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?

Asked over 1 year ago - 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. Ryan Daniel Bright

    Contributor Level 11

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    Lawyers agree

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    Answered . 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... more
  2. Michael Raymond Daymude

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    21

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    Answered . 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... more
  3. Michael R Crosner

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . 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 .... more
  4. James Mitchell Hoffmann

    Contributor Level 12

    14

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    Answered . 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.

  5. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    13

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

  6. Matthew C Simon

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

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    Answered . 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-... more
  7. Robert Andrew Michael Burns

    Contributor Level 17

    9

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    Answered . 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.

  8. Paul Hilmon Cannon

    Contributor Level 12

    8

    Lawyers agree

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    Best Answer
    chosen by asker

    Answered . 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.

  9. Lee Tucker

    Contributor Level 9

    6

    Lawyers agree

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    Answered . 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. Greg Prosmushkin

    Pro

    Contributor Level 7

    6

    Lawyers agree

    1

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

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