What are the client's rights and responsibilities in a Personal Injury case (NY)?
All clients should understand their rights.
Clients are entitled to be respected, and have their wishes respected (to the extent that their wishes comply with the law).
Clients should be treated with courtesy and respect by all attorneys and all personnel of the office.
Clients are entitled to the independent professional opinion of the attorney and undivided loyalty uncompromised by conflicts of interest.
Clients are entitled to have the legal fees, expenses, and all other pertinent information fully explained (in English - not in legalese).
The client should expect to hear from their attorney on a regular basis.
The client should expect to get a return phone call or a response to any written (or electronic) correspondence within a reasonable time. (I suggest that 24-48 hours is a reasonable time in most circumstances).
The client has the right to be treated ethically regardless of race, creed, origin, color, age, religion, sex, orientation, or disability.
Client's Rights Continued...
The client should expect all of the information provided to the law office to be kept private and confidential. The attorney-client privilege is sacred.
Just like clients have rights, clients all have certain responsibilities to ensure that the attorney-client relationship is optimal.
The client is expected to treat the attorney and staff with courtesy and respect.
The client must be completely honest and candid with the attorney and staff so as to foster a good relationship and allow the best analysis of the legal matter.
The client must honor the fee arrangement.
The client should understand that attorneys have other clients as well, and should respect the attorney's need to give equal attention to all legal matters.
The client should maintain contact with the attorney, including divulging any address/phone number/e-mail address changes as soon as possible.
The client may withdraw from the attorney-client relationship (subject to any financial commitments made in reliance on that relationship).
Client's Responsibilities Conitnued...
The attorney may need to refuse the representation if a conflict of interest develops or becomes apparent, even if this is after initially agreeing to the representation. A lawyer can refuse to represent a client if the lawyer (at any point) determines that the cause of action is without merit).
The client must understand that an attorney can only agree to legitimate legal objectives and that the attorney is guided by the ethical standards provided by law.
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