When someone hires us as their personal injury lawyer
after an accident, we want them to know what they should expect of us. And, what exactly we expect of them. A strong attorney-client relationship is essential to successfully navigate a case against an insurance company. Every case will be stressful (some more than others) and many can take years to resolve (although we hope this is not the case).
What you can expect from us as your personal injury attorney
Guidance: Each case and each client are different with different potential outcomes, problems, objectives, and other variables. You should expect us to guide you throughout this process towards the best outcome for you considering you first and foremost.
: We strive to act ethically at all times. Our number one rule is "We don't play games!" This rule helps us stay pretty ethical. Beyond that, we adhere to specific rules requiring certain ethical standards, such as
- Maintaining separate financial accounts for client money and attorney money;
- Acting within the limit of the law at all times;
- Fulfilling the duty of loyalty owed to the client and not engaging in matters that result in a conflict of interest;
- Making only truthful and honest representations to the client and tribunal.
Communication: We strive to maintain open and honest communication with our clients. You should expect to receive regular communications from us either by telephone, email, text or letter. We encourage you to bring your questions, comments, complaints, concerns, and all other issues to us - so (1) we can try to fix them and (2) so we can stay on the same page. We will try to communicate with you at least monthly (often times more frequently). We should also highlight our number one communication rule - "Loyd does not take unscheduled telephone calls or meetings and generally answers emails at least one per day." We try to respond to your communication as soon as possible (often within a few minutes to hours or same day) but sometimes life (sickness, injury, death, fires, etc.) and law (trials, hearings, depositions, etc.) happen and it may take us longer.
We will also keep you reasonably informed about your case. At a minimum, this includes when:
- The case is filed;
- Settlement demands or offers are made;
- Key motions are filed and resolved, and
- The case is dismissed.
Decision Making: This goes hand-in-hand with good communication. You hired us for a reason and we expect you will let us do our job. Ultimately, we will make major decisions (such as but not limited to: settle or not, go to trial, etc.) together but general legal decisions (such as but not limited to: when to request records, whether to grant an extension of time or not, what motions to file, or what questions to ask witnesses at a deposition or trial, etc.) are decisions we make on our own. However, you alone will make final decisions regarding settlement of the case.
Knowledge: We have a thorough knowledge of deadlines, procedure and general legal principals in our specific areas of law. However, we do not know all aspects of the law on command. Each case is different and the law is constantly evolving as new case decisions are made and new laws are written or interpreted. But, along with our rule of "We don't play games," if we don't know - we will tell you and then figure it out.
Attorney Fees and Costs: In this injury case, we are representing you on a contingency basis as set forth in our written agreement. Our contract covers our fees and costs. At the end of the case, we will provide you will a "Settlement Statement" or "Distribution Statement" which sets forth how any money recovered on your behalf gets distributed.
: We promise you fair, compassionate representation without games. But, be warned - we cannot work miracles and we will not cross ethical lines or play games during your representation even if it means we lose your case or you as a client. Simply, our law license and reputation is too valuable, took too long to obtain, and cost too much to obtain to risk it on any case! There are too many factors outside of the attorney's control, including the facts and the law, to give any guarantee. Even when the facts and law are on your side, you never know what a judge or jury will do. Instead, you should expect fair representation, which is accomplished by us fulfilling the above expectations.
What We Expect from Our Clients
Communication: Communication is a two-way street. We want to contact you in your preferred way (personally, Loyd likes email) but whatever works for you, let us know. We expect you to keep us updated with phone, email and address changes. Be available; try to respond to your attorney within 24 hours - sooner if time is of the essence. We generally try to send you an update request monthly and expect you to complete it - its the easiest way to keep us up to date on your case. Be an active participant in your case - ask questions! One caution though - if you call, email, text or write us and don't hear back immediately, you do not have to call, email, text or write back right away. We give all our clients the same attention, respect, and care, and sometimes it may take a while to respond. Give us up to 2 business days. If you have not heard back in 2 days, by all means, reach out to us again. But, if you call, email, text or write to us multiple times in one day, what will likely happen is we will quickly determine our communication styles are just not compatible and we may have to re-evaluate our relationship. Also, if you take a while to respond to our inquiries but then expect us to respond immediately, we'll probably have the same talk.
Be Receptive and Open-minded: Sometimes, we may give you news you don't want to hear, i.e. there are factual or legal weaknesses of your claim or the value is not what you believed it to be. Remain open-minded and work with your attorney to address case weaknesses and develop a strategy to resolve your claim for a reasonable amount.
Participate in Your Case: When we request documents, emails or phone messages, diligently work to identify and provide these items in a timely manner. Put in the extra time at the beginning of your case to search through boxes in your attic and set aside time to prepare for your deposition. Your active participation in your case may very well be the difference between a substantial settlement or losing a jury trial.
Honesty: This should go without saying, especially since "We Don't Play Games." We expect you to be honest. Do not lie. Do not destroy evidence. Do not hide facts. We can deal with "bad facts" and try to minimize their impact if we know about them in advance. If what you have hidden, lied about or tried to destroy suddenly surfaces during litigation, there is not much we can do to help you and your case will likely be over.
Obtain and Follow Through On Treatment
: Your injury case is going to be valued most by your injuries. Your injuries are evaluated mostly by the type, frequency, and costs of your medical treatment
. Other factors will come into play but if you do not receive appropriate medical treatment as directed by your medical providers your case will not be as valuable. One other note here - you are responsible for your medical treatment, costs and decisions. We try to stay out of the medical recommendation business unless absolutely necessary and will never push or require you to have a treatment type (such as injections or surgery) if you do not want it. We will advise you of such treatment's impact on your case but you will ultimately make such decisions. If you have health insurance, you should use it to obtain your treatment. If you need help figuring out treatment options, paying for treatment, or evaluating proposed treatment, ask us to help!
Have Realistic Expectations: We cannot guarantee your case's outcome. Injury cases are filled with uncertainty; no matter how hard we work, how hurt you are, or how clear liability is -there are many things that can happen outside of our control. Be receptive and open-minded if, and when, your case takes unexpected turns, and above all, have realistic expectations. DO NOT BELIEVE ALL OF THE AWARD AMOUNTS YOU SEE ON T.V., READ ON BILLBOARDS, OR HEAR ON THE RADIO. Each case is different.
Above all - remember, our attorney-client relationship is a partnership. We want to work together to get the best possible result for you and one you can feel confident in years later.
If you have questions about how an attorney can help you after your accident, or even if you need one at all, I've written a book Quick Guide to Louisiana Accident and Injury Claims. This is a helpful and informative guide that will lead you through some of the common mistakes that can wreck your personal injury claim. Get answers to your questions about recorded statements, paying medical bills, getting your vehicle repaired, negotiating a settlement, and much more! Don't make a costly mistake that could cause you to accept a settlement that is too small to cover your medical bills and lost wages! You need to read this before you talk to an attorney or insurance adjuster. I'd love to send you a copy. Just click here to receive your free copy of my book Quick Guide to Louisiana Accident and Injury Claims.