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I need help with a non-responsive injury attorney who could be jeopardizing my auto injuring lawsuit. What should I do?

Jersey City, NJ |

Hi, I was in a car accident 12/08/2011. It's already 01/11/2013. I hired an attorney 01/2012, but I feel like I'm getting the run-around from him. My physical therapy ended 6 months ago but he hasn't sent for my medical records yet. This case should have already moved forward and settled by now. He never returns my phone calls. I rarely speak to him. The handful of times that I do speak to him, he acts like he didn't know my physical therapy ended. I remind him how long it's been, then he tells me that he sent for my records but hasn't received them yet. However, when I call the physical therapy clinic, I'm told that the lawyer has never requested them and that they can only send them to him if and when he requests them. When I do tell my lawyer that, he tells me that he did and that they're the physical therapy place is yanking out chain. In the meanwhile, the last time I spoke to him was before Thanksgiving 2012. I email him constantly and never returns my emails. I call him and leave messages and he never returns my calls. I don't know what to do. I'm beginning to wonder if I'm being scammed. He's supposed to get 17% of my settlement, but what settlement if he's not doing his job? This car accident has left me physically disabled because I suffered spinal injuries, and it has also left me in a boatload of medical debt. I don't know what to do. Can you help me with advise on how I should proceed with this matter? I hope you can help me. I have no job, no disability, no money and barely making ends meet. Please help. Thank you, Mrs. Liz Pla (PlaFamily@comcast.net)

Attorney Answers 5

Posted

The Rules of Professional Conduct, the ethics rules that governs all lawyers practicing in New Jersey, imposes a duty on all lawyers to communicate with the clients. RPC 1.4(b) states "A lawyer shall keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information." See http://www.law.cornell.edu/ethics/nj/code/NJ_CODE.HTM#Rule_1.4(a). If your lawyer is not communicating with you, you may want to strongly consider looking for another lawyer. In addition, you always have the option of filing a complaint with the District Ethics Secretary. See http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/oae/atty_disc/ethics_secretaries.htm. However, be aware the reporting a lawyer to Ethics will sour the attorney-client relationship. If you appreciate the time spent preparing this answer, kindly consider marking it BEST ANSWER or HELPFUL. Also, please be sure to read my disclaimer below. Good luck to you.

Dean P. Murray
The Murray Law Firm
560 Sylvan Avenue
Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632T: (201)875-2600
F: (201)549-8700

Mr. Murray's response is NOT legal advice and does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. You should NOT rely on this response. Mr. Murray's response was generated without conducting a full inquiry as would occur during a face to face attorney-client consultation. It is likely that the response above may be made less accurate, or become entirely inaccurate, as you, i.e. the questioner, disclose additional facts that should only be discussed during a private consultation with an attorney. I strongly recommend that you consult an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your state, whereupon all relevant facts will be discussed. All responses posted by Mr. Murray on Avvo.com are intended as general information for the education of the public, and not for any specific individual.

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Asker

Posted

Thank you. If I were to fire him and choose a new lawyer, would my case be starting from scratch again, or does the new attorney pick up where the former attorney left off? Thank you so much.

Dean P Murray

Dean P Murray

Posted

Where he left off. Call me if you need a recommendation. Happy to help.

Asker

Posted

Thank you so much for your help. Will let you know what I decide to do.

Posted

If you feel like your attorney is not a good fit for you, you should review your retainer contract and move forward within the perimeters of the agreement.

Check out my website below and give me a call for a free consultation if you are a California resident 877-427-2752 or you can email me at Michael@Kingofpersonalinjurylaw.com www. KingofPersonalInjuryLaw.com 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

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Asker

Posted

Thank you. If I were to fire him and choose a new lawyer, would my case be starting from scratch again, or does the new attorney pick up where the former attorney left off? Thank you so much.

Michael Shemtoub

Michael Shemtoub

Posted

usually the new attorney starts from where the old one left off. Just depends on what has been done.

Asker

Posted

Thank you very much for your help. I know that I have a big decision to make.

Posted

I am not admitted in NJ (only in CA), so I can only provide a sort of general response. In general, a client c=has the right to "fire" his/her lawyer at any time. Depending on the language of the retainer, the former attorney may have lien rights against a recovery, but a new lawyer should be able to work that out with the former lawyer. In CA, the Courts generally deem the case file to belong to the client, not the attorney (though the attorney retains some rights to protect his "work-product") so you should be able to make an appointment with the attorneys' office to review the file, and from there you can determine just how much work he/she has actually done on the file.

Good luck!

Disclaimer- The information you obtain at our web-site or through postings on such sites as this is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for specific advice regarding your individual situation. Any response given here is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change.

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Asker

Posted

Thank you. If I were to fire him and choose a new lawyer, would my case be starting from scratch again, or does the new attorney pick up where the former attorney left off? Thank you so much.

Posted

There are 80,000 lawyers in NJ. Several thousand specialize in personal injury cases. Fire your lawyer today and fobs someone who will be more responsive. Good luck.

Please note that these answers are provided as a community service and are not meant to create an attorney-client relationship.

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Asker

Posted

Thank you. If I were to fire him and choose a new lawyer, would my case be starting from scratch again, or does the new attorney pick up where the former attorney left off? Thank you so much.

Michael A Ferrara Jr

Michael A Ferrara Jr

Posted

Picks up where left off. You have right to get file ASAP.

Asker

Posted

Thank you so much for your help. I have a big decision to make.

Posted

You can fire your attorney by simply sending a termination letter. Find a good lawyer on Avvo, one with a low contingency fee, less than 30%, so you are left with the lion's share of the settlement, not your lawyer. Good luck.

Only 29% Contingency Fee! Phone: 215-510-6755 www.InjuryLawyerPhiladelphia.com

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Michael A Ferrara Jr

Michael A Ferrara Jr

Posted

I continue to disagree with the idea that you should find a lawyer with low fees. Much better to find one who has proven tract record.

Asker

Posted

By firing him with a termination letter, being that we had a contract, would he then legally be able to come after me for payment? He was hired on a 25% contingency basis.

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