I slipped and fell on ice/snow. Broken wrist Pretty severe. Lawsuit going well according to lawyer but now he tells me there is a set back.. The property management company is now suing the snow removal company and I'll have to wait until that is completed to continue.. What are they suing them for if they don't even know what they are gonna do for me? Or do they know and want to get it from the plow people first? Also, my lawyer won't discuss any kind of "fair" dollar amounts for my lawsuit. Is that typical? Shouldn't I be able to have a say or some sort of idea? All he tells me is that I have to wait and accept whatever they say, if anything at all.
It sounds like the property management company started a 3rd party action against the snow removal company. This is common and the carrier for the property management company is looking for another insurance carrier to shift liability to or share in any settlement. As for a fair value, assuming your medical condition is not understood - including whether you need surgery or not - your lawyer should be able to give you some idea on the value of the case. It is odd that he won't discuss it.
I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been handling criminal defense and personal injury cases for over 18 years. The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails, is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.
They should be brought into the same suit as possibly fully or partially responsible for your injuries. I can understand there being a delay, as there is a new party to the lawsuit, and they will need/want to get up to speed on any discovery that has occurred thus far, and send out/request their own.
Verify whether this is a delay in yours to get them in, or actually a separate action that has not been joined into yours(yet?)
As far as the value is concerned, many jurisdictions are very difficult to win slip & fall cases, especially those involving ice and snow on icy and snowy days. Often times the right course of action is to take what you can get, if the offer will put money in your pocket after paying medical bills, as you run a high risk of going to trial and getting $0.
Yes, all of that is "normal" in a hard to prove liability, let alone win lawsuit like yours. I would closely work with my attorney..
Kindly be advised that the answer above is only general in nature cannot be construed as legal advice, given that not enough facts are known. It is your responsibility to retain a lawyer to analyze the facts specific to your particular situation in order to give you specific advice. Specific answers will require cognizance of all pertinent facts about your case. Any answers offered on Avvo are of a general nature only, and are not meant to create an attorney-client relationship.
A plethora of factors go into putting a number on a case, and your lawyer is in the best position to advise you.
Your lawyer is doing the right thing. There is no "fair" dollar amount for your case. Too many factors are in play, with the most important issue being how strong a negligence case you have against the defendants. Be guided by the advice of your attorney. He knows your case the best and has an interest in getting you the largest settlement or award possible.
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I don't see this as a "setback". Defendants do this in all sorts of situations, as well they should. Yes, that does mean that your case will take a bit longer so that the thrird-party defendant can catch up, but in the long run, that won't mean much. In fact, as far as settlement prospects go, it is usually an advantage to have more parties to contribute to a settlemen, and if it does not settle, they may be fighting among themselves, which is good for you. The issue of sharing case evaluation with a client is a complicated one. Often, I will tell my clients: "We'll talk about money when there is money on the table". Some clients have unrealistic expectations. Others could fall prey to a lowball offer if they are desparate for the money. Your lawyer is protecting you from either cicumstance. If your lawyer is saying that you will have to accept whatever they offer, he/she may have concerns about liability.
As Mr. Rothstein explained, it appears that the property management company (who your lawyer sued) started a third-party action against the snow removal company. A third-party action in these types of cases is very common since, in most instances, a person injured from a slip on ice/snow has no relationship with a snow removal company, the snow plow company owes no duty to the person and the person therefore cannot bring a direct action against them for negligence. A property management company, however, who usually has a contract with the snow place company can bring such an action over against them in an effort to make sure that all of the potentially responsible parties are involved to contribute to any future settlement if liability is established. It is also true that slip and fall cases on ice are difficult to prove, as the property owner must have both notice of the unsafe condition and a reasonable time in which to clear it up. That having been said, it also sounds like you believe there are some communication issues with your lawyer which, if that is the case, I highly recommend that you ask to have a meeting with him as soon as possible so that you can directly ask him the questions you posted here. It is very important for you to be comfortable with the lawyer representing you, as you need to trust his strategy and recommendations. If your lawyer refuses to meet or discuss the case with you, it might be time to consider finding someone who has the time to spend with you, so you understand the issues in your case, whether the case is a difficult one to win or not.
This response is general in nature and not intended to provide legal advice. No attorney-client relationship exists as a result of this response.
Slip and fall cases have complicated laws that must be met in order to establish liability. Without knowing the case in depth (liability and damages) it is difficult to know what the value might be. Third-party suits are very common in these types of cases. The owner is seeking contribution from the responsible party if there is an award. The owner is vicariously liable for the actions of the contractor. If your lawyer know who the contractor was from the beginning, he could have sued them directly along with the owner. But many times that information is not available until discovery takes place.
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