Personal injury victims involved in compensation processes have a worse recovery than those not involved in compensation processes. One predictor for worse recovery is lawyer engagement. As some people argue that this negative relation between lawyer engagement and recovery may be explained by lawyers' attitude and communications to clients, it seems important to investigate lawyer-client interaction. Although procedural justice and therapeutic jurisprudence had previously discussed aspects relevant for lawyer-client interaction, the client's perspective has been rather ignored and only few empirical studies have been conducted. In this qualitative study, 21 traffic accident victims were interviewed about their experiences with their lawyer. Five desirable characteristics for lawyers were identified: communication, empathy, decisiveness, independence, and expertise. Communication and empathy corresponded with aspects already discussed in literature, whereas decisiveness, independence and expertise had been addressed only marginally. Further qualitative and quantitative research is necessary to establish preferable lawyer characteristics and to investigate what would improve the well-being of personal injury victims during the claims settlement process. © 2012 The Author(s).