Why Won’t Any Lawyer Take My Case?

lawyer rejecting caseIf you’ve called several lawyers about handling your personal injury case and you haven’t found one who’s interested, it’s usually due to one of three reasons. First, your case sucks. Second, you want to sue someone who local lawyers don’t want to sue. Third, your case involves an area of the law that few lawyers want to deal with. Unfortunately, many lawyers will not give you a reason, or at least the real reason, why they don’t want to take your case. Hopefully, after reading this, you can figure it out for yourself, and decide whether your case is still worth pursuing.

Lawyers Don’t Want Cases That Suck

I know it’s crude to say that a case “sucks,” but this is generally the term we lawyers use among ourselves when describing a case that has more problems than it’s worth. FYI, a case that is slightly better than a case that sucks “has some hair on it” in lawyerspeak — this is usually used to describe a case with serious problems, but which is still worth pursuing (usually due to potentially large damages). Cases that suck usually have one or more of the following three features:

Settlement tip
  1. Liability problems
  2. Damages problems
  3. Insurance problems

Liability problems: “Liability” refers to the “fault” aspect of the case. If a jury is likely to find that you are partly or mostly liable for your own injuries, most lawyers won’t take your case unless you have significant damages (think over $100,000.00 for “partial fault” cases and a lot more if you are “mostly at fault”). In car accident cases, collisions at uncontrolled intersections and those involving rear end collisions where the lead driver made a sudden stop often pose liability problems. In “slip and fall” or “trip and fall” cases, cases involving open and obvious hazards will often have liability problems.

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If you were in a car accident where you were wrongly cited by law enforcement as the “at fault” driver, expect most lawyers to reject your case. Really, the only hope you have to remedy this is to beat the ticket at traffic court. This is something you’ll have to do on your own, as personal injury lawyers won’t want to do this for you. Even if you do beat the ticket, it’s unlikely that a lawyer will want your case — but it’s really your only shot, so why not try it.

“Open and obvious hazard” cases will usually involve slipping on a colored substance that is clearly visible on the floor (like spilled ketchup) or tripping over a floor display or change in floor elevation that anyone looking down would see. The key to selling these types of cases to potential lawyers is explaining why you didn’t see the obvious hazard. In stores, this can often be explained by the fact that you were looking at the merchandise on shelves. In parking lots, it can be explained by bags obscuring your view or that you were looking out for moving vehicles (if the lot was busy). Quickly explaining your reason for failing to see the hazard to a potential lawyer can be the difference between getting an appointment versus an instant rejection.

Damages problems: A case with clear liability, but little to no damages, is akin to a tree falling in the woods with no one to hear it. Because personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, they can’t afford to take cases without significant damages. Bumps and bruises and pulled muscles aren’t pleasant, but they also don’t result in huge settlements or jury verdicts. If you don’t have at least a few thousand dollars in medical bills, expect most lawyers to instantly reject your case. I am by no means suggesting that you overtreat for your injuries in order to drive up your medical bills. This strategy is sure to backfire, and will likely result in a case that you can’t afford to settle (your bills and medical liens will eat up your entire share of the settlement).

If you have a case with clear liability, but low damages, it may be worth pursuing on your own in small claims court (if you can’t find a lawyer). In Florida, the small claims court limit is $5,000.00 (this will vary by state), meaning that you will never be able to recover more than $5,000.00 (excluding your court costs) if you choose to file there. Keep that in mind when deciding whether small claims court is a good option for your case.

Insurance problems: There’s really only one type of insurance problem that will make a lawyer instantly reject your case: the defendant doesn’t have any. Most often, this will arise in the context of an uninsured driver (which can be solved if you have UM insurance). It also arises in cases involving bar fights, as many companies which insure bars now exclude coverage for any injury resulting from assault and battery (including the bar’s own negligent security). While it’s true that you can still sue uninsured defendants and try to recover your judgment from the defendant’s personal assets, most lawyers don’t want to risk suing a defendant that may lack the ability to satisfy a judgment. Also, cases involving the uninsured are nearly impossible to settle, as the defendant does not want to agree to pay large sum of money from his own personal assets. The near guarantee of having to take the case to trial, coupled with no guarantee of ultimately being paid, make these cases extremely unattractive to lawyers.

Lawyers Don’t Want to Sue Certain Defendants

If you want to sue a prominent member of your local community, such as a wealthy businessman, a doctor, a lawyer or your local law enforcement, you may have trouble finding a local lawyer to take your case. This is purely a matter of personal preference by your local lawyers, and has no reflection on the merit or value of your case. Lawyers may not want to sue businessmen, lawyers or doctors for business reasons. These people may be a valuable source of client referrals. They may serve on the same local committees or belong to the same social groups. Doctors may act as expert witnesses for local lawyers. These lawyers don’t want to burn bridges that may impact their business or social lives in the future over just one case.

When it comes to local law enforcement, aside from the social concerns mentioned above, lawyers may also be reluctant to sue them out of fear of retaliation. In my experience, this fear is unfounded. I’ve handled numerous tort and civil rights cases against local law enforcement (one of which even resulted in a sheriff’s deputy being charged and convicted on federal criminal charges), and I’ve never had a negative encounter with any officer as a result of this. Of course, most people, lawyers included, don’t want to risk law enforcement painting a target on their backs.

If you suspect that you are having difficulty retaining counsel because of who it is you want to sue, your problem can usually be fixed by expanding your lawyer search to neighboring cities.

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Lawyers May Reject Your Case if it Involves a Legal Niche They Don’t Want to Touch

Personal injury cases aren’t limited to car accidents, medical malpractice and slip and falls. Product liability, libel and slander, false arrest and excessive force, among other things, fall within the purview of personal injury lawyers. However, not all personal injury lawyers take these types of cases.

Product liability cases, especially isolated cases (not mass torts involving hundreds of plaintiffs), could be too expensive or time consuming for many lawyers. Libel and slander cases more often involve hurt feelings than real damages. False arrest and excessive force cases require knowledge of federal civil rights laws, with which the vast majority of personal injury attorneys are unfamiliar. It’s simply not worth most lawyers’ time to learn a new area of law for just one or two cases.

Even if you have a traditional negligence case, you may have a hard time finding a lawyer if your case is likely to end up in federal court (under diversity jurisdiction). They won’t admit it to you, but many personal injury lawyers are terrified of federal court. The procedural rules significantly differ from most state courts, with many potential traps for the unwary. Most personal injury lawyers rarely or never wind up in federal court, so they are uncomfortable trying to learn these procedures from scratch. As someone who practiced as much in federal court as I did in state court, I’ll admit that I had a significant advantage over defense lawyers who had little or no federal court experience. Federal procedural and substantive law is not something one wants to “dabble” in.

With most of these types of claims, it’s really just a matter of calling enough attorneys until you find one who knows the area of law you need. The exception may be the libel and slander cases. If you haven’t suffered a significant business (monetary) injury as a result of the libel or slander, don’t expect any lawyer to value your mental anguish enough to take such a case.

Lawyers May Lie About Why They Aren’t Taking Your Case

In my county, I am appalled at the number of lawyers who will lie to potential clients and say that they can’t take a case due to a “conflict of interest,” when in reality they are rejecting a case because it falls into one of the above categories. I know why they do it. They don’t want to tell the client that his case sucks and waste their valuable time explaining why, while also risking an unpleasant argument over the merits of the case. They certainly don’t want to say that they can’t sue a certain doctor because he refers them a lot of business. They also don’t want to admit ignorance or fear of a certain area of law.

So, why do they claim to have a conflict of interest? Two reasons: (1) lawyers won’t have to explain how they have a conflict, because in cases of a real conflict of interest, attorney-client privilege would preclude them from discussing it with you, and (2) because they legally can’t explain the conflict, they get off the phone with you in the shortest amount of time, and without any hard feelings.

Unfortunately, this leaves the client completely oblivious as to the true problem with finding a lawyer for his case. It also wastes a lot of other attorneys’ time, as a person with a possibly awful case calls more lawyers around town. I’ve found that brutal honesty in telling clients why I’m not interested in their case usually doesn’t take much longer than making up a bogus reason. I’ve had people whose cases I’ve torn to shreds thank me for my honesty afterward. I’ve also been able to send people to lawyers who are more likely to take their cases just by taking a few extra minutes to hear them out.

If you find that you are running into the “conflict of interest” excuse, it may help if you just ask the lawyer if he’s really turning down your case because it sucks. Explain that you’re not going to argue with him over his opinion, but you don’t want to waste your and a bunch of other attorneys’ time shopping around a case no one wants. If enough potential clients do this, maybe lawyers will stop lying about why they aren’t taking your cases, and clients can more easily find a lawyer who likes their case.

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221 Responses to Why Won’t Any Lawyer Take My Case?

  1. Tom says:

    Let me start off by saying that I love your site. In a sea of ‘hungry’ attorneys on the web, I’m glad to have found a fun advise site. But hopefully I can utilize some of your expertise.

    An at-fault driver hit me while on my bicycle and I went over the hood. My helmet cracked on impact and I had various road rash. I went to the ER, where they only needed to bandage me up. The following weeks, I had nasty bruising/stiffness. Now, a month later, I have some scarring on my face, back, leg, arms, and thigh. My thigh has still been stiff, but after a recent check-up, the doctor said it will just take time to heal.

    I’m expecting my medical bills are small; maybe $1,000 for the ER and $200 for the check-up. And I only took one day away from work, worth around $140.

    Is it worth hiring an attorney to take my small case? Nine out of the ten offices I have contacted, have denied my case since it’s not valued enough. However, I did find one that was willing. Would they be able to negotiate a higher settlement that more than compensates for their contingency fee? Or is it in my best monetary interest to do it myself?

    Thanks for any advise you can give me!

    • fl_litig8r says:

      Assuming that you’re comfortable that all of your injuries have been fleshed out, I’d suggest taking a crack at settling this one on your own. I assume you have the insurance information for the at-fault driver (it will be on the accident report). You can call them and ask to speak to a BI (bodily injury) adjuster about making a claim (or you can just ask for the address to submit a demand in writing, if you prefer).

      Have your medical billing and health insurance information ready so you can give them specific numbers for your medical claim. If you have a pay stub reflecting the time lost from work (they should still compensate you if you used sick time), that would be helpful as well.

      Whether you can make a claim for pain and suffering will depend on whether you live in a no-fault state. If you don’t, you can make such a claim with no problem. If you do live in a no-fault state, then you likely have to prove that you have a permanent injury to recover pain and suffering damages. Your scarring may qualify, depending on how significant it is (and permanent).

      As an extra complication if you are in a no-fault state (and you own a car), your own PIP insurance may be primary coverage for your medical and wage loss, so it would pay a certain percentage of these bills (often 80% medical and 60% wage loss) even though you weren’t in your car (PIP coverage travels with you, not just your car) and even though you weren’t at fault.

      If you aren’t satisfied with how the at-fault driver’s insurer responds, you can always hire that firm that’s willing to take your case — at that point, you’d have nothing to lose.

      I’m glad you like the site. If it’s not too much trouble, and you’re a social network user, a Facebook “like” or Google “+1” (buttons are on the bottom of my articles) would be appreciated.

      • Felipe says:

        I am an uninsured driver I got in a car accident where the driver was clearly at fault but he’s saying he wasn’t . He fled the scene and I chased him till the police arrived the insurance company won’t pay my vehicle expenses cuz we have different stories . I dint agree with paying 50 percent of his damage so he so they are trying to make me pay 100 percent of his expenses the police report does not say he fled the scene so his insurance said that they will go with his story and stick to it . Should I get a lawer and will a lawer even take my case

        • fl_litig8r says:

          It’s unlikely that a lawyer would take your case if all that’s at issue is property damage to your car. It’s just not valuable enough to be worth most lawyers’ time. Add to that the fact that it’s now a “he said, she said” situation because the police didn’t cite the other driver and your odds go down even further. You could take your chances in small claims court and sue him on your own, but that might increase the odds of the other driver counterclaiming against you, saying you were at fault. If the other driver or his insurer comes after you for his car damage, you can either defend yourself (which won’t be easy) or pay a lawyer an hourly rate to defend you. You’d likely need to pay a retainer of a few thousand dollars up front, so I don’t know if it would even be worth it. If you had insurance, your own insurer would pay to defend you, so right now I think your best outcome is the at-fault driver not suing you. It sucks, but I’m not going to sugar-coat it.

  2. Tom says:

    Hey, thanks for your swift reply!

    I’m in California (a NON-No-Fault state) so making a pain/suffering claim is assumed. There’s just a few things I worry about going in on my own…

    – Making sure I receive enough to pay subrogation/liens
    – Not knowing the value of my injuries/scars and being naively undercut in their offer
    – Dealing with the adjuster (who is with Allstate, which I’ve heard is notoriously aggressive)

    I’ve proposed my scenario on legal advise forums, in which all of the responding attorneys have suggested getting hiring legal representation (easier said than done). They’ve said that merely having a representing attorney causes the insurance companies to play more “fairly.” Is this a valid observation? Or should I be taking their advise with a grain salt? No offense, but on a sites like that, it seems that lawyers are biased in keeping ‘business’ in their industry.

    Thanks again for your help!

    • fl_litig8r says:

      The theory that insurers will play more “fairly” if you have a lawyer is a pretty vague notion. What does that even mean? Ultimately what you care about is how much they will pay to settle your case. Will having a lawyer make them pay more? In most cases, the answer is yes, for the simple reason that they know you’re ready to sue them if they don’t make a reasonable offer. However, if your case is worth so little that it wouldn’t be economically feasible for a lawyer to file a lawsuit over it, the insurer will know that, as well. In this case, the usual advantage of having a lawyer is greatly reduced by the insurer’s belief that your lawyer won’t ever file suit. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the one firm that agreed to represent you plans to dump your case if they can’t settle it pre-suit.

      So, while a lawyer may be a better negotiator than you, if he can’t convince the insurer that he will file suit should the case not settle (a very tough sell in a low value case), I doubt that his negotiating acumen will increase your settlement by enough to offset his fee.

      That being said, you raise valid concerns about handling this yourself. As to the liens, you can call (or write) your health insurer’s subrogation department to get a written statement of how much they claim they are owed (this is what your lawyer would do, anyway). That’s not really that big of a deal. As to the value of your injuries, your doctors can tell you the economic value of possible future care. On that note, if your scars are bad, you may want to consult a plastic surgeon about the potential for, and cost of, scar revision.

