Attoney has had my case regarding wrongful death of a loved one as a result of a fall and hip fracture at a hospital. I was initially informed that medical records would be obtained and sent to the medical expert for review and an opinion. Next I was told that they were waiting to hear back from the hospital to determine a presuit settlement. Now a year later, I'm told that the hospital refuses to discuss settlement because my atty doesn't have an expert opinion. My atty informed me that a preliminary medical assessment was done a year ago but not the actual opinion. What are the consequences of revoking my POA? This is heartbreaking to me and my family as it's been a year and we see no progresss. Can I ask for a copy of the docket sheet in the file to determine what has been done
I think it would be prudent to call your current lawyer and schedule a face-to-face meeting to go over all your questions and the process going forward. Medical malpractice claims are very complex, costly and time consuming. They cannot be rushed. Maryland imposes may legal hurdles to proceeding on a claim for medical malpractice, including detailed requirements for the type and nature of the expert needed to support a claim going forward. This is an area that must be approached both intelligently and carefully so as not to damage or prejudice your claim. Wrongful death cases even without the medical malpractice aspect are also very complex, and trigger all sorts of other issues (such as proof of lost lifetime earnings or services to surviving family members, loss of consortium claims, the competing claims of the estate of the decedent for wrongful death versus the survival action claims of related family members, etc.). No such case will be resolved in one year, not can you expect to be close to a resolution this soon. It is your absolute right to discharge your lawyer and retain other counsel; however, be aware that MD law grants to a discharged lawyer a lien on the case to be reimbursed for all his/her costs and reasonable fees for time expended out of any future recovery. This could cause you, the estate or other claimants in the survival claim action to pay more in attorney's fees than if no change in counsel occurred. Often, newly retained counsel will negotiate with your old counsel on their fees, and come up with a satisfactory arrangement to share a single legal fee or reduce the impact of those fees on the recovery by the estate and other claimants. I would advise meeting with your current counsel first, and if after fully discussing the case you still do not feel comfortable, then seek a second opinion and make your decision from there.
Maryland actually provides the public an online docket through Maryland Judiciary Case Search. This will not show you the entire picture of your case, but will provide you with a breakdown of the filings with the Court. You can also request that your attorney provide you a copy of your fle. it is not uncommon for a Plaintiff in a extremely personal case like this to get frsustrated with the process. Unfortunately, litigation takes far longer than we want (or it needs to), but this is just how the process works. You should ask your attorney for a copy of the scheduling order in the case and any amendments to order. Additionally, you should contact your attorney for a face to face or phone conversation to discuss the status of your case.
Sorry for your loss. Medical negligence/wrongful death cases are extremely difficult and expensive to prosecute. You have a limited budget, even if large; they have a trough without end. Schedule a face to face with your attorney. It may be that some clarification/communication is in order. Another attorney is an option; but generally not a first one. You may terminate the relationship at any time. Good luck.
You may discharge your attorney at any time when your fee agreement is contingent on a recovery. Most such agreements do not require you to pay the old attorney a fee on discharge, but without seeing what you signed I can not say this to be true in your case. The new attorney will normally contact your prior counsel to arrange payment of any costs incurred or any fees owed. Our firm can review this for you without charge. Please call our MD office to arrange this
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