help you understand what you can expect 

  • monitor the many deadlines and explain when things should happen

  • determine and tell you what’s important in your case

  • be clear with an estimate of things will cost

  • assist you in analyzing various strategies and their cost-effectiveness 

  • monitor and explain delays or date changes

  • determine and tell you what your case is worth

  • explain the risks and benefits of going to trial versus settling

  • coach you and prepare you on giving a deposition, and

  • if you go to trial, prepare you for it.

You should:

  • be accountable to what you agree to do 

  • put together a summary and chronology of events in writing 

  • tell your lawyer everything, even if it feels hard or you think it might put your case at risk

  • know that your lawyer has a duty to keep whatever you say confidential

  • tell your lawyer about new developments

  • be respectful of your lawyer’s time and schedule

  • provide requested information promptly

  • tell your lawyer about times when you will be unavailable

  • assist with research and leg work that doesn’t require legal training

  • pay your bills, and

  • keep professional  boundaries with your lawyer.

It’s important to do your research, and talk to friends and family about lawyers with whom they’ve had good experience. A skilled legal advocate can make a world of difference to your case. For more information on how to find a good attorney, visit this Consumer Reports article. When you’ve found one you like, here is a list of questions you might want to ask. 

Bill Coats is an attorney in downtown Bellingham, focused on getting fast, full, and fair settlements for his clients. To learn more about the results he has gotten for his clients, read these testimonials and see how much he was able to find for his clients. 

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