      Once the economic value is established, the pain and suffering and emotional distress are worth whatever you think they are. If Allstate makes you an offer that satisfies you, why would you worry that someone else may have gotten more for similar injuries? As long as you’re happy with the settlement, that’s all that matters. Now I know you don’t want to get ripped off, but because non-economic damages are inherently subjective you can’t ever say for certain that a case is worth “x” dollars in pain and suffering. You really just need to depend on your negotiating skills and your ability to read the adjuster to tell whether you’re squeezing the top dollar out of him.

      Which brings me to your last concern — the notoriously aggressive adjuster. Every negotiation is going to involve some posturing and some bluffing. Some will involve bullying. If you don’t handle confrontation well, you might be better off having a lawyer do it for you. I don’t mean to scare you. Often, dealing with adjusters is not that confrontational. You throw around settlement numbers and point out weaknesses in each other’s cases, e.g., you say his driver was clearly at fault; he says you’re not hurt that bad — maybe each of you has a counter-argument. You could try making contact with the adjuster and see how it goes — if the person is overly aggressive, stop the conversation an hire a lawyer. If he’s not so bad, see where the negotiations take you.

      One final note — I see from Nolo’s website that California upped its small claims court limit to $10,000.00 as of January 1, 2012. So, you can threaten Allstate with suing their driver even if you don’t have a lawyer. You can even follow through with that threat if they piss you off enough — small claims court was designed for pro se parties. You would need to do some serious research before attempting this, however, as the evidence rules can be tricky, especially with a lawyer on the other side trying to get things excluded based on technicalities he would never use against another lawyer. As I said, it’s just a thought. At the least, you can use this to threaten the adjuster (and mention that he’ll wind up paying more in defense costs than he would in just settling your case fairly).

      • Jim Sutherland says:

        I am a former insurance adjuster that has been practicing personal injury in CA. As an adjuster we were instructed to “low ball” any unrepresented claimants (parties not insured with the insurance company, but has a valid claim against said insurance company). “They don’t know the rules” we were told. What I found in doing business is we, as attorneys, will most likely get a claimant more money in settlement, but no guarantee the claimant nets more money. My general rule is: No one should go into any negotiations of any kind with an insurance company unrepresented. If you don’t like or trust me, then find someone you like and trust, but don’t go unrepresented. We know the rules. We have a good grasp on values of cases. Plus, retaining an attorney late in the game could seriously jeopardize your chances of a good outcome because you may have already given the insurance company way more information than they need or deserve.

        • fl_litig8r says:

          For the most part, I’m with you — having a lawyer for negotiations is better than not having a lawyer as a general rule. Of course, there will be exceptions for particularly savvy and capable people, or situations where the insurer will tender its limits regardless of whether a lawyer is involved once it receives the medical records and billing. It’s definitely a gamble an unrepresented person takes — seeing if they can get more than an attorney would get them after his fees are deducted. Plus, going it alone has the additional downside of the plaintiff having to resolve health insurance liens on their own, which in and of itself can be daunting.

  3. Laura says:

    Can the phrasing conflict of interest be used in a retalitaion claim? Especally, when a manager because of a personal interest in you participates in a write up??

    • fl_litig8r says:

      I’m not sure why a particular choice of words concerns you. If your employer retaliated against you for pursuing your rights under a state or federal statute, such as an employment discrimination complaint, the only real issues will be whether the motive for the adverse employment action (the write up) was your pursuit of your rights under the law and whether you had a good faith basis to pursue those rights. Personal animus of one of your supervisors towards you, for reasons unrelated to your pursuit of those rights (e.g., he just doesn’t like you) may be a conflict of interest in the colloquial sense, but won’t have much bearing on the retaliation claim.

  4. Laura says:

    Well, convienently a Supervisor is hung up on the conflict of interest term and won’t recognize that I mentioned Retaliation/Harassment to her. I was written up for things that I don’t believe are true and the manager that participated in the write up had been texting me and made advances toward me and tld me he had feelings for me and I had cursed at this manager to go away and three weeks later he is involved in a write up. He is not my manager and I feel he should have declined to be involved. He told me during the interview process before the write up – I know you’re talking I get to hear what you’re saying.
    I think his involement is wrong and retaiatory.

    • fl_litig8r says:

      If you did not report his unwanted advances to your employer prior to him participating in the disciplinary process, allowing him to participate would not be retaliatory in the legal sense. Remember that retaliation claims are brought against the employer, not an individual employee (even a supervisory one). If the employer has a harassment policy that you did not avail yourself of prior to the disciplinary review, you did not give it proper notice of his unwanted advances and a chance to take corrective action. Therefore, you would not have a retaliation claim against the employer (as you never asserted your legal rights prior to alleged retaliatory action).

      That being said, a case could possibly be made that any negative actions he caused the employer to take against you were due to you previously rejecting his advances. This could possibly form the basis for a quid pro quo type sex discrimination claim (which Title VII prohibits). If you report this to your employer and they do not take appropriate action, it may form the basis of a Title VII claim against the employer (not for retaliation, but for sex discrimination). If they retaliate against you after reporting your complaint, that could be the basis for a Title VII retaliation claim, assuming that you have a good faith basis for the complaint.

      So while it may seem like semantics, as his conduct may be “retaliatory” in the conventional sense, in the legal sense a retaliation claim doesn’t arise until you have first asserted your rights pursuant to a statute such as Title VII, either by complaining to your employer or by filing an EEOC complaint.

      As to whether he had a conflict of interest, one could easily argue that his interest in punishing you for rejecting his advances conflicted with his interest in providing the employer with a fair assessment of your alleged wrongdoing. I think it would be more appropriate to describe him as biased, when you should have been reviewed by an impartial decision maker. At the very least, his participation created the appearance of impropriety.

  5. Dee says:


    I have a few questions for my Aunt… My Uncle was killed Dec.11,2011. He was on his motorcycle and laid it down (that didnt hurt him) at 6:30 pm (still day light out) as he was getting up to flag down the car that was behind him, That car ran him over and killed him. No my aunt had a lawyer but they dropped her and said there is nothing that can be done. Now the witnesses said that the man in the car had been drinking, yet the cops never gave him a breath test or anything, my uncle’s came back that he had been drinking.Why didn’t they test the driver of the car ?? My Uncle was NOT on his bike or in a car, He was on the side of the road. The driver of the car was right behind him he had to see him lay the bike down! And the lawyer told my aunt the driver of the car is a Vietnam Vet there is nothing you can do.. I don’t think that’s right.The driver told the cops ” Oh well this is the second person I have killed” and snickered. What can we do ? Can you please help us?? Thank you for your time

    • fl_litig8r says:

      I can only recommend that you keep calling around to find another lawyer to take the case. The case has liability issues, but because it is a death case, there is probably a lawyer out there willing to try to overcome the liability issues.

      The fact that your uncle was drinking is not insignificant. It pretty much ensures that a jury will apportion some, if not all of the fault for the accident to him (starting with his reasons for laying the bike down). In a few states, if a person is even 1% at fault for an accident, he cannot recover anything. In most, the damages will just be reduced by his percentage of fault. A recent development also has some states, like my home state of Florida, making a special statute for civil plaintiffs who are intoxicated at the time of injury that bars recovery if the intoxication accounted for 50% or more of the fault.

      I know it’s frustrating that the police didn’t test the driver of the vehicle. Without that, it will be near impossible to prove he was intoxicated at the time of the accident unless you had some super-reliable witness who was actively taking note of how many drinks (and what type) this guy had prior to the accident. I can’t say why the police didn’t test him, but there is no civil claim that can be brought against the police for deciding not to do so (trust me, I’ve also handled many civil rights cases against law enforcement). Law enforcement has broad discretion when it comes to these types of issues.

      Lawyers have different opinions when it comes to which cases are worth taking on. I strongly urge you to try a number of other firms to see if anyone else will take the case. Be up front about the issues over the phone so you don’t waste yours and the lawyers’ time. Lawyers turn down or drop cases every day that other lawyers pick up and turn into a large settlement. Don’t take one lawyer’s opinion as gospel. You have nothing to lose but time in calling other firms. I hope you find someone.

      • Dee says:

        Thank you for getting back to me so fast:)
        And we live in Bunnell Florida, The other guys car insurance paid my Aunt some money but the lawyer she had said that she can’t go after the man for anything. Would you happen to know of a lawyer that might take on this case?? A good lawyer, I want my aunt to get the best help she can. It’s very hard on her she thinks and cries over him each and every day. I have a hard time helping her cause no one wants to talk to me. They all say they need to talk to her, Well it hurts her to talk about my uncle. She misses him very much, we talked about him last night and all day today she was crying over him she cant sleep at night with out him. Please if you happen to know of someone to help, Please let us know. Thanks again for your time

        • fl_litig8r says:

          You’ve cast a new light on the case by telling me that the driver’s insurer paid your aunt. This sounds like a case where the driver was inadequately insured and the only means of recovery was through the insurer. Most of the time, it’s not worth trying to sue an individual, as you’ll likely have to take it to trial (because he has no money to offer to settle) and then you get a judgment against someone who will never be able to pay it. In Florida, the generous homestead exemption (which has no monetary limit for a primary residence) prevents a judgment creditor from forcing a defendant to sell his house to pay a judgment. Because most people don’t have any assets worth seizing aside from a house, and you can’t seize the house even if he owns one, lawyers won’t sue individuals unless they are known to be rich — and ironically, rich people rarely have inadequate insurance.

          In any case, I can’t imagine the insurer paying your aunt anything without having her sign a release which completely releases the driver from any liability. So, even if suing him personally was a possibility before (and I can pretty much guarantee that it wasn’t), it would be barred by the release now.

          If your uncle had UM insurance, that would be the only source of recovery available beyond the driver’s policy limits. Of course, I assume that your former lawyer would have looked into this already, as even a brain-dead lawyer would know to do that.

          It really sounds like your lawyer got your aunt as much as he could. The other driver’s insurer probably tendered its policy limits immediately upon receiving the demand to avoid a bad faith lawsuit, which would have been your only real hope of recovering more than the policy limits in the absence of UM coverage.

          • Dee says:

            Thank you very much for all your time. I will talk to my aunt in the morning and see if she signed anything, I didn’t know what was going on I just know she called me and told me the lawyer dropped the case. I will get all the papers and read about it some more. I just wanted to try and get her some kind of help. Thank you and have a good night. 🙂

          • fl_litig8r says:

            I think your aunt may have been confused by what the lawyer told her. I don’t think he dropped her case. I think he just couldn’t take it any further for the reasons I just mentioned. If you find out anything more, feel free to come back and let me know.

      • Raashan says:

        My daughter was killed by her mother and was abused previously by the husband of her mother. The husband was convicted of the abuse and the state’s family services was notified. My daughter was left in the household without any follow up and was exposed to further abuse that led to her death. Moreover, before her death and after the husband was convicted of abuse, the local police were called to the household twice on suspicion of child abuse and the police failed to diligently investigate for abuse or remove my daughter. Most attorneys tell me that I’d be wasting time bringing a suit against the police or State. The attorney I have for the wrongful cremation lawsuit believes the same because the state limit for wrongful death is $100,000. What do you opine?

        • fl_litig8r says:

          Unfortunately, I agree with the lawyers who think that, at best, this would be a state law claim of negligence against the child protective services agency. The U.S. Supreme Court made it clear in DeShaney v. Winnebago County Department of Social Services that a state government child protection agency can’t be sued under 42 U.S.C. §1983 (the statute that lets you sue for constitutional violations) for failure to protect a child from a private person when the child is not in the agency’s custody. It’s also well-established federal (and state) law that you can’t sue the police for failing to prevent a crime or arrest someone when they may have grounds to do so unless they have established a special relationship with the injured party such as, again, taking them into custody. Merely knowing that a person is at risk doesn’t create this special relationship. A federal claim would be the only way to avoid being capped by your state’s waiver of sovereign immunity limit, and I don’t see how one would be possible under your facts.

          This leaves you with possibly a state law negligence/wrongful death claim against child protective services — and this is assuming that your state recognizes such a claim, as not all do — which will be capped by your state’s waiver of sovereign immunity limit. Whether it would be worth it to bring such a case with a maximum recovery of $100,000 (I’m assuming the lawyers you spoke with are correct about your state’s cap) depends on the lawyer. Once can expect that a case like this would be fought pretty vigorously (damages caps encourage this because the state has little to lose even if they get destroyed at trial), so lawyers may not be willing to invest the time needed to make such a recovery when easier car accident cases of equal value are available.

          • Raashan says:

            Thanks for the reply. The attorney that I have for the unlawful cremation of my daughter is very knowledgeable and pretty good. I thought that many attorneys from that state avoided the issue because of it being their own state. I have the other claim against the funeral home and the cemetery regarding the cremation error. Liability is pretty clear but it seems like the adjuster was being unreasonable and showed obvious disregard for what happened to me. I am prepared to do battle to the end but hope that the defense lawyers wake up and attempt to do the right thing. Do I expect them to? No…

          • fl_litig8r says:

            I don’t think your problem finding a lawyer has anything to do with lawyers being afraid to sue the state. There are many lawyers who don’t want to sue their local law enforcement, but there are always some who will. I wouldn’t be so certain about liability being clear. Many times liability will depend on what your state law (usually by statute) says about the duties of child protective services. Usually, the state needs to impose a specific duty of care by statute for liability to attach to an individual’s claim. Otherwise, you run into the same issue someone faces when law enforcement doesn’t prevent a foreseeable crime — the court says that unless the agency established a special relationship with the victim, such as taking him or her into custody, they don’t owe that individual a duty of care that would give rise to a legal claim.

            Your problem in finding a lawyer definitely stems more from the nature of the claim than who you’re trying to sue. These aren’t easy cases, and having a damages cap just makes them that much less attractive.

          • Raashan says:

            The clear liability I spoke about was in regards to a separate claim. Sorry for not being clear.

  6. Laura says:

    Thank you for your response!
    The respose from the employer was “let it go,” Secrecy, and threats of firing. I just don’t think this was handled well!

    • fl_litig8r says:

      If you don’t want to pursue a discrimination claim, you may want to start looking for other employment (at least explore your options). While it’s unlikely that your employer would fire you while a possible complaint of sexual harassment is lingering, they may just wait long enough to avoid the appearance of retaliation before trying to get rid of you. If you notice them writing you up or taking pains to build a case for firing you, the writing is on the wall. It’s fight or flight time.

  7. Laura says:

    Thank you again for your advice. Left the job – afraid of them – getting an attorney. Worried for others if this is how they do business.

    Thanks for being out there! For a guy “who doesn’t want to be your attorney” YOU help the public out a lot with sharing your experience and giving us your advice!

    Thank you for all you do!


