There are more than 2,000 attorneys in Alaska that handle all types of matters, from criminal cases to transactional work to civil cases, such as personal injury claims. It is important to find Anchorage Attorneys that make you feel comfortable that they will consistently communicate with you and yield you the best result.
On the personal injury side, there are more types of claims than you might think. Sure, there are car accidents and slip-and-falls, but there are also motorcycle and aircraft accidents, defamation claims, products liability cases, police brutality matters, and more.
So how do you know when an attorney is capable of handling your matter?
First, there is the first impression. If an Anchorage Attorney is wearing tattered clothes and appears disinterested, he is not the representative for you. On the other hand, when a lawyer is dressed well, makes eye contact, provides information and listens intently, this is usually a good sign.
Second, be sure to find out a lawyer’s qualifications. How many years’ experience does she have? How many cases similar to yours has she handled? What is her success rate? What is her reputation among other attorneys? Does she have the ability to front the expenses for your case (understanding that reimbursement will come out of any award or settlement you receive)? These are all important factors.
Third, does your attorney stay up on current law? Alaska requires certain amounts of continuing legal education per year. You should ask if your attorney has met these qualifications. In what areas of law did he learn?
Fourth, does this attorney present you with a written retainer agreement? This is the contract between you and the lawyer that defines each of your respective rights and obligations. What percentage will the lawyer receive? What expenses are deducted from your award at the end?
Fifth, once you retain the attorney, does she (or at least her paralegal) regularly communicate with you and respond to your questions and concerns. Remember, any time you are not satisfied, you may fire them and retain a new attorney. Are you given notice of important dates, such as for your deposition or the signing of documents.
Sixth, has your attorney discussed settlement options with you? If an offer of settlement is made by the other party, your attorney has an ethical obligation to discuss it with you and explain the positives and negatives to accepting and rejecting same. Are you learning the risks of proceeding to trial? Does the attorney seem to be acting in his own self-interest or yours?
Seventh, how does your attorney seem to present to other attorneys and other parties to the case? Is he strong, where others will be reluctant to challenge him at trial? Hopefully this is the case, so that a better and quicker settlement is likely to occur.
Above are just a sampling of considerations you should think about during your relationship with an injury attorney. Whenever you have a question, you should ask. Whenever you have a concern, you should address it. Remember, you are the attorney’s boss, and not the other way around. As such, the decisions are yours.