If you have met with lawyers in the past to discuss pursuing a claim for bodily injuries, I’ll bet you’ve never been asked that question. Why do I consider it an important question for a lawyer to ask of a client?
Because, it’s YOUR case, not the lawyer’s case. If a lawyer does not take the time to understand what is most important to you, he or she stands a good chance of failing to go beyond the obvious goal of fair compensation, and make sure that all of your most important interests and concerns are protected. Every client generally wants the same thing: to have good representation; to have someone believe in them and fight hard for their interests; and to obtain the best possible recovery. But it is of equal importance to go further.
Your attorney will be your voice, and speak for you to everyone: doctors, insurance companies, mediators, arbitrators and juries. He cannot be effective if he does not take the time to learn what is important to you. Some of my clients want to make a point that a negligent doctor should at least learn from his or her mistakes, so that he or she does not harm another patient. This goes beyond the obvious goal of obtaining compensation for injuries and damages. This requires the attorney to include this worthwhile goal in his case plan and strategy. And, it requires the attorney to take the steps necessary to reach this goal. In the case of a sloppy retail store owner that is unwilling to repair his equipment, and allows a freezer unit to leak so that water on the floor poses a daily hazard to customers, a client may want to make sure that the owner of the store fixes things so that customers do not suffer needless and preventable injuries. In areas with a high percentage of elderly people, this can prevent catastrophic injuries to societies most vulnerable people, and the least able to cope with serious injuries from falls.
If you have an attorney representing you, make sure he or she fully understands all of your goals in pursuing your case. In virtualy every case, its about more than money.