  8. Patrick C. says:

    Can someone please tell me why a lawyer will not take a class action suit of just me on for a exempt employee status, when the work is already done? The status they put us under is executive, but we do not manage any person or people! Its a simple case, but I think they are scared of the company. We also have resigned under anxiety problems and many others that doctors will testify. PLEASE SOMEONE TELL ME WHY????

    • fl_litig8r says:

      I’ll take a stab at it:

      1. There are relatively few attorneys that practice employment law, and most that do are more focused on discrimination than FLSA claims.

      2. Your case may not be valuable enough in the eyes of these lawyers to justify filing suit. While attorney’s fees can be awarded to the winner, most lawyers don’t want to gamble on winning just so they can get paid an hourly rate. If they wanted an hourly rate, they’d be on the defense side, where payment is guaranteed regardless of case outcome.

      3. You may not have enough people to warrant a class action. Even if you do, most law firms don’t have experience handling class actions (further cutting down your options when it comes to firms).

      As to lawyers being “scared of the company”, I doubt it. Large, powerful corporations are sued every day. Even law enforcement agencies get sued all the time. If lawyers aren’t afraid to sue the cops, why would they be afraid of some corporation?

      You may just need to broaden your search to firms outside your immediate geographical area. It will often be a numbers game, contacting a number of firms before you find one that’s interested. As a tip, don’t start off bashing lawyers and saying how no one will take your case so far — that’s a big red flag that you’re going to be a “problem client”.

  9. Fernando Garcia says:


    I am a resident in California. I worked for a company for three years in California. That company has multiple facilities around the country. Reason I know this is because my check stub came from another state. I was injured on the job. The moment I decide to receive medical attention, I get discharge from work. I open workers comp for the injury and the workers comp lawyer refers me to another attorney to open a case for Wrongfully Termination. After showing all my paper work and evidence example recommendation letters, promotion on the job etc. He took my case with no further question. In fact he said we had a strong case. I have been off work for almost eighteen month now. I have had one deposition. Now he is saying that the case is not worth money or fitting and he was advice that the company in California is going out of business. What do you recommend I should do? Is this case worth any money or worth fighting? Any advice would be great. I would appreciate your advice.

    Thank You

    Fernando Garcia

    • fl_litig8r says:

      Well, it is illegal in California (and most other states) for an employer to retaliate against an employee who files or states his intention to file a workers compensation claim. I’m assuming this is the type of claim you pursued in your wrongful termination case.

      It doesn’t sound like your lawyer has doubts about the legitimacy of your claim, but rather the chances of recovery even if you win. If your employer did file for bankruptcy, whether you have any realistic chance of recovery will depend on many factors, such as whether the employer had separate insurance to cover such retaliation claims (this improves your chances) or whether it was self-insured for such claims (this worsens your chances). Make sure that your lawyer received a formal notice that the employer filed for bankruptcy, and was not just told this by the employer’s lawyer. Ask your lawyer what the deadline is for filing a claim in the bankruptcy court (you’d need to do this by a certain deadline to preserve your right to recover anything). If your lawyer does not want to proceed with your case, let him withdraw (so you don’t owe him any fees if you ultimately recover anything) so that you can consult with other lawyers.

      Bankruptcy of a defendant does not necessarily mean that your claim will be worthless. If the employer has an insurance policy to cover workers’ comp retaliation claims, your chances may actually be quite good to make a full recovery (as this insurance wouldn’t be a general asset to be divided among all of the bankruptcy creditors, and the bankruptcy court may lift its “automatic stay” of all actions by creditors and allow you to proceed with your lawsuit).

      If you don’t have any luck with either other employment/workers comp lawyers, you may want to consult a bankruptcy lawyer or two to see if they might help you understand your chances of making a recovery — they may also help with getting another lawyer to take your case (for a fee cut).

      Sorry I can’t give you a more clear answer to your question, but seeing that I’m neither a comp lawyer nor a California lawyer, I’ve given you my best guess.

  10. Drew says:

    Could you please advise kindly whether anything can be done to get my identity back from this Florida government agency? Thank you very much in advance for your help.

    Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco, Department of Business and Professional Regulation in Tallahassee, Florida has been listing my address as
    a licensed alcohol dealer in South Carolina. When I notified them they wrote that it was their mistake and that they removed my address from their website
    and databases, yet my address remains there. Here is some correspondence from them:

    June 13, 2012

    Good afternoon.

    Good news. It appears as if the incorrect address was in place due to an employee that we had who is no longer with us, and not because of any actions taken
    by Banknote Wine Company or the distributor that they sell to in Florida. With our new reporting system, each entity reporting has a license or identification
    number with us. When we record the reported information in our system, if an entity does not have a number, we assign them one. When the wholesaler in
    Orlando reported purchasing from Banknote, the employee here looked on the web to find an address. Apparently, when doing this, they found your web page
    when doing a search for “banknote” and typed in your address without verifying it.

    I sincerely apologize for any grief that this has caused you in thinking that someone was tampering with your identity. I have asked my current staff to resolve
    the issue by removing your address and adding the correct address for Banknote Wine Company into our system. We will also put procedures in place to
    assure that any current employees do not simply put the first address that they find into our system without verifying that it is the correct entity and address.
    Unfortunately, sometimes you don’t find out about mistakes such as this until an employee leaves or someone contacts you with the issue. Again, I thank
    you for bringing this to our attention.


    ~ Marie

    Marie Fraher, Chief of Auditing

    Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco

    Department of Business and Professional Regulation

    1940 N. Monroe Street

    Tallahassee, FL 32399-1022



    June 14, 2012

    (Their response to my demand to actually erase my address from their files since I have nothing to do with sales of alcoholic beverages or tobacco)

    Good afternoon.

    I had hoped that I could answer your questions and give an explanation that would satisfy your dilemma with us. However, as I read through your email below,
    I find that I do not have the authority to answer your requests. Therefore, I will be forwarding your email to our legal staff.


    ~ Marie

    Marie Fraher, Chief of Auditing

    Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco

    Department of Business and Professional Regulation

    1940 N. Monroe Street

    Tallahassee, FL 32399-1022

    (850) 717-1136 voice mail

    (850) 922-2901 fax



    June 15, 2012

    Good afternoon.

    We have taken the reference to your address out of our non-licensed entity list in the on-line records on our web site.


    ~ Marie

    Marie Fraher, Chief of Auditing

    Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco

    Department of Business and Professional Regulation

    1940 N. Monroe Street

    Tallahassee, FL 32399-1022



    Today is June 24, 2012

    Let’s see whether my address P.O. Box 331, North, SC 29112 is still listed with the Florida Licensing website:


    Oh yes, it still is! See the very first Google search result there under “Pseudo licenses 05-14-2012”. If you click on it and go to the LICENSE # 7901108 you
    will see it listed there. That’s not my business name, not exactly, but it is similar to my website name.

    NOTE: I have never sold any alcohol anywhere in the world. This is an outright identity theft by a government agency (entity) if not a mistake that’s NOT been
    corrected (yet) even if promised.

    • fl_litig8r says:

      First, the agency has not committed identity theft, as that involves someone knowingly representing themselves as another person. The agency isn’t claiming to be you. It was just sloppy in its records keeping, and has done a poor job of correcting its error thusfar.

      You have three options at this point:

      1. Keep working with the agency until it fixes the erroneous listing, working your way up the chain of command until it is done correctly.
      2. Hire a Florida lawyer to file a writ of mandamus to compel the agency to remove the information. You would have to pay this lawyer on an hourly basis, as generally no damages are recoverable through this type of action.
      3. If you have suffered actual damages as a result of this erroneous listing, aside from being upset about the error, you may have a claim for libel. You would need to notify both the agency itself and the Florida Department of Financial Services in writing of your intent to bring such a claim, pursuant to the notice requirements of Fla.Stat. 768.28(6), and then wait six months before being able to file suit. I doubt that any lawyer would be willing to take such a case, just because the damages are probably not enough to warrant the effort, but the notice of your intention to sue may be enough to make the agency fix its error.

      Obviously, option #1 is the path of least resistance (and cost to you).

  11. Drew says:

    Thanks a lot for your advise. Can I ask you one more question? Someone (a brand new novice poster with no posts probably registered their ID just to post my name) posted my full name and my full address on a forum and the forum administration will not remove it upon my request, no reasons given. Can they do that legally? How can I remove my name and address from the forum? The name and address is listed at Whois as domain info, but they took it from a stolen identity registration (name/address hijacking by criminals for their own domains) and also I do not wish to be identified on any forum by my real name. Is it just unethical what the forum is doing or illegal? Can you help?

    • fl_litig8r says:

      Impersonating someone online is a pretty new phenomenon, so depending on your state (or the state of the website operator), there may not be a specific law against it yet. California recently enacted such a law. Unfortunately, even laws such as this one are directed at the actual impersonator, and not the operators of websites where the impersonation occurs.

      If you are having no luck with the website operator, you may want to take the issue up with his hosting company (the company that provides his website storage). The hosting company will be listed in his Whois information. Even if it isn’t illegal for the website owner to leave the post online, his hosting company may still pressure him to remove the post for practical reasons — if the industry doesn’t self-regulate, it is inviting new legislation to regulate it.

      If your state is one that has a law against online impersonation, you may have criminal or civil remedies available against the original poster. Whether any prosecutor or lawyer would be interested in pursuing such a claim without some form of cyberbullying or financial fraud being attempted under your name is another matter. Did the person post your name and address with the intent of drawing other users to harass you?

      • Drew says:

        You are very helpful and thanks. Can I send you the link to the forum via a private message somehow? Then we could post comfortable parts of that on here for other users to possibly benefit from.

        If not, then I will explain a little bit about the situation I am in.

        I own several domains. I do not hide my name or address for the benefit of customer trust.

        Some criminals who own some (unattractive) domains have used my name and address in their Whois as theirs. So when you see the whois of their domain you are seeing “me” as the “owner” and my mailing address as the domain’s contact, yet the email is theirs (I suppose) and they (purposely) use my old telephone/fax number that has been disconnected for years even if they know my active number.

        Now after I posted on a forum about this story, also providing links to the public whois record to those scammer domains where my name is used, one of posters (the post was their first and i suspect the posted created their user ID for a sole purpose of this one post) posted asking something like “is xxx xxxxx your name, and is xxxx xxxx xxxxx xxxx” your address? Although they could clearly see I xxxxxx’ed my name etc,. in all my posts and their last sentence is something like: “So what are you up to?”. And I am up to protecting my privacy and my identity, of course. So that question of theirs is kind of a form of harassment or even invitation to others to harass me (perhaps?). I can send you actual correspondence or simply the link to the forum posts by private message if you will agree. Thanks again.

        • fl_litig8r says:

          As this subject is really off-topic for a personal injury website (and far from my area of expertise) I don’t know that there is much that I can do to help you further, other than my already suggested action of contacting the forum’s web hosting company with your concern in an attempt to enlist them to pressure the site operator to remove the posts containing your personal info. I don’t know that I’d read as much into that new user’s posting, unless you actually start getting harassed as a result, in which case it may become a criminal matter.

          As to your domain registration issues, you could report the websites with the fraudulent information to ICANN here. It is against ICANN policy to allow false WHOIS information in a domain registration, so it will contact the domain registrar about changing/removing the false registrations once you file a complaint.

          • Drew says:

            I’m glad you wrote about ICANN. I’ve been writing about ICANN and about BIZCN (shady domain registrar in China accredited by ICANN). The PROBLEM is that ICANN does nothing to stop BIZCN and ICANN has referred me to BIZCN and BIZCN did little to nothing in my case. Plus, ICANN’s WDPR forms were sending rejections for all my reports. No matter what I did, when I reported all or most those domains to ICAN they kept on sending me these rejection emails:

            Dear Sir/Madam:

            ICANN appreciates you taking the time to complete a Whois Data Problem
            Report regarding the domain [removed by admin]. However, your complaint was rejected
            because the Whois inaccuracy claim was found invalid and the domain falls
            under one of the following categories:

            1. Client Hold: Domain is On Hold
            2. NOT FOUND: Domain is not existent
            3. Pending Delete, Domain Suspended or Deleted

            The Whois Data Problem Reporting System only forwards valid Whois inaccuracy
            complaints directly to the registrar for review.

            For further information on what is required of registrars upon notification
            of an inaccuracy in Whois data, you may wish to view the ICANN Advisory
            located online at http://www.icann.org/announcements/advisory-03apr03.htm.

            Kind regards,

            ICANN Services


            This is the original thread explaining the entire story, which you may find useful to read:

            [removed by admin]

  12. Drew says:

    P.S. Those reports I made to ICANN were about 8 months ago. All rejected. Those domains were NOT on hold, they were not deleted, I filled all ICANN forms very carefully and did everything by their instructions. I even telephoned ICANN and told them he problem, yet they told me they can’t help me and they referred me to BIZCN, but I told them I already tried BIZCN and that BIZCN does nothing and they are shady. Then I said I can’t sue BIZCN as they are in China and ICANN should do something about my id theft case and then the ICANN hung the phone on me abruptly and did not pick it up anymore. So, eight months later, nothing has changed. Since I can’t sue BIZCN (they are in China), I may have to take ICANN to court and I wonder whether I can find a lawyer to help me do that. I just ran out of all other options. Damages are accumulating fast as more and more criminals are using my name for their domains and I am losing customers and my name as those criminal domains have been listed on Google first page now and some people called me and asked me why I was running a scam while they thought I was an honest businessman. Now they even posted my name on the forums and the forums refuse to remove it as if they want to punish me by allowing a complete novice to post my name and the forum also threatened to shut my account down if I demand to remove my name. They ([removed by admin]) seem to be shady and unethical as the least. Now some users are on the verge of harassing me there. Integrity and honesty is very important to me and that hurts a lot.

    • fl_litig8r says:

      After reading the forum posts you linked to, in which you discussed this issue with a number of people, unfortunately I have to say I am at a loss as to what you should do. It really does appear that BIZCN doesn’t care that Chinese and Russian criminals are using its service to register domains for websites which are clearly engaged in criminal activity (that “watch” website you listed couldn’t be a more obvious scam). It also appears that ICANN has no intention of alienating the Chinese by revoking BIZCN’s domain registrar status. As long as the criminals keep using web hosting services that also support their illegal activities (and are located in countries where this kind of corruption is ignored), I don’t see a way to track them down, much less have them criminally charged. There may be some attorneys out there who are knowledgeable enough in international law and domain registration issues to help you with this problem. Unfortunately, I’m not one of them. Of course, those attorneys who do have that knowledge probably wouldn’t want to get involved unless there was a huge amount of money at issue (which was actually recoverable) or unless you could pay them a hefty hourly fee.

