Working with Your Attorney: Duty of CooperationApril 10, 2017
When you hire a lawyer to represent you in a personal injury case, the attorney has certain duties to you, the client. In addition to providing you with confidentiality and competent representation, your lawyer also has the duty to avoid conflicts of interest, charge reasonable fees and keep you informed about the status of your legal matter.1
The obligations between a lawyer and client, however, are not a one-way street. Clients also have a duty to their attorney: a duty to cooperate.
What Is a Client’s Duty to Cooperate?
A client’s duty to cooperate with his/her attorney essentially means that a client is obligated to reasonably assist the lawyer with aspects of the case. This duty to cooperate can manifest in a number of different ways and can specifically involve the duties to:
- Disclose all relevant facts regarding the case – What is considered to be ‘relevant’ to the case will vary according to the nature of the accident and claim. For example, relevant facts for an auto accident case could include information regarding the date, location, involved parties and suspected causes of a car crash.
- Not lie to the attorney – Lies include misinformation, as well as omissions of relevant information to the case.
- Provide all the information and documentation required by the attorney – Such information and documentation can include evidence you have gathered (like accident scene photos), correspondence you have received from an insurance company and/or your medical bills for treating the accident-related injury.
- Notify the attorney any change of address – This aspect of cooperation is meant to ensure that an attorney can easily contact the client regarding the case whenever necessary.
- Not do anything that may hurt the case – Destroying evidence for a case, providing damaging statements to the opposing side and/or discussing the case on social media are a few ways that a client may hurt his/her case.
The primary reason that a client has this duty to cooperate with his/her lawyer is to foster effective legal representation. When a client overlooks this duty, (s)he can be sabotaging his lawyer and compromising the case.
For Experienced Representation after an Accident, Contact a Houston Personal Injury Lawyer at the Amaro Law Firm
If you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident caused by another’s negligence, contact a Houston personal injury lawyer at the Amaro Law Firm to discover more about your options for financial recovery and justice.
Schedule a free consultation with us today by calling (877) 892-2797. Or email our firm. Our attorneys are ready to review your potential case, answer your questions and help you position your claim for success.
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1: More on attorneys’ duties and rules of professional conduct, from the American Bar Association (ABA)