MY ATTY DIED IN THE MIDDLE OF MY CAR ACCIDENT CASE. HIS OFFICE IS NOW GROSSLY MISMANAGING MY CASE. CAN I HIRE A DIFFERENT ATTY?

Asked almost 2 years ago - Santa Clarita, CA

I was "T-Boned" in auto accident; other driver admitted fault. I hired an atty known for strong negotiation skills. At first, I didn't feel injuries; within days, however, I couldn't turn my neck - atty referred me to chiropractor who treated me for 3 mos. med bills were $4200. WITHOUT KNOWING my atty died a month ago, his office continued on my case; submitting my files to other insur co. I was just told today other insur co found discrepancies in my injury claims & only want to pay out $3700; including med costs! Replacement atty admits I'm being lowballed but wants to close the case on this & get it off his desk. Car damages were $6k & I was paid, no ques asked, when my atty was alive. I WASNT TOLD HE DIED!! Can I hire someone else and/or can I get my insur co involved in this?

Attorney answers (8)

  1. S. David Rosenthal Esquire

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

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    Answered . Yes you can hire a new attorney. There are many variables that can affect the value of a case, but keep in mind that many attorneys do not want to litigate cases like you have described because generally juries do not give big verdicts on these facts and therefore insurance companies low ball and push these cases to trial. The reality is that in a case like this, you the insurance companies force an attorney to spend a lot of time and money litigating a case without much prospective upside. It is not fair, but there is definitely some economic reality that goes into the attorney's advice.

    Also, as noted, your former attorney may assert a lien for attorney's fees and costs. For these reasons, it may be difficult, but not impossible, to find a new attorney. You should make sure that you have an attorney that is willing and able to pursue this matter through trial if necessary. That way, you will feel confident that any decision you are making is for your own financial good rather than your attorney's.

    Good luck.

  2. Steven Mark Sweat

    Contributor Level 19

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    Answered . Yes. You are entitled to the attorney of your choice. The prior attorney may have a lien on settlement, though, for any time they spent working on your case and possibly for full percentage fee of any outstanding settlement offers at the time of discharge under California law.

    Nothing in this communication should be construed as creating an attorney client relationship. This is for... more
  3. Frank Marvin Nunes

    Contributor Level 14

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    Answered . You can change attorneys at your choosing. But the new attorney may have to spend some time getting up to speed on your case. If you have not already tried, send your deceased attorney's firm a written letter notifying them of your concerns with how they are handling your case. If things don't shape up, then start looking for a new attorney.

    If you are a potential client, the information you disclose to us by email will be kept in strict confidence and... more
  4. Michael Lynn Walker

    Pro

    Contributor Level 16

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    Answered . Yes, you have the right to choose your legal representation.

    Mike Walker
    www.walkerlawgroup.net

  5. Scott Richard Kaufman

    Contributor Level 20

    11

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    Answered . You bet you can and the sooner the better it sounds like...

  6. Kevin Coluccio

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . Who represents you is up to you. You should talk with the attorney office to decide how best to proceed.

  7. Edmond Elias Salem

    Contributor Level 3

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    Answered . Yes, you hire new counsel. The substituted attorney will most likely assert a lien for the time and costs he/she has advanced in your case. You have sustsined what is called soft injury injuries. These are very difficult cases to take to trial because of the cost and the juries attitudes about these types of injuries.

  8. Scott J. Corwin

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

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    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I agree with my fellow experienced Southern California car accident attorneys with regards to your situation. You absolutely have the right to hire legal representation. I would strongly suggest that search on Avvo for an experienced and knowledgeable auto accident attorney to represent you. I hope this helps and if you have further questions, you can always call my office: (310) 207-4030 or contact me through my avvo profile.

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