Aside from having a right of recovery, the non-injured spouse has a role in selecting counsel and monitoring the progress of the lawsuit.
The most important step is the hiring of an attorney. The non-injured spouse may have to undertake this on behalf of her spouse if the injured spouse is seriously injured, such as on an extended hospitalization.
Here are some factors that the non-injured spouse should consider in hiring an attorney;
- The family’s prior experience with an accident/malpractice attorney. Often the extended family might have experience with an accident attorney on another matter. If the family member was satisfied, and if the attorney has the requisite experience, then the “family” attorney will be the first choice.
- Getting a recommendation from the family attorney. Often the “family attorney” will not handle accident matters, and his practice will concentrate on the usual and everyday events of life, such as estates, real estate, and family law. Nonetheless, your family attorney will know other attorneys who specialize in accident case.
- Recommendations from family, friends, and fellow workers. Often family, friends, and fellow workers (union members and leaders) will recommend an attorney. This is not uncommon in construction trades where the attorney has handled many cases involving the same type of worker, such as ironworkers.
- Internet Research. The injured family might research lawyers on the internet, and they would look to similar types of cases, verdict results, and the lawyer’s or firm’s experience and standing with rating organizations, such as Super Lawyers (www.superlawyers.com) and Martindale-Hubbell..
- Advertising. This includes television, the yellow pages, and also the internet. Although many excellent attorneys advertise, you should check on the background of the attorney.
It is important that the non-injured spouse meet with the attorney and be involved in the hiring process. Both the spouses should feel a comfort level in not only the attorney but his office operation. If you do not feel confident, then do not hire the attorney, and go to another one.
If you have been injured in an accident, please feel free to call me at 800-851-1434 for a free consultation, or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark E. Seitelman, 6/1/09, www.seitelman.com.