      As to the posting of your name on the forum website, I’m not as convinced as you are that the person who “outed you” did so maliciously. Before even reading his post, I saw your post with the domains listed and did a WHOIS search on my own, which gave me your name and address. I think it was just dumb curiosity that prompted him to ask if the WHOIS data was you. As far as him asking “now what’ve you been up to”, I took that as him asking what the status was of you getting this issue resolved (as it had been several days since your last post). Don’t take this the wrong way, but I think you really overreacted to a lot of people on that forum who were offering advice (even if you felt the advice was stupid). You really jumped down their throats, when a simple “I already tried that” would have sufficed. I understand how upsetting this issue is for you, but I don’t think anyone on that website was acting “shady” (quite the opposite), and any info that was posted about you was easily obtained from your own prior post and a quick WHOIS search. I’m just saying that in the future, you might get more cooperation on those forums and from the forum webmasters if you showed a bit more patience and weren’t so quick to accuse people of behaving unethically.

      I’m sorry I couldn’t be more helpful, but as I said, this is not really my area of expertise.

  13. Drew says:

    Hmmm, interesting, first of all criminals seem to be protected and even if I wanted to track them down by their bank account number they would be protected by the bank where the scammed money is received.

    Second, I seem to be the one who’s acting shady on that forum wanting to protect from my identity being further shared on the forums, while I question legality of posting (and not removing it by the mods) since the person who’s only purpose to register on that forum was to post my info since they no longer participate in that conversation, and since the whois info in the so-called public space has been stolen by criminals and posted there by the criminals. So is it really legal to repost stolen Whois info? It is stolen identity after all being posted on forums.

    I did not jump the gun on the forums, but even if it sound a bit like that, someone created a new id to “punish” me by posting my stolen info on the forum.

    One thing is having your name and address in a public (not so easily findable though) Whois and another thing is to being unable to remain private, or even anonymous on a forum, while everyone else is using their aliases, usernames etc. How many people did you notice use their full name in the forums? None to almost none. Don’t I have a right to a privacy on a forum or on that particular forum?

    Hello criminals, you’re free to roam unpunished.

    • fl_litig8r says:

      First, you’re being hyperbolic, which helps no one. Second, I didn’t say that you were acting shady — I said I didn’t think that the others on that board were (when I said “quite the opposite”, I meant it looked like they were trying to help). Third, yes, it is legal for that poster to ask you whether you were the person in the Whois information that you yourself linked to in that forum. He didn’t steal your identity or invite any criminal acts against you. He just asked a question, which was practically invited by you posting the link to the Whois data. Also, you’re the one who confirmed that the name he posted was, in fact, yours. Up until that point where you flew off the handle at the posting of your name, no one knew for sure whether that was your real name.

      If you wanted to remain anonymous on that forum, you shouldn’t have posted information which would lead to your identity, and then confirm your identity when it was posted. You obliterated any argument for “expectation of privacy” by doing so. The reason the others remain anonymous on that forum is because they didn’t post information that would lead anyone to their real names. Nothing in that site’s rules forbid the posting of real user names. Also, the forum has the following rule explicitly stated: “We do not remove posts or accounts on request.” You posted there and accepted their rules and the accompanying risks of posting information which would naturally lead to your true identity. So, no, I don’t see any legal recourse for that. You want privacy on a message board? Be more careful with what you post there.

      I’m done dealing with you. I genuinely offered what help I could — telling you in advance that this is not my area of law — and you showed zero appreciation. Instead, you overreacted and turned what most people would consider a relatively minor annoyance into “the greatest injustice to have ever occurred.” Find someone else to complain to. Your comments aren’t welcome here any more.

  14. diane Battaglia says:

    I have a landlord tenant case in which the landlord through us out and kept EVERYTHING from our family of 4. No one will touch the case. Is it possible to get a law student to take it? Where do I turn next?

    • fl_litig8r says:

      Most counties have legal groups which provide free or low cost services to the poor. Either Google or look in your phone book for a “legal aid” group in your area. These groups handle landlord-tenant disputes as the majority of their claims, so you should be in good hands.

  15. Michael Nelson II says:

    In 2003-4 I submitted a hat design patent application to the USPTO. In 2006, after having the original application looked over and critiqued by a IP attorney, I was awarded ownership of the design patent. I established a brand and marketed my new product everywhere I possibly could. At one point my hat was even in one popular tv reality series episode on MTV. Things got slow. The economy worsened. My business virtually stopped operating. Then in ’09 it was brought to my attention that a Danish company was producing a hat “just like” mine. I spoke to some attorneys about it and they all shrunk back when they heard the company was in Denmark, but they felt strongly that the hat was infringing on my patent. This company is selling to the US and even claiming through implication that they are its creators. I can’t do anything without any dough…What’s up with that? Where can I get help?

    • fl_litig8r says:

      I don’t practice intellectual property law, so I don’t know what to say. Unless you can find an IP lawyer willing to take the case on a contingency fee, you can either come up with money to pay one hourly (obviously including a decent retainer) or let the matter drop. I doubt that there are too many pro bono IP lawyers out there. You might be able to get an affordable answer (maybe $40-$60) as to whether the matter is worth pursuing by asking an intellectual property lawyer on JustAnswer.

  16. Leslie Jonas says:

    Hi, I find this website really helpful, I wanted to know what can I do with my case. I been working for the same company for about 15 years, last year I was a victim of an accident. They told me that I was going to get paid for 2 years after the accident because it was not my fault, however it hasent been a year yet and they preten nothing is happening, the doctor told me that I can’t go back to work and that I need surgery but I don’t have the money to pay for my surgery and the company doesn’t want to respond for me. Also papers were altered they lied about my situation the good thing is that I have copies of every paper that they altered I have evidence for everything however I been seeking for a lawyer and they all say that it is a good case, but they don’t want to take it. What can I do about this?

    • fl_litig8r says:

      Was this an on-the-job injury, making it a workers compensation case? If so, then you should just keep looking for a workers comp lawyer — there are lots of them out there, and you don’t want to risk your statute of limitations running (don’t ask me what it is — I’m not a comp lawyer). Without knowing why these lawyers are rejecting your case, I can’t say how you can better sell it to another lawyer.

  17. Allan Knox says:

    Where can I find a lawyer to hire by the hour?

    • fl_litig8r says:

      To handle what kind of case? Personal injury? Is it that you’ve tried to find a lawyer to take it on a contingency with no luck, or do you just prefer an hourly rate?

  18. A.A Farley says:

    I worked for this compland for 33 years and I had to leave it for I had two 2 hip replacement. they said that there is no liabilty on there part , I work for the railroal as conductor and traiman switcherman the name of the compl CSXT RR

    • fl_litig8r says:

      Railroad workers are typically covered for workplace injuries under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA), which operates quite differently from state workers’ compensation laws. Under FELA, you have to prove that your injury was caused, at least in part, by the railroad’s negligence. It’s not enough that you just happened to suffer a workplace injury. However, damages available under FELA often far exceed those available under state workers’ comp laws — so there is something of a trade-off.

      You need to discuss this matter with a FELA lawyer (I’m not one, by the way) as soon as possible. If you’re having trouble finding a lawyer to tell you whether you might have a case, it may be that you just haven’t contacted the right kind of lawyer. Most workers’ comp lawyers won’t know FELA that well, so be sure you find one who does before accepting his advice.

  19. Jason Lachey says:


    First off I want to thank you for taking the time to provide a site that answers the myriad of questions that folks such as myself (personal injury victims) have been struggling to figure out.

    I am in a situation where I simply cannot find a lawyer that will take my case but I’m wondering if it’s more because I am an out of country client?

    My situation is I was recently in a MVA in the US (in a no-fault state). I am a Canadian citizen and this accident occurred while on vacation. I was a victim of a rear end collision where the other party admitted fault. He was travelling at around 70mph when he collided with my car which was at a full stop.

    I suffered severe whiplash and have been in pain since the day of the accident. I have missed work, spent 3-4 days a week with headaches, and accrued over a thousand dollars in medical bills out of pocket so far and it’s only been a month. The doctor diagnosed me with whiplash, nerve damage and reduced range of motion.

    Lawyers in my country (Canada) won’t take this case because they aren’t familiar with the State law where the accident occurred. Lawyers in the State where the accident occurred won’t take my case because I haven’t reached the $5000 tort threshold.

    The conundrum is I am unable to proceed with filing for PIP as the rental car company insurance (of the car I was using when the MVA occurred) wants me to sign a release of ALL my medical records. I have been in a similar type of accident about 5 years ago and recevied treatment and was on the mend. This recent accident has exacerbated my symptoms greatly and pretty much disabled me 40% of my work week. I haven’t signed this application because I wanted advice from a lawyer or someone to take on my case and act as a buffer. I don’t want the insurance company turning this on me and blaming my old accident. I feel like I’m not personally prepared to deal with that and don’t want to sign anything that would damage my case as I could be in pain for a long time for something that was not my fault. I’m stressed enough trying to pay the medical bills and getting treated ASAP to prevent chronicity of my symptoms.

    Are you able to provide any advice or suggestions on my course of action? I feel like I’m just sitting in limbo and putting my life on hold in order to support the payment for my medical treatments.

    Thanks so much

    • fl_litig8r says:

      With first-party insurance benefits, such as PIP insurance, typically your policy will contain what’s known as a “cooperation clause” which requires that you cooperate with them in processing your claim. Failure to provide them with a medical release would likely be considered a breach of the cooperation clause and allow them to deny you coverage. If it makes you feel any better, I always have my clients sign the insurer’s medical release for PIP claims. It’s really unavoidable. The same is true for release of work records if you make a wage loss claim.

      While I understand your concern about them denying your claim as a preexisting condition, they will definitely deny your claim if you don’t give them that release. If you give them the release and they do deny your claim, you have a pretty good shot at getting a lawyer to handle the PIP claim, as most states allow lawyers to recover attorney fees if they win on a PIP claim (and some, like Florida, can even multiply that fee award up to 2.5 times, making PIP cases pretty attractive even when they are for a small amount).

      As far as finding a lawyer for the liability claim, the fact that you have a whiplash injury (which is incredible from a 70mph collision) and only $1,000.00 in medical bills (is that your total medical, or just your out-of-pocket?) would make your case a pretty tough sell even if you were a local client. The fact that you’re in a different country makes it even less attractive, as long-distance representations can be a huge pain for lawyers. If your total bills are really more than the $1,000.00 you stated, and your doctor is willing to say that you suffered a permanent injury (i.e., you’ll never be at 100% of your pre-accident condition again), this is the information you should lead off with if you contact any other lawyers. If your total bills really are just $1,000.00, your case isn’t worth the cost of pursuing, either for the lawyer or yourself (as you will have to pay to travel back to the state for a deposition, mediation and trial if the case goes that far).

      If you can’t find a lawyer, you could always try to settle the case yourself. I wish you luck.

  20. hernando hernandez says:

    Hello, how are you?
    I was hit by a Police car that ran a stop sign while i was riding on my bicycle. the police car crushed the front end of my bike with its front tire and the impact sent me flying through the air and landed on the ground. I didnt move and the paramedics hauled me off to the E.R. where they just bandaged me up and sent me on my way, even though I felt like crap. As i was exiting the hospital, a police man handed me 2 tickets, 1 for running the stop sign and another for not having a light on my bike.. I got a lawyer which sent me to therapy, and i went for 3 months.. after making attempts to contact my lawyer, in time I started noticing that they were very disrespectful to me and even started hanging up on me.. I asked them for my file because I wanted to starta search for another lawyer and they refused to give it to me, after about 4 months of begging for my file, I finally got it and found another lawyer. After about 3 months of my (new) lawyer not answering any emails or calls, he called me out of the blue and saidthat they are dropping my case and hung up on me.. i dont get it.. I know i have a case. I have my file right now and just by browsing it i see I have atleast 6 or 7 thousand dollars in bills.. If any advice on how to go about this myself is available would be greatly appreciated since now, I can find a SINGLE SOUL that would take my case anymore and all of a sudden. thank you..

    • fl_litig8r says:

      I really wouldn’t recommend trying to handle a case like this on your own. Because you’re suing a local government agency, there’s a good chance that you need to deal with what’s known as a sovereign immunity statute. A sovereign immunity statute waives the government’s inherent immunity from being sued, usually only to a certain amount (often between $100,000.00-$200,000.00 per claimant). It often includes a notice requirement, meaning that you must formally notify the applicable agency (and possibly others, such as the Florida Department of Financial Services in Florida cases) within a certain time frame or you are barred from suing them. This notice period is often much shorter than the statute of limitations, so the first thing you need to do is figure out whether your state has such a notice requirement in its sovereign immunity statute, how long that notice period is, and whether either of your lawyers has already met that requirement — hopefully one of them covered this in his withdrawal letter. After formal notice of your intention to sue is made, there is often a waiting period (often several months) during which time you cannot sue — this is to give the agency a chance to review the claim and try to resolve it before incurring the cost of defending a lawsuit. In short, dealing with sovereign immunity issues makes a standard negligence case very dangerous for a lay person to handle on his own.

      Some sovereign immunity statutes also place a cap on attorney’s fees — for example, Florida’s limits attorney’s fees to 25%, making such cases less attractive for lawyers to take. This might be one of the reasons you are having a hard time finding a new lawyer. Another reason is that some lawyers just don’t like suing law enforcement agencies. I’ve never had a problem with it (I’ve also sued them for civil rights violations, which are far more serious allegations than negligence) and I’ve never had any issues with them trying to retaliate against me — some lawyers just don’t want to take that risk.

      As to your former lawyers hanging up on you, I can’t recall a time in my 16 years of practice when I’ve ever hung up on a client — though I’ve been tempted. Usually lawyers only do this if the client becomes abusive (e.g., cursing, accusing the lawyer of working for the other side), so if you’ve had a heated exchange of words with these lawyers, you can bet that most potential future lawyers will find out about it and not want to take you on as a client.

      A big concern in your particular case is the fact that you were ticketed for failing to yield for a stop sign. Did you fight this ticket and win? If you just paid it, regardless of your reason for doing so, it will make lawyers far less likely to take your case.

      If you fought your ticket and won, didn’t get verbally abusive with your former lawyers, and there’s still time to notify the government agency of your intention to sue, you should be able to find a lawyer willing to take your case. It’s just a numbers game — you need to call more lawyers. If you absolutely can’t find a lawyer, I have strong doubts as to whether you’ll be able to make any recovery on your own. It’s clear that the police intend to dispute liability (fault), so it’s unlikely they’ll want to settle quickly (or at all) if you don’t have a lawyer.

