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Personal Injury lawyer says he does not have time, find some one else

Tacoma, WA |

I hired a personal injury lawyer because he was very nice and always available whenever I called him (before signing contigency agreement) ...but just a day after signing agreement everything changed...he would not respond to my call or return my calls....he would answer my emails saying oh I was busy. I had to discuss with him about my therapies which was an important question but attorney said please find some one else because he does not have time. I feel deceived why was he so nice and now cold, mean.

What can I do in this case..? I already signed up a agreement and he ordered my medical records ....I have to pay that cost? can I complaint to bar association? is this a legal malpractice case? Statue of limitation is only 3 months away and he tells me to find someone else...

Attorney Answers 6

Posted

You have every right to hire another attorney. I am in Seattle and would be happy to speak with you, but always encourage people in your situation to work things out with their attorney if possible. If you go to an another attorney your current attorney would more than likely have a lien on your case for the costs spent.

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Asker

Posted

Why should he has a lien? he is the one causing trouble and suggesting me to find some one else.....also if I find another attorney does he has the right to put lien for the hours he and her paralegal might have spent?

Posted

There is nothing stopping you from finding and retaining another attorney.

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Posted

Simply send him a termination letter. Find a lawyer with a low contingency fee, less than 30% with no costs deducted, so you are left with the lion's share of the settlement, not the lawyer. Good luck.

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

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Posted

I agree with Evan that he might claim a lien, however if he told you to find another lawyer, one could also argue that he has has waived any lien by telling you to find someone else only three months from the statute of limitations. I would suggest that if he is intent on you finding another attorney you should ask him to withdraw so you can hire another attorney without having to worry about a lien. You will still owe for the out of pocket expenses associated with getting your medical records and such, but at least then you are free to hire other counsel without worrying about a lien for his time. As for the bar complaint, I don't think it is worth your hassle. Consider his withdrawal a gift if he does not want to talk to you. How would it be if you had to go to trial with him and face a jury, and the jury picks up on the fact he does not treat you well and does not care for you. With the statute of limitations approaching you need counsel who is willing to go to arbitration or trial. Often times, attorneys who do not try cases and who see that a case is likely to be tried will withdraw if they don't have the experience or staying power to take a case to trial. If that is what is happening, get him to withdraw and find other counsel. If you terminate him, he will possibly be entitled to a lien. So ask him to withdraw, and if he refuses then tell him to put his big boy pants on and get ready for trial if he calls itself a trial lawyer. Frankly, if the insurance company knows you have hired a lawyer that tries cases regularly, they are far more likely to make a fair settlement offer than with someone who doesn't try cases. Moral of the story, if you hire a paper tiger, it will fold when the insurance carrier puts weight on it. Get someone who enjoys trying cases. Having tried well over 100 jury trials, give is a call and if we can't help you being in Seattle, we can give you the name of a good trial laser in Tacoma. Scott Blair

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Asker

Posted

Well, why do I have to pay his out of pocket expenses like medical records when he is the one who is avoiding me and telling me we dont have time ..find some one else who has more time?

D. Scott Blair

D. Scott Blair

Posted

Because his fee agreement most likely says you have to. That doesn't mean that if you are paying for the records you don't get to take them and give them to new counsel so you don't have to order them all over and pay twice for the same thing. Any lawyer who takes your case will need to get the same records and will charge you just as he did, so why not pay him for the records and give them to your new attorney to speed things up. Occasionally a new lawyer taking per your case may advance the costs to get your records as well. Finally, the state bar does not permit lawyers to advance costs without getting paid back. This why he has to charge you for them. Small price to pay to someone who knows what they are doing and are not afraid to go to court for you. Scott

Asker

Posted

Well my point was ....if he is the one causing trouble by avoiding me and telling me to find another lawyer ....he has not right to be paid for any thing including costs...I did not do anything wrong ...btw I do understand your point that new lawyer can use the same records..

Posted

Based on his statement to you, the indications here are that you are dealing with an ethical and professional attorney who has the skill and experience to recognize early on that this attorney-client relationship is a bad fit. Be grateful for his insight and candor and now you respond in kind: candidly, professionally, and constructively. In other words, either ask your lawyer his position on the lien issue, or find other counsel and let that counsel solve this issue. Very likely there is not going to be a problem. The current attorney just wants you to go somewhere else.

I am sure that this will not be persuasive to you, but it bears saying that there is nothing in what you have written that justifies your sense of having been "deceived." Attorneys are service providers and they must budget their time and allocate their efforts across a number of competing demands at any given time. Every successful attorney has had the experience of the needy client who is on the phone and email constantly, requiring vastly more hand-holding and repetitive assurances and progress reports that was anticipated by the lawyer or should be be necessary. Lawyers know that there is neither time nor opportunity to change these people. It is a mark of skill to identify those clients early on and work with them to find more appropriate representation with lawyers whose caseload and other responsibilities allow a higher quantity of personal interaction. In very few cases is the quality of the legal work and the outcome of the legal matter correlated with the client's need for interaction with the attorney, at least in the early stages of the case.

My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as legal advice. I give legal advice only in the course of an attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by individual consultation and execution of a written agreement for legal services.

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Posted

I understand your point that I could be needy person ...but reason why I said I feel deceived...is because he was so nice and respectful before we signed the papers and than I had an important question next day and he was so cold and avoiding ..he even gave me time n day to talk to him but he was not available when I called.It was rude and unprofessional. It looks like you are a good lawyer and u think everyone is good...but its not true. FYI am also a proessional and I know the value of time. If u think he has good sense this is a bad fit than why did he take case?

Posted

Usually if a PI lawyer "fires" a client, the lawyer won't claim a lien for time. As for the lien for costs, for example what the lawyer had to pay to get your medical records, that is a cost any lawyer would bill to a client. The big concern I have here is that the case is close to the statute of limitations. The closer it gets the less attractive it will be to good lawyers. Don't waste time finding a new lawyer.

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