The simple answer is yes, it is ok for you to contact your personal injury lawyer for updates on your case. Once an agreement is reached between a personal injury lawyer and a client, the professional responsibilities, guided by ethics and standards, also start. These standards embody several provisions set forth by the codes of conduct, rules of law and professional ethics. Any person practicing law has sworn to uphold these standards, which are established by state bar associations.
Although these rules may vary from one state to another, there are basic rules which all lawyers must adhere to. Here are some of the common professional and ethical rules agreed upon between the client and his personal injury lawyer:
- Your personal injury lawyer agrees to represent you zealously and ethically within the confines allowed by law.
- Your personal injury lawyer agrees to communicate with you in an effective and timely manner regarding your personal injury case.
- Your personal injury lawyer knowledgeably analyzes all possible legal remedies and issues governing your case.
- Your personal injury lawyer owes you a duty of loyalty and is prohibited from handling opposing cases.
- Your personal injury lawyer, as long as he or she continues to be your counsel, is required to respond to your queries and directions in managing your case unless otherwise stated in the law.
- Lawyers are bound to answer reasonable status inquiries of clients with regards to significant developments in their case.
- Lawyers are required to provide and explain to their clients all necessary legal documents.
These are but a few of the many provisions set forth by ethical rules. All these duties show that the lawyer has a key role of providing his clients with an update as to the developments of their personal injury case. If a personal injury lawyer or case manager conscientiously fail to follow these rules to the detriment of his client’s case, the client may file disciplinary actions against the personal injury lawyer or case manager in the bar association which he or she belongs. A lawyer may be disbarred for serious negligence and violations of these provisions. Take note however that proving malpractice or negligence of a lawyer involves a painstaking process so, to prevent such dilemma from occurring, you need to ensure you spend time choosing a personal injury lawyer whose abilities you have full faith and confidence in.
Providing sound and judicious legal services are the duty of every lawyer. As much as possible, case managers must make the whole legal process transparent for the client. Thus, personal injury lawyers owe their clients, not only as a legal obligation but also an ethical obligation, to uphold their right to information.
On the other hand, clients must also understand that the justice system works in a rather monotonous way. Unlike in TV shows or Hollywood films where a verdict is available in just the flick of the eye, in reality courts of justice handles several cases at one time and arriving at a decision may take months or even years depending on the nature of the case. Although following up developments about the case is encouraged, it should also be done in a reasonable manner. Daily or weekly inquiries about your case do not actually help hasten the legal process but rather it can only impinge your personal injury lawyer’s capacity to act.
The responsibility of lawyers to inform their clients is pretty much common sense. Even without a putting these agreement in writing, clients always have the right to reasonably inquire with their personal injury lawyer about the status of their case.