  21. Kim says:

    I was in an accident 16 months ago. My friend and I were in a parking lot, she was trying to leave to go home (45 miles away.) I told her she couldn’t leave because she had been drinking. I was standing next to a glass window and she was talking to a couple of guys who were trying to get the keys away, when out of nowhere she jumped on me and we both went crashing through the window of the building I was standing next to. The window was not safety glass and when it broke instead of shattering it sharded, which in turn severed my leg almost completely off. A helicopter was called and I was airlifted to the hospital 60 miles away where doctors wanted to amputate my leg from the knee down. They were able to save my leg, but I was in the hospital for a month, in a wheelchair for 7 months, (Dr’s said I would never walk again.) I’ve had 15 surgeries on my leg since then.

    I have an attorney who is going after the building owners, (the glass was not up to safety code) and trying to get me disability. At the beginning of the case, the insurance company offered me $100,000 for an at fault settlement which we denied. My medical bills are close to $1 million. Fast forward 16 months. I’m finally out of my wheelchair, able to drive (was my right leg) and feel that I can now make it in the workforce. I’ve attempted 2 jobs in the past 4 months and been “fired.” Of course its not because of my disability its always some other excuse. My Pain Management doctor prescribes me morphine. I have to take a large amount of morphine twice a day. It makes me loopy and tired and if I don’t take it I go through withdrawals and we have been weening off of it for the past 4 months this coupled with me having a hard time sleeping (never had a problem before) makes me tired all the time. I know these things can take some time, but I’ve been denied disability twice. My attorney says that we will have to go to trial to get disability.

    Next lets go back to the insurance company. My attorney called me this morning and stated that the insurance company offered me $10k for non liability payoff. He knows I’m hurting for money because I can’t keep a job, I have 3 kids and I live with my parents. He suggested that I take the $10k and he can still sue them for liability and they’ll just take the $10k out of the settlement.

    He stated he made them an offer over the phone. He told me 2 weeks ago he was seeking $2 million, but when I asked what he offered he won’t tell me. He claims that he sent me the offer like I requested, but I never received it. I need the money, but I don’t want to accept this offer and not be able to pursue the case further or delay it further. It has been going on for 18 months and I want to finish it as soon as possible.

    Can you tell me if this is legit? Will it impede my case? What can I do to speed things up with disability and this case?


    • fl_litig8r says:

      It sounds like the business had $10,000.00 in Med Pay coverage. If that’s the case, you can accept it without it affecting your liability claim at all. This is pretty common. Just confirm with your lawyer that this is Med Pay coverage, and you can accept it without worry.

      As for your disability claim, it sounds like you were denied social security benefits upon your original application, and again on reconsideration (also pretty common). Now you’re just waiting for a hearing before an administrative law judge, which usually takes a very long time (often more than a year after being denied on reconsideration). Getting your ALJ hearing expedited requires that you have a “dire need”, as discussed in this article. Unless you meet the “dire need” criteria, you’re just going to have to wait until you get notice that you’re hearing has been set, as there’s nothing your lawyer can do to speed things up.

  22. trafficjon400 says:

    hi litiq8r’. that was wow. well hell’ i’m prob-a suck of a client for a lawyer but not sure. i’m trying to sue dorr- publish co for sell’g my brothers wi is the auther for rit’ng about me no permision by me.
    his book says my sex life and how emotionless i was when i was
    a kid. i never realy trusted my brother that much and after the book
    i won’t now. i try to aterny’s already they tell me differ’nt from another. sorry bout my type. i will say more please help thanks much

    • fl_litig8r says:

      You’re pretty tough to understand, but I think you’re saying that your brother wrote a book that included parts about you which are unflattering and allegedly untrue, and you want to sue his publisher. First, the fact that your brother didn’t get your permission to include you in his book isn’t something you can sue over. Your permission is not required. Second, if your brother published this book as non-fiction and lied about your behavior in it, you might have a libel case. Libel will only apply to statements he made as fact, and not as to his opinions. So, if it was his opinion that you seemed “emotionless” as a child and he wrote that, it isn’t libel. If he wrote about false factual events — like, say he wrote that you liked to frequent prostitutes — that could be the basis of a libel claim.

      Of course, whether you can find a lawyer willing to take your case is another matter — as a general rule, plaintiff’s lawyers hate libel cases unless their clients have suffered serious financial injury due to the alleged libel. While certain types of false statements are considered libel per se, meaning that they are presumed to have caused you damages (such as an allegation of criminal conduct), even in those types of cases it won’t be worth it for a lawyer to get involved unless you can show real financial harm from the libel.

      So, even assuming that your brother’s book contains libelous statements, and not mere opinions, you’re going to have a hard time finding a lawyer who will take your case unless you can show how you have been damaged financially (e.g., lost job opportunities) from these statements.

  23. small potatoes says:

    Thank you so much for creating this website and extra thanks for explaining why lawyers won’t take my case! My slip and fall case suffers from the “damages problem”. I slipped in a puddle surrounding a clogged drain on the floor of a big box store’s restroom. My feet flew forward and my hand went back to break the fall. I felt a stab of pain in my fingers and wrist. The force of fall even tore the sole of my shoe in half. There were witnesses present, 2 of them went to get help from a manager. The knuckles on the injured hand were visibly swelling when the manager arrived to take a report. I didn’t ask for a copy of the report because I didn’t know that I would need it. I did take pictures of the floor and the sole of the torn shoe. The manger said I would hear from Corporate in a few days.

    Corp said they needed to confirm the details of the report and asked what I wanted as compensation. I said they should cover my medical expenses and replace my shoe at the very least. They asked for a number and I gave them the amount of my PT co-pays and a guess at how much the shoes cost. They sent me an offer letter for a few hundred dollars to cover shoes + co-pays and included a paragraph on notifying them in the event medi-cal wanted reimbursement.

    Red flags went up when I noticed that my husband would have to sign the release, since I never mentioned I was married, and that my insurance might be entitled to reimbursement. I presented my case to 5 attorneys, all declined, so here I am. I suspect they declined because:
    I have been a full-time homemaker (unemployed) since 11.23.12
    I don’t collect disability or unemployment.
    I injured the same hand to a lesser extent prior to this incident.
    X-rays taken after each fall show no broken bones.
    General practitioner and Occupational M.D. both diagnosed condition as “soft tissue” injury to hand, wrist, and forearm.

    I have an MRI scheduled for next week, to see if there is evidence of ligament damage, but the rehab period is still going to be 6-12 months. I am licensed in a field that relies entirely on hand strength and dexterity, so I can’t even look for a job until I have completely healed.

    How do I proceed? Keep calling attorneys? I’d rather not handle it myself, but if I must, do I start off asking for an amount that covers the full cost of all medical treatments since the fall (my co-pay and the insurances portion), the shoe replacement, and pain/suffering equal to 1.5-5x the medical bills?

    Sorry for the lengthiness of this post, but I’m at my wits end!

    • fl_litig8r says:

      The store asking your husband for a release as well is pretty standard in any case that has a potential loss of consortium claim, so that’s not really a big concern. Their attempt to dodge the likely reimbursement to Medi-Cal is troublesome, as I suspect that you do owe reimbursement and they’re just hoping that you don’t notify Medi-Cal so they don’t have to pay it. Before you negotiate any further, I’d contact Medi-Cal and find out the amount of the lien they will assert.

      Don’t expect the store to offer a lot in pain and suffering or future wage loss based on the claim that you would have tried to find work during the rehab period, unless you already started to look for a job prior to the accident and can prove it (along with proving that your injury actually prevents you from doing this job). Because you’re probably not going to be able to find a lawyer to take this case, unless the MRI reveals something really unusual, you’d be lucky if they offered you anything above token pain and suffering damages. They know what kind of cases lawyers won’t take, and you can bet that without the threat of a lawsuit behind your demands, they aren’t going to be eager to make you happy.

      I hate to sound discouraging, but if they offer to pay your out-of-pocket expenses and medical liens, along with some small amount for pain and suffering, that’s probably the best you can expect to get from this injury (again, assuming the MRI doesn’t reveal anything special).

      I’d wait to hear their first real offer (after they agree to pay the Medi-Cal lien) before trying again to hire a lawyer. Even if a lawyer does take your case, in its current state, he may wind up getting you less than you could have gotten on your own — it just doesn’t sound like you have a whole lot to work with. A soft tissue injury to a hand that had a pre-existing condition, with no objective evidence of a serious injury or aggravation, isn’t going to be worth very much. I really doubt that you could get pain and suffering equal to 1x your medical bills (especially after the cost of an MRI is added) from such a claim.

      Without something serious showing up on that MRI, take what you can get — but be sure that the Medi-Cal lien is taken care of. Don’t let them BS you into thinking that it’s in your best interest to not notify Medi-Cal.

  24. small potatoes says:

    Finally! An honest and simple answer. Your website is amazing and I can’t thank you enough for your insight. I was also troubled by the negotiating agent’s failure to mention the possibility of subrogation, but did not realize how serious its implications were until now. I tried to find some information on what insurance adjusters were legally required to disclose and came across this on the California Department of Insurance website:

    Fair Claims Settlement Practices Regulations
    California Code of Regulations
    Title 10, Chapter 5
    Subchapter 7.5
    (Approved by OAL and Filed with Secretary of State 12/31/12. Per 2695.14: Compliance Date: 3/30/13)
    Table of Contents – Fair Claims Settlement Practices
    Section Number Section Title
    Section 2695.7 Standards for Prompt, Fair and Equitable

    Section 2695.7. Standards for Prompt, Fair and Equitable Settlements
    (g) No insurer shall attempt to settle a claim by making a settlement offer that is unreasonably low. The Commissioner shall consider any admissible evidence offered regarding the following factors in determining whether or not a settlement offer is unreasonably low:
    (6) the extent to which the insurer considered the probable liability of the insured and the likely jury verdict or other final determination of the matter;
    (7) any other credible evidence presented to the Commissioner that demonstrates that (i) any amount offered by the insurer in settlement of a first-party claim to an insured not represented by counsel, or (ii) the final amount offered in settlement of a first-party claim to an insured who is represented by counsel or (iii) the final amount offered in settlement of a third party claim by the insurer is below the amount that a reasonable person with knowledge of the facts and circumstances would have offered in settlement of the claim.

    I feel like the representative I spoke to violated this regulation, (along with a few others). If so, it just reinforces my belief that attempting to settle myself will result in a decidedly unfair and inequitable settlement. Does the Insurance Company’s initial attempt at railroading me make my case any more attractive to counsel? Does it give me any leverage at securing a higher settlement?

    Thanks again!

    • fl_litig8r says:

      Be careful doing your own research. The section you quote above refers to “first party” insurance claims (claims that your own insurer pays). You have a “third party” claim (a claim against someone else’s insurer), not a first party claim.

      While I wouldn’t go citing statutes or regulations to the insurer (because you could show that you don’t exactly know what you’re talking about), I think that a threat of notifying the state Department of Insurance (assuming this is not a self-insured store) and/or Medi-Cal itself of their thinly-veiled attempt to avoid Medi-Cal’s subrogation rights might motivate them to cut the BS and start with an offer that at least covers your lien and out-of-pockets. I’m sure that the letter they sent you was a form letter, meaning that they’ve tried to dodge Medi-Cal’s subrogation claims with others as well — they may not want this looked into.

  25. marie says:

    i was in a car accident on 2010 i had an attorny for this case but Iam not sure what happened nd why she didnt pursue I didnt even know i didnt have a lawyer anymore until now that i received a paper in the mail from the other person attorney on the other vehicle. My father’s insurance called me and said they just received the letter also stating that i owe 99000 to the plaintiff for my negligence. The insurance told me they closed the case back in 2010 since the other driver was at fault and they never received any letter in the mail of me getting sued or any call from the plaintiff’s attorney and the attorney never contacted me about the case.On the letter it says that this decition was made on april of this year but i was never notified of anything or to go to court or that I failed to go to court.

    I am sorry but i just don’t know what to do I am a single mother of 2 I get no help from the father and barelly making it i just lost my job have lil money in the bank and I am affraid they will garnish what lil i have since I am not even close to having 99000. please give any advise would help

    • fl_litig8r says:

      If they didn’t serve you with a summons and the complaint after filing their lawsuit, your insurer from back then should still assign you a defense attorney to try to have this judgment set aside (I assume that it is a default judgment). If you never got served and your insurer leaves you hung out to dry, it is likely committing bad faith. You should pressure your insurer to re-open this claim and assign you a lawyer to have this judgment set aside.

  26. Kathy Brack says:

    Hi, Thanks for being here! We have a small Wellness Ctr., massage, skin care, colon hydrotherapy, treating many disabled seriously injured & local clients for simple pulled muscles, etc. Also, treat a number of disabled souls for 0, to improve the quality of their lives. We have a PIP current case, the lady was broadsided while stopped, the other person was at fault we are told. The Ins. Co. covered their respective amounts. Her lawyer gave us a LOP, BUT he now faxed us a letter saying after $7thous. + in multifacted massage, stretching, infrared treatments that they are dropping the case. We suggested she get a new lawyer. This patient does not have the ability to pay her bill with us, she is a single parent, etc., etc. When she began treatments she was driven here, was unable to work for months and has had significant success, but remains in need of treatments as her conditions flare up. The Chrop. also is in the same predicament, we are both two indiv. small businesses without backing for lawyers. But, then what do we do? Thanks for your kind attention and personal time and efforts. We struggle to keep ourselves afloat as it is. From Kathy n Wayne in our small 2 person office.

    • fl_litig8r says:

      I’m a bit confused as to why you were treating under an LOP as opposed to submitting bills to the PIP carrier? Did PIP deny the claim? Was PIP exhausted by other providers? If PIP was exhausted, then there’s not a whole lot you can do other than hope the client finds another lawyer to take her case — if there isn’t one willing to take her case, then it’s unlikely you’d be able to find one even if you were able to arrange an assignment of the claim from the client.

      If this is a PIP claim that was denied, and there are still benefits available, you could always sue in small claims court (capped at $5,000.00, but better than nothing). In Florida, you need to give the insurer a special notice before suing for denied PIP benefits, and give it 21 days to pay up after the notice. But after that, you can sue.

      If all that’s left is a liability claim against the other driver’s insurer, you’d need to know why the lawyer dropped the claim for me to give you any odds of ever making a recovery. If the other driver didn’t have BI insurance, and your client had no UM insurance, your odds are practically zero. If the lawyer had some other reason for dropping the case, there may still be a chance.

