I had a workers Comp trial that I went to this past Tuesday. I was told by my attorney prior to showing up that I would be sent home since I have not had QME yet. The QME was scheduled for today (Thursday 4/11/19).
My attorney instead was bullying me to just settle at $30,000 this past Tuesday. I don’t want to settle at $30,000. I want to make sure I get my needed medical treatment to fix what has happened from my job.
The attorney and defense attorney was upset that I wouldn’t sign and told me that they give me till Thursday to agree and sign. Which is today. The day the QME was set. I decided to email my attorney and tell them that I am NOT settling and I will allow the QME doctor to come to their conclusion. My attorney sent an email to me at 8:00pm last night telling me that my QME has been rescheduled.
The orthopedic surgeon that saw me through workers Comp stated that I would need surgery to fix my back issues. The treating physician that I have through my attorney has supposedly not written that in their notes but I can not confirm nor deny that yet since I have not seen any reports from him. I want to fire my attorney. Can I?
Yes you can seek another attorney to represent you. But if your attorney has explained the evidence and the risk/benefits analysis of not accepting and going to PQME then you should probably heed that advice. Not sure what the pressure is about as it’s your decision whether to settle or kerp medical open. Call and get a detailed consultation today with a workers compensation attorney
You are free to change attorneys at any time; but, before you do, you should contact your attorney and ask for a clear explanation of the reasoning for the recommendation to settle. You should also insist on getting copies of the medical reports to review. Then, if you are still not satisfied, you can look for a new attorney
The information given is generic and does not constitute legal advice, which would only be given after a consultation and complete review of the specific facts of your case.
The real question is not whether you can fire your attorney, but whether it is smart, rational and prudent to do so. You do not appear to know why he is pushing you to settle—you need that information first.
This answer is intended as general information and not as specific legal advice.
The two above answers provide sound sage advice.
An applicant always has the right to discharge her or his attorney at any time in the lifecycle of a claim. However, realize that your current attorney will put a lien on your case for the reasonable value of the legal services performed. From what you disclose, there is an offer of $30,000. The attorney can credibly argue that the value of the lien is $4,500 (15% of $30k), and the new attorney will have to obtain additional benefits to your claim in the form of several months of representation, more TTD benefits and medical treatment, etc. to reduce the value of the current attorney's lien. As such, many practitioners are reluctant to substitute in as the second, and especially the third, attorney of record.
Without reviewing the file and procedural history of your case, attorneys on this blog are engaging in speculation on what is happening, and what might be going wrong, on the handling of your claim. Is the claim even accepted? Denied? If the defendant is asserting an affirmative defense such as the post-termination defense or the Statute of Limitations defense, a QME will not resolve the legal issue.
Ask for a conference with your current attorney, and if you continue to have suspicions, request consults with other workers' compensation lawyers in the Inland Empire. There are many good ones in the San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.
Sorry you are going through this. I agree with you that needed medical treatment and your medical recovery is the most important thing! I would not ever push a client to C&R if they wanted a recommended surgery. Know however that if your fire your attorney you may not find one more competent willing to step-in this late in the game. I recommend you talk to your attorney make your priorities clear and see if you can work-it-out. All the best.
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Any responses contain general information about legal matters; it does not create an attorney client relationship. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as...
You have the right to change your attorney, or dismiss your attorney. If you are going to hire a replacement attorney you would need to find someone who is willing to take over your case at this late stage. Maybe scheduling an office appointment with your attorney to calmly discuss your case would be a good idea. Good Luck.
Yes, you are free to dismiss your attorney, it just requires a form be completed, filed and served. However, the likelihood of finding another attorney this late in game is dubious. Moreover, assuming self representation based on advice from this forum is hardly sufficient alternative.
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