The qualities and characteristics that you look for when hiring an injury attorney are fairly obvious. You want someone who is familiar with the law, has experience, and someone with whom you have a comfort level. On the last point, the attorney-client relationship should be a very strong one as you are working closely together and most likely the relationship will be for more than a year. In fact, in the most serious personal injury cases you will be working together for at least a year and a half, in large part because the injury will not be at a medical end point until that time.
As I describe in the video blog, there should be a flow of communication between you and the attorney. Sometimes the flow will be with key staff members of the law firm. This is not to say that the attorney’s role is diminished but only to point out that the day-to-day tasks of getting medical records and the like are typically handled by paralegals. But you will have a flow of communication with the lawyer. You want to make him or her aware of any developments on liability, including the existence of witnesses, and obviously any developments with respect to your injury. Topics to be included are the ongoing functional limitations, pain level, medication, medical providers and a general discussion of how the activities of daily living have been affected. I often ask clients to provide me with a diary every two weeks or so to keep me apprised of these developments. The purpose of a diary is several fold: it will refresh a client’s recollection as to how they were feeling at a particular point in time, particularly in the acute stages of the injury; it allows me to get a “real time” sense of how the injuries are unfolding; and allows me to provide an insurer or a defense attorney with meaningful information when they call for the inevitable status update.
You should want your lawyer to be abreast of your situation. However, the purpose is not to ask for the lawyer’s input in your medical treatment. Hopefully, my video blog is emphatic on that point. It is not appropriate, ethically or tactically, for the lawyer to involve himself or herself in the treatment course of the client. The ethics for that are obvious. But why is it tactically inadvisable? Almost from the first days of my becoming a lawyer, I learned of the defendant’s line of inquiry involving how the client found a particular doctor. You can well imagine the dangers of having a lawyer who is seen as the choreographer of the medical treatment. Now, to be clear, asking a client to be evaluated by an eminent physician, a medical doctor who is Board Certified in the specialty involved, is appropriate. But that is a different proposition from an attorney who advises a client to go to one place or another for medical treatment. I will not do that as a matter of ethics or as a matter of tactics. There is no place for the lawyer to insinuate himself in the medical treatment process. Similarly, it is not appropriate for the lawyer to advise the client to stay out of work. I have a very simple credo in representing victims of accidents: I will deal with the cards I am dealt. Hopefully, it is never to be said that I or my clients dealt from the bottom of the deck.
The attorneys serve the entire state of Massachusetts in addition to affiliating with lawyers in other states to handle cases outside of Massachusetts.
Boston Attorneys Win Highest Injury Verdict in Massachusetts in 2011 & 2012.