I was rear ended by a drunk driver 8/2012. My car was totaled. All medical treatment was completed 12/2011 for me and my 2 kids. The 2 other passengers in my car completed their treatment 3/2012. 3/2012 was the last time I have spoken with my attorney's office. I've called, emailed and left a couple of messages but I haven't gotten a response. Is this normal? Should I switch to another attorney or is it to late for that? Do you know how long this could possibly take?
Other comments have already made appropriate suggestions about writing your current attorney and trying to resolve the communication issue. Unfortunately, I hear about these issues all too often. Your attorney should be responsive to your questions and concerns, but you need to keep in mind that certain aspects of an injury claim, especially those involving a DUI or other similar issue, may extend the time it takes to resolve the case.
To answer your specific questions, it is not normal or okay that you cannot get your attorney to call you back and you have not heard from him in 6 months. You can consider switching attorneys but should re-read your fee agreement to be sure you understand the potential repercussions of terminating the representation. In my fee agreements, termination before an offer is made will not encumber your ability to hire someone else and proceed forward with the claim. Instead, I only maintain a lien for fees I would have earned upon an offer of settlement. However, I have seen many fee agreements that maintain a lien for an hourly rate plus expenses incurred in the event you terminate the representation before the conclusion of the case.
I would suggest you decide whether to stay or leave the current attorney sooner rather than later. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be for a new attorney to take on the file. If you decide to go a different direction, feel free to call me AFTER the termination and I'd be happy to answer your questions. (770) 427-5498
The canons of legal ethics adopted by all states require that attorneys timely respond to their clients inquiries. At a minimum, a staff member could return your call and explain where they are in the process. It can take weeks or months to gather medical records and coded billing to put a demand package together. Still, if no one will return your call, send your attorney a certified letter requesting that they contact you within 21 days to discuss your case where he will have no option but to report his conduct to the State Bar.
It is in your best effort to try to work things out with your attorney. Your attorney has been working on your case for more than a year. Your attorney will has a lien on the file and is entitled to be compensated, at a minimum, quantum meruit for work performed. That means that there will be less money available for any successive attorney which certainly does not make your case any more attractive to a successive attorney. Try to work this out.
You appear to have very good case and it sounds like your current attorney may not appreciate that fact.
You have a right to have your phone calls returned promptly. You have a right to know what your attorney is doing to be your advocate. You have the right to be treated with decency and respect.
I suggest you interview several new attorneys and find someone who is going to devote the time and care to your representation that you deserve.
I specialize in personal injury and practice in the Atlanta area. If I take your case, you will have access to my personal email address and cell phone. I will return phone calls (if I am not able to answer immediately) promptly.
I hope you find an attorney that can get this matter resolved for you.
Attorney Pete Pearson
To answer your question....this is not normal. Unfortunately, it happens too often. You should try one more time to "work it out" with your attorney. If you are not satisfied, you have the right to fire an attorney and hire another one. Injuries from car wrecks in Georgia are generally subject to a 2 year statute of limitations. Never wait until the end of two year period to hire an attorney or to file suit if you can help it. Assuming your wreck took place in August, 2011, you should resolve your dispute with your lawyer within 30 days or move on. It does not take long to hire a new lawyer but there is obviously a "get up to speed" time for new counsel to investigate and learn about your case. That "ramp up" time period does not take a horribly long time for a lawyer who routinely does car wreck lawsuits (not just claims but suits). Good luck.
It is unacceptable for a lawyer not to answer calls and emails within a day or twio (we do far faster than that). A lawyer can be disbarred or disciplined for that.
Send a letter to the lawyer. Send it certified. Be polite., Indicate that you want a meeting within a few days to discuss your case and his lack of response. While many cases can go for months with no news, he should answer your calls and emails.
Unless you are satisfied with his response, consider new legal counsel. And if he doesn't respond call the state bar and ask them to send you a bar complaint form.
I agree with the other responses that encourage you to write your current attorney and request a meeting. Since you have attempted to contact your attorney for several months without a response, however, I would also suggest that you go to their office and request to set a meeting with them if they are not able to meet with you at that time.
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