  27. Craig (last name removed by Admin) says:

    If you could please answer a few questions on this:
    My Wife had a “routine “hysterectomy last year. She had problems from the start, ie.mesh protruding from the base of the vagina, constant vaginal pain, and a MRSA infection that lasted three months,we suppose she got from the Hospital, (or Dr., nurses, techs, et al). She tested negative for MRSA before surgery and was diagnosed w/ the infection one week after release from hospital. She had corrective surgery from another Urogynecologist who also found and removed “unattached mesh” from her body. The doctor who attempted the corrective surgery stated there was not enough tissue left to reconstruct her vagina. The first doctor, essentially, removed my Wife’s vagina, (it’s only 2 inches deep). Consequently, we haven’t been able to have intercourse since before the first surgery. After being advised by the second doctor to see an attorney, we began searching for a Med Mal lawyer. The lawyer we found, from a small firm, looked at the medical records and said our case had merit. Two weeks later, we met him at his office and he said, “the doctor’s insurance is only $250,000, that’s not enough”. He then went on to explain that all the doctor’s assets,- houses, cars, boats, etc. -were in his daughter and son-in-laws names. He suggested we not sue the doctor and, instead go after the Mesh manufacturer. We’re now involved in a product liability MDL suit against the manufacturer that , at last count, had 3600+ Plaintiffs. My questions are:
    1. How do we find an attorney that will sue the first doctor? (All the law firms we spoke with in Pensacola, FL, including the lawyer we retained, are involved in the BP suit where they are anticipating receiving millions in fees. We were actually told by one attorney that if this would’ve happened before the oil spill he would have “jumped all over it”. Now it seems to my Wife and I, like it’s just not economically feasible for any local lawyers to pursue the case).
    2. What is the difference between a Multidistrict Litigation and Class Action suit? (With the number of Plaintiffs involved in the MDL, we believe the chances of being awarded a suitable judgment are pretty slight. We want to get out of the Product Liability suit……..if we can find a Med Mal lawyer to go after the original Doctor).
    Thank you for your time and insight and sorry for the length of this post!

    • fl_litig8r says:

      1. The only way to find a lawyer in this type of environment is to keep making calls, possibly expanding your search to neighboring cities, such as Tallahassee, if you can’t find anyone locally. You may be better served speaking with smaller firms (or solo practitioners), who would be less likely to be involved in the BP litigation — even though you struck out with a small firm already, I still think it is your best bet. The attorneys with the big ad budgets aren’t necessarily the best in the area, or the best for your particular type of case (or one that may not be worth enough for a larger firm to handle). It may be time to break out the phone book and look for the med mal lawyers with the smaller ads. You could also talk to other personal injury lawyers that don’t advertise specifically for med mal. Just make sure they’ve done some med mal cases before — you don’t want to be their guinea pig.

      2. There are a number of differences between MDL cases and class actions. Really, the only thing they have in common is that the underlying cases have similar underlying issues which warrant them being managed by one court. MDL cases remain separate lawsuits, and only the discovery phase and motion phase (up to summary judgment) are handled by the MDL-assigned court. If an MDL case survives summary judgment, it is transferred back to the originating court for trial. Each MDL case is governed by the law of the state from which the case arose, so you could have inconsistent rulings even in the MDL court between cases from different states. By contrast, class actions are treated as a single lawsuit for all the plaintiffs from beginning to end, with only representative plaintiffs participating at trial. In that respect, MDL plaintiffs get far more individualized treatment should the case ever go to trial. Of course, MDL plaintiffs tend to have less in common (at least as far as injuries) than class action plaintiffs, so this individualized treatment is necessary.

  28. Lucy says:

    I was hoping you could offer some advise. I have been employed with a company for over 10 years and filed a complaint a couple months ago regarding. The complaint process goes through a third party and then they send it over to the company. It was an ethics complaint and a valid one. A few weeks later I was called to HR. The ethics complaint is anonymous and I didn’t think one had to do with the other. That was until they said due to some other ethics complaints they were able to identify who had submitted a complaint by reviewing electronic messaging for the last couple months. I did not mention I had filed a complaint and the questions seemed irrelevant to everything I listed in my original complaint. I asked if a complaint had been filed on me and she said nope just getting some additional info since my name came up a lot. I left there thinking nothing of it until 3 weeks later when I was called down again. This time she present me with copies of my electronic communication and asking me to explain. I said ok what’s up am I under investigation have accusations been made against me and if not why was my communications being reviewed. She said no just your name has just came up a lot but look what we found. She then shows me bits and pieces of various conversations taken completely out of context. I explained and said would really need the rest of the conversation to tell her what it meant and was told this was just the concerning parts of it and the rest not relevant. I said am I going to lose my job for this crap and she said investigation on going but yes I would either be given final warning or terminated within a week. A week passes get told would know within another week and shown some more conversations glued together. Aside from the fact this entire situation is ridiculous the waiting is mentally exhausting. But I decided to speak with an attorney see if any of this is adding up to him. While discussing the situation he is asking questions about the work I personally do (mortgage foreclosure) and some of our business practices since all ties in with the communications they are trying to hold against me. He quickly deduces that the company is violating some of the terms they agreed to in last years national mortgage settlement and yes I reported some of these things in the original ethics complaint I submitted. So here’s my question I’m supposed to find out if have job later this week should I tell them spoke with attorney and he agreed the company is in violation of some guidelines? Should I wait see what happens try to file wrongful termination suit in fired? Should I see what happens and file false claims suit for their disregard of illegal practices? I feel like no matter what I do right now it’s going to seem like I’m sme sort of scorned and vengeful employee but I have never been wrote up and receive the best annual and monthly evaluations possible. I feel bad about questioning their ethics and I never would have sought out legal advise had they not questioned mine. Thoughts?

    • fl_litig8r says:

      Well, it sounds like they’ve already made up their mind to fire you, so you can pretty much assume that’s what’s going to happen if you wait and see. Of course, threatening them will likely only delay the process until they feel that they’ve bided their time long enough to avoid a retaliation claim. At this point, I would (if you haven’t already) ask the lawyer you spoke with whether you have done all that is required to preserve a possible whistleblower claim or False Claims Act claim. I’m not very well versed in either of these, so asking me won’t do you much good. I do know that there are often technical requirements regarding the manner in which complaints need to be made, and to whom, to preserve claims of this nature. You want to make sure you’ve complained properly and to the right people (perhaps outside agencies need to be informed if you’re talking about a False Claims Act case) before they terminate you.

  29. Anne says:

    Like your website…but I NEED a question or two answered quickly.
    What kind of Lien does an attorney send to an Insurance Company when he “elects” to drop a case that He never worked on more than 2 weeks and did not want to go to court? DOES THAT LIEN NEED TO BE RECORDED WITH THE COUNTRY RECORDER TO BE VALID? THIS IS URGENT PLEASE ANSWER THANKS

    • fl_litig8r says:

      A retaining lien would not require the attorney to notify any third party, as it only applies to the client’s property that is already within the lawyer’s possession (such as your case file), so I would assume that this lawyer is asserting a charging lien. If a lawyer dropped a case without good cause (a client refusing to settle for a recommended amount will not be good cause), he should not try to claim a charging lien unless he is only seeking repayment of costs (and his fee agreement specifies that you owe these costs even if he withdraws), as a withdrawal without good cause waives his right to fees.

      The lien would not have to be recorded with the county to be enforceable. Typically, if a lawsuit has already been filed, a lawyer will simply file a notice of his lien within the lawsuit itself, which notifies all parties and lawyers involved of the lien. If a lawsuit hasn’t been filed, then notifying the defendant’s insurer (and plaintiff’s new lawyer, if there is one) is the traditional way of asserting the lien.

      While the assertion of such a lien does not prevent you settling the case (you still retain full control over the settlement amount), an insurer who believes that the lien may be valid might pay the settlement money to the court in what’s known as an interpleader action. In an interpleader action, a party (the insurer, in this case) who isn’t sure who should be paid settlement money pays the money to the court, where the parties disputing ownership of the funds then fight amongst each other to tell the court how it should be divided. Here is where a dispute over whether the attorney had good cause to withdraw will be decided, if fees are at issue, and whether the lawyer’s contract allows him to recover costs under these circumstances, if costs are the issue.

      If you believe that the lawyer withdrew without good cause and is asserting a right to a fee or costs to which he is not entitled, this could be grounds for a bar complaint.

  30. Amy says:

    Thank you for the service you provide. It is of great help.
    On February 16, 2012, I was shopping at a strip mall. I walked out of one store, put some purchases in my vehicle and headed for another store. As I rounded the corner, I was looking up. I don’t normally look at the ground when I walk. Or at least I didn’t then. I felt my foot hit something hard and I fell on my right hip.
    There was a lady nearby who came over to ask if I was alright. At that point, I thought the only thing hurt was my pride. I told her I was fine and she left. I got up and continued to shop. Within the hour, I was having trouble walking.
    I did not inspect the sidewalk at that time because I was in pain and wanted to get help. My medical doctor could not see me that day, so I went to a chiropractor that day. I was advised to file a report, which I did, with the manager of one of the stores.
    The chiropractor ordered an MRI, which showed cervical spine issues. The chiropractor told me that I had issues anyway, but that the fall had made them worse. He also advised me that if I didn’t get appropriate treatment, I would become disabled at some point.
    I had a back injury in 1992, but had been able to live with it through chiropractic treatments and exercise. That’s why I chose to go to the chiropractor on this day.
    Also, during one of the treatments, I developed an abdominal hernia. That further complicated the issue.
    My previous injury had been a bulging lumbar disc. I had never been aware of any cervical spine involvement.
    At that time, I had to pay out several hundred dollars in co-pays. About the same time I lost my health insurance and therefore had to stop treatment.
    I am a business owner, and was building a business at that time. Since then, I have become increasingly unable to work on my computer. The pain has become more severe, and had gradually impeded on my life.
    A friend of mine later took pictures of the concrete. There is an elevation at the corner that you need to look at from a certain angle to see. I would not have seen it even if I had been looking down.
    I suspect that my fall was not the only one. I had made a report with one of the store managers. When I made a follow up call, the manager asked, “Now which fall were you again?”
    I have yet been unable to get an attorney to take my case.
    I’m not sure what to do. There is no part of my life that has not been affected by this. I live with severe pain each day. I have no health insurance and am unable to see a doctor. I have had to resort to taking illegal drugs, and am afraid I am going to get addicted.
    Between the back and the hernia, I am not able to exercise, except to swim. However, my ability to work and produce income has all but been obliterated. Thus I can’t afford a gym membership.
    I have had someone tell me to file a civil suit, but do not have the funds for a retainer.
    DO you have any suggestions? Thanks once again.

    • fl_litig8r says:

      I’m not going to lie. Your case has a lot of problems with it that will deter most lawyers. There’s a possible liability defense (open and obvious condition), preexisting conditions which cast serious doubt as to causation of the injuries, self-employment (which always makes proving wage loss 10x harder), and what sounds like mostly, if not entirely, chiropractic treatment, which itself was stopped due to lack of funds/insurance. In short, you’ve covered nearly every problem area a case can have.

      The only suggestion I have is to keep calling around to see if any lawyers will take your case. It’s just a numbers game at this point. Expect most to not be interested, but you only need one to say yes. You may have better luck targeting smaller firms or solo practitioners, and those firms that don’t spend a lot on ads. While you could try putting together a demand yourself, I really wouldn’t suggest it with such a problematic case.

      Sorry I don’t have better news, but many lawyers won’t tell you specifically why they won’t take your case and I thought you should know.

  31. Annie says:

    I just search online and found your site and i really find this is helpful. I just have some questions about my husband accident on 2011, he was a semi-truck driver, and he almost died and he still recovery from it until now.
    what I want ask is he is the driver, and on police report did not say he at fault for it, since he is the one have serious injury, in this case, will we can expect a good number of settlement? he is not be able to full recover from the injury, he is permanent disabled.
    we do have a lawyer for our case which the lawyer found us offered to took case and wont charge us unless we receive something, Is this means our case is “strong”? most likely we going to get something back?
    Thanks for take your time read my question, and like on facebook(+1)

    The other question is even if we do get money, after paid lawyer, do we have to pay insure company back? he had 1 mil clam and its all gone now.

    thanks for your time.


    • fl_litig8r says:

      Whether your husband has a good case depends on a number of factors. While the accident report didn’t list him as being at fault, did it list the other driver as being at fault (I’m assuming this is a collision with another vehicle)? Your husband still has to prove the fault of the other driver, and his own lack of fault (if the other driver accuses your husband of being either totally or partially at fault), regardless of what the police report says. It also depends on whether your husband had any preexisting conditions or whether all of his injuries can clearly be attributed to this accident. The amount of liability insurance the other driver had is also a huge issue. As I discuss in this article, there are many factors that affect the value of a case. I can’t tell you how much your husband’s is worth just based on bare bones information given over the Internet.

      Don’t read anything into the fact that the lawyer took your case on a contingency basis. Nearly all personal injury claims in the U.S. are handled this way. All it means is that his case appeared good enough for one lawyer to pursue it.

      The bottom line is that your husband may have a great case or a not-so-great case. This is something you should ask his lawyer directly. Don’t be shy about asking things like this. His lawyer may not be able to say how good the case is at this point, depending on the types of records he’s received so far, but he should know at least how strong it looks from a liability (fault) standpoint, and, depending on whether liability insurers in your state are required to disclose policy limits, he could know if the at-fault driver has enough coverage to pay for your husband’s injuries.

      As to your last question, if you’re asking whether your husband has to pay his health insurer back, the answer is “probably yes” — but you should read this article, as the issues involving repayment of health insurers are pretty complicated.

  32. Jason says:


    First let me say that I love this site, you’re giving real help and quality answers to people who need it.
    I’m also having problems finding a lawyer to take my case, maybe I don’t have one yet.
    My concern is that I injured my thumb outside of work. Went to my doctor, X-rays good MRI showed tendonitis. They eventually put me in a cast to “rest” the wrist so it would heal and the swelling would go away. I have a manual labor job and I’m unable to work with a cast, so I missed two months of work. I do have disability which only pays 60% of my income. When the cast was removed the swelling was gone but I couldn’t move my hand without extreme pain. I said that I never had an issue moving it before it was just swollen and painful. They told me that would subside, it never did. I was then sent to Physical Therapy who told me I had tendonitis? Imagine my surprise when after having a cast for two months being told I still have tendonitis. So I went for another opinion form a hand specialist who gave me a cortisone shot and sent me back to work. Needless to say within six months my wrist started to swell up again and my range of motion never increased. Went back to the specialist who sent me in for additional testing, they found a “new” issue that wasn’t there before which required surgery to repair. I was not fond of the idea of surgery from the beginning. It has now been seven months after surgery with four months of physical therapy and the swelling is gone. I’m not working so there is very little stress or impact being put on my wrist. I still have not increased range of motion and have limited strength. My surgeon is trying to send me back to work but I refuse to be put back in a doomed situation like last time. I don’t feel that I’m any better now than I was after the cast was removed over a year ago. I have seen another hand specialist inside the network, he thinks I just need more time to heal. My physical therapist doesn’t know why my wrist is so tight even after repeatedly heating and stretching. There is not another surgical procedure to help regain my range of motion so my surgeon doesn’t know what else to do(my opinion). I have an appointment with the premier hand clinic in my area, I’m going to pay out of pocket for yet another opinion. Regardless of their diagnosis I think I’m going to need some legal help for any additional care for my issue. All told it has been almost two years since it happened, I have now missed nine months of work and thousands of dollars of medical bills. Misdiagnosis? Unnecessary procedures? I hope I didn’t bore or run on to much with this… What do you think?

