You have the right to get a second opinion for your personal injury case. Many personal injury lawyers don't charge any fee to give a second opinion. A second opinion may give you the peace of mind that your case is being properly handled. However, there are some warning signs that your lawyer isn't handling your case as well as it should. If you see any ot the following signs in your case, you would be wise to get a second opinion.
1. Your lawyer doesn't return your calls.
Lack of communication is the most common complaint that clients make about their lawyers. Lawyers have an ethical obligation to regularly communicate with their clients. If your lawyer is not responding to your phone calls, letter, or emails, this is a warning flag. If you cannot get a response from your lawyer, it may be a sign that your lawyer is too busy to work on your case or isn't really interested in it.
2. Your lawyer is under investigation by the bar officials or law enforcement
Occasionally there are news articles about a lawyer being under investigation by law enforcement. Some professional disciplinary matters also hit the news. A lawyer accused of a crime has the same presumption of innocence as any other citizen. However, sometimes where there is smoke, there is fire. If your lawyer is involved in a criminal or professional discipline matter, they may not have time to focus on your case. It may be time to talk to another lawyer about your case. That lawyer may also be able to give you some insight on what is going on with your lawyer.
3. Your lawyer can't afford to hire the necessary experts
Some personal injury cases require expert witnesses and other consultants. These experts and consultants can be expensive, sometimes very expensive. Certain cases, like medical malpractice and product liability, almost always require expert witnesses. Most personal injury lawyers advance the costs of these experts. If your lawyer tells you that he can't afford to hire the experts needed for your case, it is time to talk to another lawyer. It is important to have a lawyer that can afford to properly handle your case.
4. Your lawyer won't tell you what your case is worth
Every experienced personal injury lawyer should be able to evaluate a case they are handling . . perhaps not at the beginning, but eventually. It does take some time to gather and evaluate the evidence before a lawyer can make a reasonable assessment of the case. At some point though the lawyer should be able to give the client a range of value for the case. If your lawyer can't tell you what your case is worth, ask what the lawyer what else he needs to know in order to make that assessment. Ask the lawyer when he will be able to evaluate the case If the opposing side makes a settlement offer, or your lawyer wants to propose a settlement, you need to know how much your case is worth in order to make an intelligent decision about your case. If your lawyer can't give you an evaluation, consider talking to another lawyer who can.
5. Your lawyer tells you he won't litigate your case
The reality is that most personal injury cases get settled without a trial. Many get settled without a lawsuit ever being filed. However, sometimes it takes a lawsuit in order to get what is fair. If your lawyer tells you that he will try to settle your case, but is not willing to file a lawsuit, you might not get the best offer. You should get a second opinion to see if other lawyers would be willing to litigate your case.
6. Your lawyer tells you to get a second opinion if you don't like their advice
Some lawyers get defensive when a client questions them about their advice. A client who questions their lawyer doesn't mean that they disagree or dispute the lawyer's advice. The client may just be looking for clarification. However, some lawyers respond to such questions by telling the client to get a second opinion if they don't like what the lawyer is telling them. If you get this type of defensive reaction from your lawyer, you should take them up on their suggestion. Go talk to another lawyer.
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