Is my attorney improperly handling my slip and fall case?

Asked almost 5 years ago - Lancaster, PA

I fell and broke my foot./ankle multiple times, required therapy for months and surgery a year later. Hired an attorney who filed the suit in court, but for 13 months he has failed to get the defendant served. The paralegal takes all my calls, and promises to get info and call me back - but does not. The attorney has never contacted me in the past 10 months, I make all the contact. I was told a month ago that papers were filed with the court for a Notice of Publication against the defendant. I called the court house and there is nothing showing on my case that this was done or submitted. What determines if my attorney is actually handling my case properly? Is this lack of feedback and length of time just to serve papers normal? I am frustrated and unhappy with how things are going.

Additional information

By the way - defendant has a fixed residence and a homeowner at the same residence for 13 years. Just refuses to answer the door when the constable tries to serve. I have made an appointment to discuss further, and if the outcome of this meeting is poor, will most likely seek new representation to transfer the case to. thanks.

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Timothy James Kennedy


    Contributor Level 11

    Answered . Few of us are inspired to answer a question such as this one, since it is difficult to propose a remedy and we hesitate to speak ill of another attorney. Certainly it can happen that where a defendant has dodged service, substantial delays may result. However, your scenario strongly suggests that your attorney is not making it a priority to pursue his or her procedural remedies to perfect service. At very least, this is exceptionally poor client communication. Insist on an in-office meeting to review exactly what has been done on your file to date and what is or will be done to effect service on the absent defendant. In general, a petition to allow service by publication would follow several other steps (specifically, efforts at skip-tracing) which may have caused your attorney to believe that more aggressive steps would not be necessary -- hence the delay. But if your attorney has been or is now putting this problem on the back burner, a scheduled office meeting (or your insistence that you intend to appear on a given date without an appointment) should motivate him or her to have SOMETHING to show you in the way of progress. Regrettably, you may meet with less than good news. A premises liability defendant who cannot be found, or who cannot be shown to have a fixed address such that some service other than by publication can be achieved, is unlikely to be properly insured. Good luck to you.

  2. Michael Douglas Goforth

    Contributor Level 13

    Answered . Better get a complete copy of your file from your attorney and arrange a consultation with a new attorney who can answer your questions about whether the law suit has been handled correctly.

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