    • fl_litig8r says:

      To be honest, I’m not really seeing a lawsuit here. I doubt that a jury would fault a doctor for suspecting tendonitis and treating it conservatively at first based on the complaints and MRI (unless there is something obvious he missed on the MRI, which you’d need another doctor to swear to). It’s not med mal if a doctor fails to heal you, as long as he followed the standard of care for treating such injuries. After all that treatment and a surgery on top, with more than one doctor having evaluated you, it seems that they’re still puzzled by what’s causing your problem. Until you know what the real problem is, I can’t see how make a case for them having missed it. Maybe something will develop that will make the cause for your condition more apparent, or maybe a new doctor will see what the problem is. Unless or until that happens, I don’t really see a case here.

      • Jason says:

        I understand that because he technically didn’t do anything wrong that there really isn’t anything I can do. But from my point of view it’s been two years total time, 20K in insurance premiums, 10k in surgery and co-pays and almost 40k in lost wages.
        I’m an auto technician by trade. If I spent that kind of time and money working on a vehicle and not fix it, I would be on the 7 o’clock news for fraud or shady mechanic warning. If I even put the most likely causal part on a vehicle and it doesn’t fix the car, then I have to call you for another $500 for more parts. It would be the end of the world!!! Car technology changes every 6 months, the human body does NOT change but it’s OK for doctors to get it wrong all the time? That just doesn’t seem right to me.

        So I finally had my appointment with the outside of my network specialist, paid $250 out of pocket for this. He found three issues with my wrist. I don’t know what I should do now? My doctor wants to send me back to work when I have two (in network) physical therapists that think I have additional issues with my wrist. But now a highly accredited hand specialist found issues. These guys are frequently used for malpractice cases, they even teach techniques at one of the nations top hospitals. One issue he hopes can be fixed with a special splint, one needs surgery to fix. The last he’s not quite sure yet because of the severity of the other two issues. He suggests taking care of the other two first and then reevaluating after they are corrected. I’m not going to let the guy who can’t figure it out whats wrong operate on me. What to do? Rock and Hard place?

        • fl_litig8r says:

          You didn’t seriously just compare the complexity of an automobile with that of the human body, did you? Let’s be fair, here. A car can be completely dismantled, tested and put back together if need be, replacing whatever parts are malfunctioning. Not so with our bodies. If doctors could cut us open and pull us apart to find out what’s wrong with us without causing injury, your analogy might work, but there are limits to current medical diagnostic techniques that you don’t find in the world of mechanical device repair.

          Did you ask your new doctor how your diagnosis may have been missed by the others? While many doctors won’t be willing to casually tell patients when their prior doctors committed malpractice, some will. That’s not to assume that this current doctor is right — he could be a total quack and his treatments may not work at all — there’s only one way to find out. While I understand your reluctance to have the other doctor operate on you, that may not even be an issue, depending on how you respond to the proposed conservative treatments. He may not even be willing to perform the operation suggested by the new specialist, or may disagree that it would help. In that case, you would likely need to litigate the issue of whether the new operation is reasonable and medically necessary.

  33. Jason says:

    I enjoyed the article, and I believe I am in a situation that most lawyers don’t want any part of. I’ll explain in a short version, as my case spans about 8 months. I was in an auto accident in 2005, and subsequently had reconstructive surgery on my leg and ankle. Earlier this year I sought medical treatment, as I have been living in so much pain all these years and it was taking a toll on my quality of life. The orthopedic surgeon informed me I was a candidate for an ankle replacement. The other options were to fuse my ankle or amputate, but the doctor assured me the replacement was the correct way to go. After a few weeks I just couldn’t live with the pain anymore, and decided to have the surgery. The doctor, and her office assured me numerous times that they would handle contacting my insurance, get all the approvals, and that I needed to do nothing. I even made inquiries about how much it was going to cost me out of pocket, and was given a figure that I could live with. At my pre-op appointment, 3 days before surgery, I once again asked if they had approvals and they said that they did and everything was good to go. I had the surgery, and as I was recovering in the hospital, the doctor informed me that my insurance had denied coverage just a few hours prior to the surgery. My doctor once again assured me that her and her colleagues would make all the appeals, and get this straightened out. I trusted them, and now all appeals have been exhausted and the denial upheld. I am not stuck with medical bills well over 100k that are now in collections due to the appeals taking so long, and they are going to force my wife and I to file bankruptcy and shatter any chances of buying a home in the near future. To top it off, once the final appeal was denied the doctor has severed all contact with me and never gave me a reason, and I feel like I’ve been abandoned. I would have never had this procedure done had I known it wasn’t covered, but I was duped into believing and trusting my doctors office. I believe I could have a case a detrimental reliance, but have yet had any lawyer that would even return my calls. I’m at a loss on what to do.

    • fl_litig8r says:

      I think you may have a better shot at suing your health insurer than the doctor’s office. You should consult with an attorney who handles health insurance claims — if your insurance was through your employer, make sure this is an attorney who handles ERISA claims. There aren’t a whole lot of lawyers who handle these kinds of cases, so you may have to broaden your search outside of your immediate geographical area. I’m concerned that your doctor’s office handled the appeals, as typically ERISA plans require the insured to appeal any denials, and failure to do so may bar your claim. These kinds of cases aren’t easy, but if your insurer had previously represented to your doctor that the claim would be covered before pulling out the rug several hours before surgery, it sounds like the denial may be questionable.

      The main reason I recommend pursuing the health insurer, as opposed to the doctor, is that your lawyer has a way of making money by suing the insurer — if he wins, the court will award attorney’s fees. There is no way for your lawyer to make a recovery by suing the doctor, as a win just gets your bill erased — this is basically a contract dispute, so noneconomic damages likely wouldn’t be possible. You’d have to pay a lawyer an hourly fee to take such a case against the doctor, and it would likely take way more time and money (with no guarantee of victory) than you’d want to accept.

  34. Carolyn says:

    What a great site! I wish that I had found it before. I had surgery three years ago, which resulted in ongoing issues after I needed an emergency debridement after the surgery, due to infection and necrotic tissue.My doctor admitted that she would have given me prophylactic antibiotics if she “had to do it over again” as I am Diabetic. I hired an attorney, who immediately sent me a contract to sign, but when speaking to him on the phone, he misused some medical terminology, which made me want to get a second opinion from another attorney before I signed it.I think that I hurt his feelings, because after the second opinion(who didn’t want to be my lawyers), the first attorney(who had already sent me a contract), refused my case.The second attorney’s informed me that my case would cost too much to pursue.Should I give up , or keep trying? Can I send the doctor a letter and act as my own attorney? I went over every single medical record and found a tremendous amount of mistakes and discrepancies.My doctor reported many times that I had PT, when I had not, just for one instance.At least I have learned to always check my records to make sure that they are correct.Thank you so much.

    • fl_litig8r says:

      I would keep trying to find a lawyer, because realistically you have little hope of making a recovery in a medical malpractice case without one. Many states require that you provide the doctor with an affidavit from another doctor attesting to his belief that malpractice occurred before you can even file a lawsuit. Obviously, that costs a good deal of money in and of itself, and most lay people would have a hard time finding a doctor to write such an affidavit. Med mal cases are notoriously difficult to settle even when you have a lawyer, because doctors often have clauses in their insurance policies allowing them to have the final say in whether the claim is settled — and you can imagine their reluctance to admit wrongdoing, especially when they may face medical licensing issues for doing so.

      Not to be overly negative, but I don’t think you’ll be able to settle this without a lawyer. I’d direct all of my efforts at finding another lawyer to take the case, rather than trying to figure out how to make a settlement demand on the doctor. Because your injury occurred so long ago, you may already be facing statute of limitations issues — an issue that will not be lost on the doctor if you try to settle with him. Why would he settle if he can just wait you out on the statute of limitations?

      If you’ve hit all of your local med mal lawyers, it may be time to try some in neighboring cities.

  35. CG says:


    I am so grateful to have found your site.
    Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated.

    I have a civil lawsuit involving toxic mold that killed my dog, made me very sick and destroyed everything I own including all my business equipment needed to do any work.

    It appears that I have been blacklisted due to the fact the defendant is/was an international environmental attorney and big green financier.

    I went ahead and filed the lawsuit myself before that statue of limitations ran out, however I am still in need of an attorney as I am not only still too sick to deal with this but don’t want to be a fool as my own representation.

    What does someone do when no one will touch your case. They all say the same thing, that they are VERY interested in taking the case UNTIL they find out who the players are. They don’t even have the courtesy to lie to me they just don’t show up for appointments that they made and won’t return calls.

    Also I believe strongly that they have put out into the backdoor attorney network ( yes I know it exists) something to deter any attorney from taking the case as I already caught them in intentional slander on another part of this situation.

    There has to be something I can do to retain an attorney.
    Thank you in advance for your input.

    • fl_litig8r says:

      The only advice I can give you is to expand your search outside your immediate geographical area. If this lawyer you want to sue is local, it could be that he is a source for referrals for other lawyers, who don’t want to jeopardize that relationship. Or it could be a simple matter of them not wanting to sue another local attorney, just as many doctors won’t testify against another local doctor in a med mal case — whether for social reasons or otherwise. If you think that this lawyer has “blackballed” you by spreading your name to other attorneys, you’re mistaken. What’s probably happening is that they review your case, see that this attorney is involved, and make their own call to not take it for either financial or social reasons. If they were forewarned through a “backdoor attorney network” (I have no idea what you think this is) not to take your case, they wouldn’t bother reviewing it in the first place. By expanding your search to other cities, you minimize the chance that the attorney you contact will have any financial or social ties to the one you want to sue.

  36. James Haynes says:

    If your attorney postpones the mediation date on your case without consulting with you first and during the postponement, a ruling on summary judgement is made against you, could this be considered malpractice on your attorney’s part?

    • fl_litig8r says:

      It would be one thing if your lawyer had received a settlement offer from the defendant which he failed to timely convey to you (and which you would have accepted) prior to you losing via summary judgment. It’s another thing to ask a jury to determine that had the mediation taken place when originally scheduled, (1) you would have settled and (2) how much you would have settled for. I doubt that there would be any legal malpractice lawyers interested in so speculative a case.

      Yes, your lawyer can postpone a mediation without consulting you. Conflicts arise on attorneys schedules all the time that require moving matters around.

  37. james says:

    this is my third posting on this website with no response.let me try once more.can an attorney change the date already set for mediation in a personal injury case without checking with his client first?

    • fl_litig8r says:

      I only see one prior post from you, which was just a few hours before this one (and which I’ve now answered). Considering that I’m answering people’s questions for free (and 95% of the time within 24 hours), you might want to lose the sense of entitlement you seem to feel you have to a quicker response.

  38. michael says:

    I have a friend in California who’s native language is Spanish. He understands and speaks English but often a lot gets lost in translation.
    He was injured a few years ago at his construction site. His doctors all have made it clear that he is unable to continue working due to the injury. My friend has a claim filed. Heres where the problem lies:
    The insurance Co. have been denying him and putting off his case. His lawyer does not speak Spanish. His Ins. Company somehow “got” to his roommate as a paid informant. Now his lawyer wont return any of his phone calls and no one else will take his case nor even look at the doctors filings. What can my friend do or who can he talk to who understands him and he/them?

    • fl_litig8r says:

      Unless your friend has concrete proof that his roommate was paid to lie about his claim, he’s going to have a hard time explaining why someone presumably friendly to him would sell him out. I assume this is why the other lawyers won’t touch the case, as there should be plenty of native Spanish-speaking lawyers in California for him to contact. With respect to his current lawyer, it sounds like he soured on the case after the roommate’s statement and has back-burnered the case so he can move on to more promising claims. I really have no advice on overcoming any language barrier they may have other than “use an interpreter”, but I address what to do when your lawyer won’t return your calls in this article.

  39. Craig Bailey says:

    My wife and I recently met with an attorney and were advised to immediately go to the court house and file an extension to the Medical Malpractice statute of limitations, (wife’s surgery was in March, 2012). We filed the 90 day extension and returned it to the attorney. My questions are: Does the extension REALLY give us an additional 90 days to file suit against the doctor? Also, when I pull up the case number on the county website, it shows “Case Filed” dated 2/25/14 along with the Case Number, Judge Assigned, Complaint/Petition Filed, and “Case Closed” with the same date of 2/25/14. Does this mean the Extension was not granted? Thank you for your help, it is greatly appreciated!

    • fl_litig8r says:

      Florida has a statute that specifically allows this in medical malpractice cases, so if you’re in Florida or a state with a similar statute, then, yes, merely filing a short extension request naming the party or parties you may sue and paying the small fee is enough to extend your statute of limitations by 90 days. It is automatic and requires no extra action by the court (no orders are ever entered granting or denying these), so the fact that your “case” is marked closed just reflects that. It wasn’t denied. As long as your petition meets the relatively simple statutory requirements (often these are only one page long), you have your extension.

  40. Leigh says:

    I live in AZ and my boyfriend was the 2nd pedestrian to have been hit by the Metro lightrail, he ad got off the train and dropped his ticket on sidewalk bent down to pick it up and as he bent over the train took off hitting him in head and shoulder, short story..lawyer took case and he was going to doctor for rehabilitation about month into it lawyer drops case with no explanation

    • fl_litig8r says:

      The only way to know why the lawyer dropped the case is to ask. I’m usually straight with clients whose cases I drop as to my reasons, but technically I don’t need a reason to drop a case before filing suit (after that, a lawyer needs the permission of the court to withdraw). I can’t speculate as to why his lawyer dropped this particular case because there are just too many possible answers. If he has tried retaining another lawyer and no one is interested, I’m sure at least one of those lawyers has given him a reason why. If he hasn’t tried retaining another lawyer yet, he should. That way, at least he will find out what the problem with his case is — maybe there really isn’t a problem and the first lawyer dropped the case for reasons unrelated to the merits of the case.

