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Can you sue your lawyer ... ?

Orlando, FL |

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 ...

They do not fight for your case and will accept whatever the first low ball offer the Insurance Co. replies with because they dont care to spend any time on your case. You refuse the offer they say is the "final offer from Ins. Co." They will not respond to any of your attempts to contact them. Keep in mind they still will not reveal your case file or prove their correspondence ever took place.The insurance co. will not tell you anything because "you have a lawyer" Meanwhile your life is crumbling.This "Lawfirm" has injured you by these actions. I contend there would be a legit cause of action for the way they handled this matter. What say you Masters of Legal Land? Cheers for the consideration

Attorney Answers 8

  1. 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 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.

    If you found this answer helpful, let me know by clicking the "Mark as Helpful" button at the bottom of this answer. It’s easy and appreciated.

  2. The grievances you list tend to fall more in the category of ethical violations than legal malpractice.

  3. It sounds like you need to change attorneys. Nothing against this one but it sounds like he's not for you.


  4. 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.

    The answer provided by counsel in the AVVO forum is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information is opinion only and given free of charge without full understanding of all facts and the law applicable to any question-poster's individual circumstances. The best advice is to take the question from this volunteer forum to a more formal communication with a practitioner in the specialty area indicated by the nature of the claim.

  5. I hope the laywer didn't blow the statute, hypothetically, or this would be a legal malpractice case a lawyer would want to pursue. Failing to communicate with a client could land the lawyer in front of the state's disciplinary board.

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  6. 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.

    Chadwick J. Lawrence, Esq. Orlando and Tampa SSA Lawyer Av rated by Martindale-Hubble

  7. 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.

    This is a summary based on incomplete facts. You should not rely on it as legal advise.

  8. I agree with the responding attorneys. You need to contact your attorney and address your needs and expectations with him directly. I hope you found my answer helpful.

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