How not to annoy your personal injury lawyer

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Most injured workers don’t (try to) annoy their lawyers. However there are always a few injured sods who will intentionally or non-intentionally do things that make their lawyer roll their eyes by, for example, calling or emailing their lawyer way too often, bringing legal and/or medical research and by using their lawyer as a kind of therapist. So if your lawyer is avoiding your phone calls or emails and appears uncaring towards you, it could be because you are doing one or more of the following annoying things.

How not to annoy your personal injury lawyer

Annoying injured workers call or email way too often

Obviously injured workers have the right to be kept informed of the status and/or progress of their workcover claim/case. However, there will be times during your the life of your workcover claim/case when there is really nothing new to report. Calling or emailing your lawyer every day or even every week is way too much unless – of course – your case is at a critical point, like just before going to court.

Obviously if you have new, and potentially important information for your lawyer, such as for example a major change in your condition, requirement of (further) surgery, referral to new doctor(s)/specialist(s), a new IME (report), or you’ve just been sacked, by all means call or email your lawyer to let him know. Sometimes just updating your lawyer’s assistant (i.e. a paralegal) is sufficient; however calls or emails to your lawyer to give important information are never annoying.

On the other hand, your lawyer will let you know when something important happens. For example, he will definitely let you know whether the time has come to lodge a serious injury certificate, or when the time has come to undergo a permanent impairment assessment (for your lumpsum). He will also update you on any settlement offers, or prepare you for court if necessary. However, if you haven’t even reached “injury stable” (aka MMI) yet, your lawyer will probably not have anything new or important to report for quite some time, sometimes months or longer.

If you are calling or emailing asking for a status update more than once a month you risk being seen as annoying. You will begin to sound like a child in the back seat asking, “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?”

Annoying injured workers bring their Lawyers legal and/or even medical research

You can be almost certain to make your lawyer roll his eyes when you walk into his office with a stack of “legal research” you have done on the internet. You may think you are just being helpful, but the fact is, your experienced personal injury lawyer knows how to do his own legal research in relation to your particular case. No matter how smart you may be, or how good a legal researcher you may think you are, you hired a lawyer for a reason — s/he’s better at it and knows way more than you.

The same applies to bringing stacks of medical research (from the internet) to your lawyer. Most lawyers are very familiar with most types of injuries and illnesses, from back injuries, knee injuries, torn rotator cuffs, post-concussion syndrome, fibromyalgia, RSD/CRPS, depression. Besides, if your lawyer is not familiar with your type of (complicated or rare) medical problem, he will ask you (or more likely your doctor) about it.

Annoying injured workers tell their lawyer how much money or compensation a friend or a friend of a friend or a relative may have received for a ‘similar’ work injury

No two workcover claims or workcover cases (i.e. common law claims) are alike. This fact is unfortunately lost on annoying injured workers, who will continue to ask why their case isn’t worth as much as “so and so’s” (including some case mentioned in the media) who had the same type of work-related accident and injuries.

Really? The same exact accident and the same exact injuries? And the same exact way the injury affected that person’s life? Did these “so and so’s” also happen to be of the same age, have the same job and make the same amount of money? Was there the same negligence (if any) by the employer? Did they have the same amount of medical bills? The same number of surgeries and complications? Helooo – obviously not!

Also when you try to convince your lawyer that you too should be entitled the same amount of compensation as “so and so”, you are basically essentially questioning your personal injury lawyer’s knowledge, expertise and capabilities. You’re essentially insulting your lawyer. Besides think again, why would your lawyer not want to achieve the best possible outcome for you, given that his income depends on it? The more he recovers in compensation for you, the more he gets paid, right?

If you think your lawyer doesn’t value your case high enough, ask him the reason(s) why. Or ask for a second opinion. Just don’t try to annoy him by referencing some other case(s) that is likely quite different from yours in some or many ways.

Annoying injured workers believe their Lawyer is also their therapist or counselor

Injured workers are often – and rightfully- highly emotional, anxious and … depressed. Lawyers who deal with countless injured workers understand this and most will be compassionate and empathic. However having a caring and compassionate lawyer does not mean he has become your therapist, and airing all of your personal problems at length is simply inappropriate. It sucks up your lawyer’s valuable time, and you are way better off seeing a psychologist for this type of service. While some degree of ‘hand-holding’ will be provided, especially at critical times, calling or emailing your lawyer for no other reason than to cry and whinge about how miserable and badly treated you are is just not on. If you need a shoulder to cry on, chances are you do need professional counseling.

Now go forth and don’t annoy your lawyer!

 



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