Personal Injury Lawyer Conflict of Interest / Governmental Agency

I was involved in a car accident a few months back. The tow truck driver that the police had to move my mother's vehicle told us to contact a lawyer that he uses all the time. He stated that this lawyer always wins cases for them in minor accidents. My mother decided that we take his advice. Now, months later, the attorney sent us a letter stating that he can't take our case because after investigation, he found that there's a conflict of interest. Why would he sign a contract with us both? Wouldn't he have known he couldn't take my mother & I case from the start? The letter also stated that our injury involved claims against a government agency & there being strict requirements to make a claim? I think this was a set up (people that hit us, police, tow driver & lawyer) work together

Alvin, TX -

Attorney Answers (4)

Jeffrey Bruce Gold

Jeffrey Bruce Gold

Car / Auto Accident Lawyer - Bellmore, NY
Answered

I agree with Christian that the tow truck driver is a runner, and he gets paid by the lawyer. Its highly unethical for a lawyer to use runners. Sometimes an attorney does not realize there is a conflict until later in a case, when he discovers the names of parties and witnesses. You may have a problem though. You don't say where the accident happened, and what municipality is involved. Some municipalities have very short periods 90 days (some are shorter) to file notice of claim alerting them formally to existence of the accident and claim. This attorney left you very little time (hopefully some time) to file this notice of claim. Immediately document in a certified letter to the attorney alerted you to the conflict on January 18, 2013 (or whatever date it was) and keep a copy; pick up the file from the attorney; and immediately find an attorney to file the notice of claim. Even if you aren't certain that you want to hire that attorney work a deal so that they file the notice of claim. It needs to be done right away. There are lots of Texas attorneys on this forum, and I'm sure you'll hear from one of them soon.

If you'd like to discuss, please feel free to call. Jeff Gold Gold, Benes, LLP 1854 Bellmore Ave Bellmore,... more
Christian K. Lassen II

Christian K. Lassen II

Car / Auto Accident Lawyer - Philadelphia, PA
Answered

The tow truck driver is called a "Runner", and these relationships where lawyers pay tow truck drivers for cases are illegal and violate the ethics rules. Report the lawyer to the disciplinary board and the lawyer and tow truck driver to the police.

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Carmine John Giardino

Carmine John Giardino

General Practice Lawyer - San Antonio, TX
Answered

From your statement, you don't currently have a lawyer. If that's true, hire a lawyer immediately before the statute of limitations runs on your case. Your new lawyer can investigate whether any barratry laws were broken.

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Vuk Vujasinovic

Vuk Vujasinovic

Car / Auto Accident Lawyer - Houston, TX
Answered

You should report your lawyer to the State Bar. This is called ambulance chasing, or barratry. It's against the law. Beyond that, the last place you should get a lawyer referral from is a tow truck driver. Hire new counsel immediately. Good luck to you, and sorry you were victimized by the unethical behavior of a lawyer who apparently cannot get business honestly.

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