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Do I have a right to a copy of the personal injury claim/paperwork info filed on my behalf, via fax, by my former Atty?

Highland, CA |

I received a letter from an Insurance company regarding a claim that was filed on my behalf by a former personal injury atty. I was discharged by the atty in the middle of "settlement negotiations." I provided my file to my new atty, who then filed a duplicate claim (based on the fact my 1st atty "did nothing on your (my) case.) My case was settled in July 2012 but, the letter from insurance co (received Nov 2012) raised questions (ie...why my 1st atty would file a claim w/the insurance co, fail to tell me about it, cont. to say they didn't know who the insurance co was, then, discharge me) so I requested my file. Filed complaint w/state bar & investigation is ongoing. 1st atty denies filing complaint, but, insurance co letter says otherwise. Need copy of actual claim ppwrk filed by atty.

Attorney Answers 10


  1. Best answer

    Your question is confusing. You can't be 'discharged' by an attorney because you hired him. Did you fire him or did he return the file? If you fired him, he may have had a retained interest in the case that he is now pursuing. If the insurance company was on notice of such an interest but paid money out to your new lawyer, the insurance company could be liable as well as you and possible the new attorney (if he had notice) for not honoring a retained interest.

    Your best bet it to take the letter to your second attorney and ask him what it means.


  2. You should be entitled to see what was filed on your behalf. You can try contacting the Court and getting a copy that way. There is usually a minimal copying fee. Good luck.

    The above is general information only and is not legal advice. The information provided does not form an attorney-client relationship, and should not be relied upon to take or refrain from taking any action. I am not your attorney until we sign a retainer agreement.


  3. I would trust what your attorney is telling you before what an insurance company tells you.

    This communication offers general information based on the very limited information provided, and does not constitute the giving of legal advice, nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship.


  4. Your question is not clear. Do you want your prior attorney’s file or the file maintained by the insurance company? If the file is maintained by an insurance company, and it is not your insurance company, you have no right to a copy it via fax, or otherwise. You do have a right to a copy of the file maintained by your attorney, whether former or not, but you do not have a right to receive it via fax. Good luck.

    I am licensed in California only and my answers on Avvo assume California law. Answers provided by me are for general information only. They are not legal advice. Answers must not be relied upon. Legal advice must be based on the interplay between specific exact facts and the law. This forum does not allow for the discussion of that interplay. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if that interplay were explored during an attorney-client relationship. I provide legal advice during the course of an attorney-client relationship only. The exchange of information through this forum does not establish such a relationship. That relationship is established only by personal and direct consultation with me followed by the execution of a written attorney-client agreement signed by each of us. The communications on this website are not privileged or confidential and I assume no duty to anyone by my participation on Avvo or because I have answered or commented on a question. All legal proceedings involve deadlines and time limiting statutes. So that legal rights are not lost for failure to timely take appropriate action and because I do not provide legal advice in answer to any question, if you are an interested party you should promptly and personally consult with an attorney for legal advice. Also, see Avvo's terms and conditions of use, specifically item 9, incorporated by this reference


  5. Both attorneys Simon & Bright have given you good information. You have apparently filed a complaint with the State Bar & they are investigating, so you will be informed of their findings. I am happy to learn that you case has been settled, which is the most important thing. You should direct your questions to your second attorney - perhaps a lawsuit was never filed by the first attorney, instead a telephone call or letter to the insurance carrier notifying them of a pending claim; or perhaps the insurance carrier is wrong.

    This is not intended to be legal advise or as legal representation. I am a California personal injury attorney . Be aware that every state has its own statute of limitations; and statutes & case laws that govern the handling of these matters.


  6. In general, the attorney file is the property of the client and is required to be produced upon request. Call the bar association of your state and request your options and rights in this regard.


  7. The bar should be able to get to the bottom of this quickly.


  8. If your first attorney "filed" a "claim" then someone has a copy. Seek it from the (undisclosed) recipient. Since you claim that you obtained a copy of your file from your first attorney, it seems that such claim was not filed, was filed and given to you, or was filed an not given to you. If you need the copy, it would seem that your current attorney does not need it or (s)he would be making the effort to obtain it on your behalf.


  9. Yes, you have every right to your file since it is your property. I would consult with your current attorney or another attorney who handles legal malpractice cases to obtain your files from your first attorney.


  10. You definitely have the right to your file. It is your property and you should have access to it.

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