written by Attorney Linda P. Cohen If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of incurring an injury while in a vehicle or otherwise, it is important to find a personal injury attorney who has your best interest at heart. Not only should they excel in litigating personal injury claims, you want to know they will personally handle your case and watch out for your dollars (and pennies) being spent. Many attorneys, including some who have prolific ads on TV, refer their cases out to other attorneys. After you sign the paperwork, they get a fee and pass you on to someone else. You never see them again! It is crucial you have the confidence of the attorney representing you. A conscientious attorney will stay in contact with you, keep you updated on what is to come, and take the time to discuss your current and future health as well as your concerns. I have literally seen boutique trial attorneys hand clients off to their paralegals until it is time to go to trial. It is too inconvenient for some attorneys to communicate directly with their clients after they get them to sign the initial paperwork. Many of these same attorneys do not bother to find out what is important to their clients and so make important decisions without their clients’ input which often understandably frustrates their clients. Expert witnesses and associated trial fees can be extremely expensive. Since those fees are deducted directly from a client’s recovery, many attorneys are not conscientious about keeping costs down. I recall one attorney sending a limousine from Portland to transport the medical expert from out-of-state to Maine. This, on top of the expensive expert fee, cost the client a small fortune. I treat all clients as I would like to be treated. Certain costs are necessary; others can be eliminated or significantly reduced. It is also surprising some attorneys take their contingent fee not only based on one third of the recovery, but also on the medical savings negotiated when trying to reach a settlement. For example, when I calculate my fee on a case, I keep absolutely nothing on the savings I negotiate on my clients’ medical bills even when the savings are tens of thousands of dollars. I have had success in reducing medical fees by a third; and at times I have reduced fees by well more than 50% or eliminated them all together. Those funds go directly back to my client in full. Again, I fight hard to reduce those invoices putting more money in my clients’ pockets as if the savings were my own. A few key factors can make a tremendous difference in the way you are treated in the judicial system. Your level of confidence and needs must be placed first, and you should know your lawyer is fighting for every possible dollar and every savings on your behalf. This will decrease your level of stress and leave you much more satisfied with the process and outcome.