  41. Rick Jeffares says:


    • fl_litig8r says:

      First, typing in all caps on the Internet is interpreted as shouting, and is widely considered bad etiquette. If you have a follow-up question, don’t use all caps.

      As to your question, you really haven’t provided me with enough information to say why these firms didn’t take your case. If I had to guess, because you haven’t mentioned any injury from the recalled implants, it could be that you just don’t have a case at this time. When a medical device is recalled, it doesn’t automatically mean that everyone who received the device was injured or even needs it replaced. See the FDA’s website, which specifically says this in regard to hip replacement recalls. Without an actual injury or need to replace the recalled device, your case would probably not be worth enough to pursue at this time. Should the device fail or cause injury in the future, that would change and you should revisit the issue at that time.

      If you have suffered an actual injury due to the devices, then it could be any number of other reasons as to why firms turned down your case. Because they appear to turn you down only after receiving your medical records, the answer must lie therein. What do they say when they tell you they aren’t taking your case?

  42. Rick Jeffares says:

    sorry about the caps….. bad habit I didn’t know that meant something…ok ..in 1994 I receive a total hip replacement due to a car accident,the surgeon said it would last at least 16 years and it did,so that hip was worn out and kept dislocating so he recommended a surgeon closer to home this new surgeon put in a Zimmer hip …then an infection erupted on the hardware,so he put in a hip the depuy prostalac with antibiotics,and had to do iv therapy …he then decided to take the prostalac hip out and leave out the hip for 6weeks….after 6 weeks he put another Zimmer hip in and today I’m having trouble with this one…the one still in me…..

    • fl_litig8r says:

      But did any of your doctors tell you that the problems you experienced were due to a defect in the device, as opposed to just a normal complication?

  43. Rick Jeffares says:

    Had one tell me that screws came out of it and another tell me the hip that is in me now was a defefect..still have pains and swelling …

    Could it be I owe thousands in hospital bills

    • fl_litig8r says:

      If your doctors are saying that your replacements are defective and the cause for you needing further revisions, then I can’t say why the firms you’ve consulted have turned you down. There has to be some other issue of which I’m not aware. I can only suggest that you try consulting with more firms, as there are plenty doing hip recall litigation. If they don’t take your case, press them for an answer as to why they turned you down — because it’s really not apparent from what you’ve told me.

  44. Cindy says:

    Hi. I was bitten in the face by a dog and received aprx. $3500 in medical bills, plus Im guessing possibly another $1-2,000 for scar removal. I had a attorney that took my case, but because the dog owner gave false insurance information and lied to his investigator saying the dog was his relatives dog (I was bitten in dog owners home) , my attorney said he referred my case to a larger lawfirm who had more money to file a lawsuit. He suggested I call this firm, if I didn’t hear from them. I never heard from them and got discouragedso I haven’t called them or any other attorney yet.
    My questions are: 1) Does this mean my case “sucks”?, 2) If an attorney does accept my case, can I get him/her to guarantee me in writing they will file suit with a certain time frame if dog owner doesn’t give insurance info (Im in CA and statute of limitations runs out in 7 months–my former attorney held onto case for 8 months) .
    Im sure the dog owner does have homeowners.insurance. Im also pretty sure I can show he’s the dog owner and also show he lied in practicality all of his statements to the investigators.
    Do yo.u think I have case an attorney would want to file suit over, if needed to file a deposition/retrieve insurance information? Thank you, you’re website is wonderful.

    • fl_litig8r says:

      First, I don’t think your case sucks. While the economic damages (medical bills) are low, I’ve handled dog bite cases where the person was bitten on the leg (and not the face, which is obviously worse) and made very health recoveries far beyond the meager medical bills. Generally, barring a serious infection, dog bites don’t generate a lot of medical bills — however, they are unique in that they often result in long-term scarring, both physical and mental. Being attacked by a dog can be terrifying, and insurers know that jurors may have a very visceral reaction when the plaintiff tells her story of the dog attack. In short, these cases fall outside my general rules of how to value cases, in that the non-economic damages (pain and suffering and emotional distress) will often be worth much more than 2x the medical bills. From a valuation standpoint, I would say that your lawsuit doesn’t suck, despite the low medical bills, because when an insurer/juror hears “I was bitten in the face by a dog”, the cringe factor in envisioning such an incident will cause them to place a much higher value on your non-economic damages.

      With respect to your first lawyer, I have no idea why he would need to refer your case to a larger firm. Small firms handle dog bites all the time, and if a personal injury firm can’t afford to fund a simple dog bite case, it shouldn’t be in business. I can see a very large firm not being interested, as many of those scoff at cases worth less than $100,000.00. You should definitely call around to other firms (don’t just aim at the large ones) to find someone else to take your case.

      While there may be issues in proving the ownership of the dog (and in California, if the person at issue exerts substantial control over the dog and acts like an owner, he can be considered the owner, even if he didn’t buy the dog — there are also certain municipalities, like Beverly Hills, which have ordinances specifically extending liability to not just dog owners, but those who have “custody or control” of the dog), I think firms would be willing to accept that risk in taking the case. That being said, I can’t imagine any firm committing in writing to filing suit when they take your case. I’d have strong ethical reservations about making such a promise and I doubt that such a clause would even be legally enforceable. Rather, I’d suggest you just discuss this concern when hiring the firm, and come to meeting of the minds as to whether they should file suit if “x days” go by and the insurer doesn’t turn over its policy information. I think that’s the best you’ll be able to do. You need to overcome your wariness in hiring a new firm due to the bad experience you had with your last lawyer. Don’t bring your baggage to the new firm and treat them as if they were the ones who screwed you in the past.

      I wish you luck in finding a new lawyer and making a recovery.

  45. Cindy says:

    Thank you so much. Your advice was excellent, very professional and really gave me the encouragement to continue with my case. Best Regards.

  46. Sandra Smith says:

    Was involved in a trip incident on a step while leaving a store. I had to hold onto the door to keep my self from falling onto my face. This resulted a sprained left ankle, hurt back, and a nerve injury to my right hand. I was away from work, after seeing a doctor who said that i had soft tissue damage to my back and it will heal with time and therapy. I am still receiving therapy to my right hand as the need arises but is finding this a costly process. The incident took place 13 months ago and I am still awaiting action to be taken by the lawyer. The lawyer handling my case says that the insurance company is willing to share half of the blame and is not budging form their decision. The lawyer says it is a good case and is taking it to court but has not contacted my doctor for a report or look at my medical bill. I am awaiting a response and thank you. I was happy to locate you page as I feel that you give honest answers.

    • fl_litig8r says:

      You don’t mention what treatment you received for your hand, so I’m not sure if you are at MMI yet — which is really where you should be before your lawyer even makes an initial settlement demand. Soft tissue cases, especially those with disputed liability (they say it’s partly your fault that you fell), tend not to be the kinds of cases lawyers like to take to trial. The only way that I’d believe that your lawyer is truly “gung ho” about trying your case is if he’s confident that the defendant is 100% at fault and if you’ve received treatment for your hand (such as surgery) which you failed to mention here. Otherwise, I’d be skeptical of him really wanting to go to trial.

      If your doctors tell you that you’re at MMI, then your lawyer should request your medical records and bills (and possibly a written report from the doctor, depending on whether the cost is justified). I’d be kind of surprised if he doesn’t already have your bills but has already been told by the insurer that they will only accept 50% liability. Usually, settlement talks start with the plaintiff’s lawyer sending the defendant a demand package which includes the plaintiff’s medical bills. I think you need to have a serious talk with your lawyer about what he really thinks of the case (and don’t jump down his throat if he points out any flaws), and where he is in terms of settlement discussions and preparing to file suit.

  47. Jesse Torres says:

    I was working and the constable did a undercover sting with selling to a minor. Well I came to the front to see what was going on and one of my employees was getting a ticket. When asking what happen the constable started down talking me and was down talking the other employee. I kept telling him it wasn’t me. Then the undercover officer came in and positively I.D. me, so they began writing me a ticket.I knew it wasn’t me so I began to watch the video so I asked them what time and they couldn’t even tell me, still being very unprofessional. Then the constable came to the office to try to watch the video and I told him no, then he got more aggressive. So I told him if they wanted to see the video then to subpoena me. I asked him why he wanted to watch the video if he was a 100% sure it was me. Long story short I asked once again if they were a 100% sure if it was me, they told me just to sign the ticket. After accusing three of my workers they still didn’t know. After reviewing the video it wasn’t me. I called the precinct to try to resolve the matter and they told me I had to go to trial. What are my options?

    • fl_litig8r says:

      Your only option right now is to defend the criminal case. A conviction would preclude a §1983 federal civil rights claim for false arrest, so you would need to have the charges dismissed or win at trial before you bring such a claim. Whether this would also be required under your state’s tort law will vary from state to state, but that really doesn’t matter because no sane plaintiff’s lawyer would bring such a claim while criminal charges are pending — doing so would expose you to a deposition, which no one facing criminal charges should give. Refusing to give a deposition by pleading the 5th would almost surely result in dismissal of your civil suit.

      Even if you obtain a totally favorable outcome in your criminal case, I doubt many lawyers would find a civil suit very appealing under either state or federal law, given the circumstances of your case. A jury would likely not be sympathetic to a plaintiff who had exonerating evidence he withheld from the officers, despite the fact that you were legally entitled to require them to obtain a warrant or subpoena to see your videotape. Therefore, even if you can prove that the arrest was false, a jury would probably make you pay by awarding very low damages.

      To avoid liability, the defendants would have to show that they had probable cause for the arrest — for the federal claim, the burden would be even lower, something known as arguable probable cause — meaning that they avoid liability by showing that any reasonable officer could have believed that he had probable cause to arrest you at the time. If, after you produce the videotape, the defendants claim that they made an honest error in identifying you as the seller, but that it was a reasonable error, they could still win on that basis. Mistaken, but reasonable, beliefs by officers have resulted in defense judgments in many false arrest cases.

      If you are withholding the tape because you you’re protecting an employee or you hope to avoid your state’s liquor licensing authority punishing the store, you’re taking a dangerous gamble. If the tape still exists, the prosecution will get it. If it doesn’t, then whether you are convicted now likely depends on whether a jury believes you or the officer who misidentified you — not a great position for even an innocent man to be in. If you haven’t already, you need to talk to a criminal defense lawyer. A civil plaintiff’s lawyer can’t help you right now.

      • Jesse Torres says:

        I live in texas and iam not in any way trying to hold out on the tape I just didn’t want to do the work for them like I said they had already wrote one ticket before I even came out of the back. I would like to talk to a lawyer here in town but I heard that many wouldn’t take it,not sure if I should even try. Thoughts.

        • fl_litig8r says:

          If you’re talking about civil rights lawyers, I wouldn’t try unless/until you beat the criminal charges. They’ll turn you down right now for the reasons I stated in my last comment — and they may still turn you down after you beat the charges as I also covered, but you’ll never know if you don’t even ask. If you’re talking about criminal defense lawyers, as long as you can pay them they’ll listen — otherwise you should talk to a public defender.

  48. Claire says:

    Does a child have any right to a mother’s life insurance policy if the only beneficiary named was the father? (As far as we know, at least).

    My mother’s passing left my father with a considerable amount of money. Three weeks after she passed he began dating a woman 18 years younger, who broke up with him numerous times, the last of which was on a vacation he had paid for them to go on. He confessed that he had bought her a brand new car, a townhouse, paid for every vacation they ever went on, and numerous other items such as a new closet full of clothes, shoes, and jewellery. After four months (and presumably her running out of money), they are now back together. I am very concerned that he would be stupid enough to marry her without a prenuptial agreement, and what is left of my mother’s life insurance policy would go to this woman should something happen to my father or they get divorced. She always said that she got the policy so that we (her children) would be taken care of if anything happened to her.

    So, would I have any grounds for suing him for my portion of my mother’s life insurance policy? Seeing as how he is not using it to make our family’s life any easier, and is, in fact, making it harder by spending frivolously on this other woman. Any advice you could give would be much appreciated.

    • fl_litig8r says:

      I’m not a probate lawyer, but if the father was the only named beneficiary on the mother’s life insurance policy then that money is his to do with as he sees fit, no matter how he decides to squander it. The mother’s wishes really don’t come into play at all. If she had wanted to ensure that some of the life insurance proceeds passed to the children, she could have had it paid into a trust or into her estate, to be divided according to the terms set by either of those. Having it paid directly to her husband as named beneficiary of the policy removes any strings she could have attached to it. I don’t see a legal solution to your problem.

  49. Mary S says:

    I had a misdiagnosis by Simon Med and am now on my third surgery with mesh which has messed up my stomach. I now have a intestinal blockage and another hernia and all because this Imaging company said I had s dermoid on my ovaries. Nothing was found and I have paid a high price for their mistake. Can an attorney help me? Will be two years since my first surgery on August 22, 2012.

    • fl_litig8r says:

      I can’t say whether one can help you, but you should definitely talk to a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. Statutes of limitations for medical malpractice claims are often very short (in Florida, for example, it’s 2 years — versus 4 years for ordinary negligence), and it’s not always clear when they start to run. Most jurisdictions follow what’s known as the “discovery rule”, meaning that the med mal statute begins to run from the time the plaintiff should have reasonably discovered that she suffered injury due to malpractice. So, the date of your first surgery might not mean anything unless that was the day you discovered the misdiagnosis.

      Even with a misdiagnosis, you might not have a med mal case if the person who interpreted your films reached a wrong, but reasonable conclusion. There are a lot of details that need to be looked at, and an attorney may not be able to give you an answer without consulting a medical expert. It takes time to evaluate most potential medical malpractice cases, so you really can’t afford to wait any longer if you want to try to pursue one. You’ve got nothing to lose but some time, so I suggest you start calling medical malpractice lawyers tomorrow.

  50. Linda Venable says:

    I really appreciate your site. It seems much more common sense than the two lawyers I’ve talked with about my personal injury case. The first one got bent out of shape when I wouldn’t sign all his paperwork at our first meeting (I said I needed to think about it) After that, he refused to return my one phone call and two e-mails over a three week period. I think there may have been some ego damage there. The second one said he would call me back after we spoke for 5-10 minutes and just hasn’t. I’m not asking for advice here, but I am surprised at the lack of professionalism and common courtesy I’m encountering. It’s been years since I needed a lawyer but I guess I was lucky to find ones that treat people the same way I treat them! A simple,” Our load is too heavy right now” is all most of us need!

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