Just a hypothetical. Lets say you have an auto injury claim from whiplash. The lawyer hopes you need surgery etc. but finds out you dont have a cash cow of a case as there are no major injuries. He does nothing on the case, ignores your phone calls, his staff is variably lying to you by claiming they are working on the case you check up and they have not sent paperwork,requests,demands or made the phone calls they claimed. You repeatedly ask for copies of the demand letter and correspondence they have with the Insurance Co. They wont send it .You ask to see the case file they wont show it. Finally after months pass and you pester them enough they send a demand. continued below ...
I believe that you would have to show malpractice. I am not a malpractice lawyer, but based on my general knowledge of basic malpractice requirements, I don't believe you are describing a malpractice case. Failure to communicate with you on a reasonable basis can be an ethical violation, and could subject the attorney to a Bar grievance, which is process you can learn about by going to www.flabar.org and following the appropriate links. Be aware however, that if there was a settlement offer he was doing something on your case, although perhaps not what you would have liked to see him do. So a grievance might or might not result in anything. It is unlikely to result in any monetary award to you.
I am very sorry for your obvious frustration. I agree with my other colleagues that your complaints sound more like communication and potential ethical problems than malpractice. Malpractice requires proof of a breach of duty and damages, among other things. Poor communication is no excuse, but it may have nothing to do with the value of your case. Your case value should relate to the injury and cost of care to treat it, along with the liability and culpability of the particular defendant your are claiming against. The erosion of confidence you are describing between your lawyer and you is not helping you keep track with or understand what may be difficulties of your case under the best of circumstances. Unfortunately for us here on AVVO, we have no way to know because we are no t handling your case. I wish you the best and I would request a meeting quick with your lawyer.
Simple answer. Contact your lawyer and make an appointment to review your file and if they don't provide you with an appointment, advise you will file a bar grievance if they continue to ignore. I tell my clients when we meet for the first time, don't get mad, make an appointment! I will be happy to see you if I don't return your phone call within 24 hours. Sometimes we are in trial or out of the office for days at a time, so it's always best to make an appointment. If they continue to play this game, fire them and file a complaint with the bar.
In order to win a case for malpractice or any other type of negligence you need to show damages. Being insulted or upset is not the same as legal damages.
Unless the statute of limitations (if the crash occurred in Florida four years; or five years if it is an underinsured motorist claim; there are other requirements if the case will be against a governmental entity) has expired due to your lawyer's inaction you're unlikely to be able to show any legally recognizable damages. Therefore, there is no malpractice case to pursue.
Your best remedy is just to discharge the lawyer and retain another lawyer.
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