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If a demand letter for personal injury is ignored, what can I do?

Mount Prospect, IL |

My 2 year old daughter was injured at a daycare and has a scar underneath her chin. My daughter was climbing in a tree at a daycare and fell and hit her chin on a tree branch. They were not watching her properly and it took several days for the daycare to get their story straight. I have photos of the injury and even an accident report document that the daycare filled out describing the accident (her falling out of a tree) I have hired an attorney but the corporations attorney for the daycare not responded to phone calls or a demand letter. To continue the case my attorney is now asking for a retainer. I am debating on what to do. She says that we have a great case of negligence but not much medical damages.

Attorney Answers 5

Posted

First of all, as the other answer pointed out, I cannot give you any advice on a pending case if you are represented by a lawyer.

However, since I presume that since you live in Cook County, and this accident presumably occurred in that county, the general procedure is to try to resolve things with the insurance company first, prior to filing a lawsuit. In this case, it is quite possible that the daycare either has not forwarded your attorney's letters to their insurance company, or perhaps they have no insurance.

In short, if there is no compliance from them, you have no choice but to file a lawsuit! The retainer your attorney is discussing is probably for the costs of filing the papers in court.

Most lawyers handling personal injury work on a contingency fee basis and only receive money when they settle your case or gain a verdict, and often advance all the costs. Sometimes in "good liability/low damages" cases like yours, it is not financially feasible to front litigation costs.

I wish you luck and hope that your lawyer can explain the process a bit better so you understand what is happening.

Stephen L. Hoffman
Law Office of Stephen L. Hoffman LLC
Chicago, IL
773-944-9737
Email: stephen@hofflawyer.com
Website: www.hofflawyer.com
Blog: www.hofflawyer.com/blog/

This answer posted on Avvo is for informational and educational purposes only. There is no attorney-client relationship created or formed and you should not rely on this as legal advice. The suggestion is made that if you wish to protect your rights, you consult with an attorney immediately.

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Posted

If you have retained an attorney already in this matter, you should be discussing your options with that attorney. Generally, if demands are ignored, the only thing left to do is file suit. Since your attorney is more familiar with the case, I would assume they have experience in this area of the law and are familiar with the facts and can advise you on how to proceed.

If this answer gave you the information that you needed, let me know by clicking on the thumbs up below. [DISCLAIMER- This information is provided as general information only and should not be construed as specific legal advice as this website is not intended to provide anyone with specific legal advice. This attorney is only actively licensed in Illinois. In addition, the answer given above serves for educational purposes only and provides general information and a basic understanding of the applicable law. Anyone using the site expressly consents that there is no attorney client privilege between any person and any attorney responding. No attorney-client relationship is created with the furnishing of this information. This answer should not be used as a substitute for fully discussing the factual nuances of your case with a licensed professional attorney in the state where you are located.]

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1 comment

Asker

Posted

I'm done with my current attorney which is why I'm questioning on this site. Thanks for your information.

Posted

I wouldn't pay a personal injury lawyer an up-front fee. You can switch lawyers at any time. Just find a lawyer with a low contingency fee, less than 30%, so you are left with the lion's share of the settlement, not your lawyer.

Lassen Law Firm Personal Injury Lawyers Philadelphia. www.InjuryLawyerPhiladelphia.com Phone 215-510-6755.

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Stephen Laurence Hoffman

Stephen Laurence Hoffman

Posted

In all due respect, I'd disagree with Mr. Lassen. While the practice in Pennsylvania may be more familiar to him, and while it is mostly the normal course of things for injury lawyers to work solely on a contingency basis, there are many times when an up front retainer (usually for costs) can make a great deal of sense in an injury case. Talk to your lawyer and make sure you understand exactly what he or she is asking you to pay for and why. Obviously, don't do anything without a full written explanation and disclosure.

Posted

Filing suit is usually the only option of demand letters are ignored, but sometimes doing some research into a company's organization, board of directors, or president can provide more addresses and contacts to send the demand letter to. Also researching who owns the land on which the business operates can be effective. The point - getting the demand letter into as many appropriate hands as possible to finally have an insurance company notified and activated, can work.

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Posted

Is the retainer strictly against costs? Injury cases are often handled on a contingency, but if the expected recovery is small, your attorney may be reluctant to front costs and you may find that with others as well. Meet with your attorney to better understand her perspective. You have hired her. Talk to her about your questions. If need be, you might consider whether another firm may be better positioned to handle the case. How extensive is the scar?

The scope of this space does not afford an opportunity to adequately advise you. The response provided is intended to be informative, but not final. You are advised to arrange a consultation at which all facts and documents can be explored and terms for representation agreed. An attorney-client relationship must be formally established.

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Stephen Laurence Hoffman

Stephen Laurence Hoffman

Posted

Mr. Repay raises an interesting point. There are times when a "split" fee agreement works, allowing the attorney to collect some fees in advance against a reduced contingent fee in the event of recovery.

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