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:

  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.

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.

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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.

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.

Settlement tip

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.

Settlement tip

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. Hugh [last name removed by admin] says:

    july 7 th my 64 classic car was hit pretty good by the fire chief..he admitted to fault i was taken to hospital where chiropractor say’s i have a fracture in my spine right below my head that could paralyze.He called my primary doctor i see tomorrow what’s going to happen…about that time i get call from [1st law firm name removed by admin] saying they couldn’t take my case saying it was problematic,because i have suspended license and insurance lapsed.Told chiropractor he said call [2nd law firm name removed by admin] but that my neck injury is serious and might require surgery ….i’m upset lawyer dropped me license was suspended because i didn’t go to court or pay ticket at time i was in hospital for 3 months and 10 day’s so didn’t know they were suspended.

    • fl_litig8r says:

      There’s really nothing you can do about a lawyer dropping your case prior to suit being filed. Before a lawsuit is filed, a lawyer doesn’t need a good reason to drop a client. After a lawsuit is filed, the lawyer needs to request “leave of court” to withdraw, but beforehand, as in your case, he has no legal or ethical obligation to have good cause to drop your case.

      I wouldn’t take it too personally. The first firm may have misunderstood the facts, such as the circumstances behind the suspension, or thought that it was too much trouble to deal with and wanted to move on to other, much easier cases (some firms, typically ones that advertise heavily, can pick and choose only the easiest of cases). Just find another firm willing to take your case. If your neck injury is as bad as the chiropractor suspects, I doubt you’ll have much trouble finding qualified counsel.

  2. Fatemeh [last name removed by admin] says:

    Do you give advice on malpractice cases? H have a huge one and I desperately need your advice. I will pay for any expenses that may entail.

    Respectfully

    • fl_litig8r says:

      I answer people’s questions to the best of my ability through this site, free of charge. If you have a particular question, post another comment with the question (I encourage you to leave off your last name this time — I know the site asks for it, but just ignore that) and I’ll take a crack at it. I don’t answer questions via e-mail, so if it’s something you don’t feel comfortable posting as a comment, then I’m afraid I can’t help you. If that is the case, you could always try a lawyer at JustAnswer — they answer questions on a fee-per-question basis.

      • Fatemeh [last name removed by admin] says:

        Someone on behalf of an authority has advised me to write an arbitration letter to the hospital whose doctor failed in two brain surgery operated on me and injured a nerve permanently. Do lawyers help writing this kind of letter?

        Respectfully,

        Fatemeh

        • fl_litig8r says:

          I don’t even know what country you’re in where arbitration is being used to resolve a medical malpractice claim, so I can’t say what lawyers do and don’t do there. I can say that arbitration is not some friendly attempt to resolve the claim. It is an adversarial process that is often binding, and one that is best handled by an attorney when a significant issue is at stake. Call some local attorneys to see if they will help you. Don’t take suggestions from some “authority” without at least asking a local lawyer what to do. You should absolutely not submit anything in writing yourself until you have done so.

          • Fatemeh [last name removed by admin] says:

            Thanks a lot for the advice and the prompt response. By the way, I live in Los Angeles, California. I guess my PI should indicate it.

            Respectfully,
            Fatemeh

          • fl_litig8r says:

            It’s easier for you to just tell me where you are than for me to do a reverse lookup on your IP address (especially because those aren’t always accurate). Anyway, because you’re in California, I’d would absolutely consult with a med mal attorney or two before engaging in any arbitration. Don’t write that letter until you’ve spoken with a lawyer.

  3. Feeling Patricio says:

    Looking for Attorney to go to Trial and finish where my Attorney left off for Slip and Fall. He didn’t really try to help me and at the last minute step down he didn’t even schedule a deposition or send me to Drs. If you can lease help refer me please have court in November. Thank you.

    • fl_litig8r says:

      Sorry, but I don’t do attorney referrals through this site (not that I know where you are, anyway, or even if I did that I’d be familiar with lawyers in your area). You could try the attorney referral service through your state (or sometimes local) bar, but because personal injury lawyers are so plentiful, and you’re probably going to need to contact more than one, you may as well just hit the phone book (or Internet) to try to find anyone willing to take on a case that is already in progress. Even though your case may be set for trial in November, a new attorney would likely be able to get a continuance to allow him or her more time to adequately perform discovery. I know nothing about the quality of your case, so I can’t predict how hard of a time you’ll have finding a new lawyer, aside from the general caveat that lawyers don’t like cleaning up other lawyers’ messes. Because you’re on such a short time frame, it’s really a numbers game, meaning you need to keep calling lawyers until you find one willing to take your case or you’re convinced that no one will. Right now, finding the highest quality lawyer should be of secondary concern to finding any lawyer at all — even a bad lawyer is better than no lawyer in most cases.

  4. Brandice says:

    I love your thorough explanations! This site is really helpful! I am seeking a contingency lawyer, which has been difficult so far. In my research, I’ve found cases very similar to mine which have paid significantly. Here is my issue …

    Public Storage auctioned everything I owned without notifying me. They told me the notes in their system show that my number is not a working number. When I asked the number on the account they verified it is my correct phone number and it is and has been in perfect working order. In other words, they never called which is their company policy. They also have my email address which again, they never notified me my account was in lien status. They claimed to have sent me a lien notice in the mail which I never received. When I asked for a tracking number, they provided me with an item number not recognized by the post office and not traceable. The Regional Manager says that the letter went out in bulk mail and there is no way to track or verify that it indeed went out. When I spoke to managers at the facility in the past I was assured if my storage was in threat of auction I would be emailed, called and properly notified via verified mail. The manager who assured me of this is no longer with the company, nor are the people that noted the account that they called my cell phone and the number was wrong. This is clearly a case of negligence and wrongful conversion of goods. Nothing they have provided me with shows proper notification that my account was in lien status. The Georgia Self Storage Lien Law Act states the company must send an email or letter via “verified” mail. The exact definition they give is: “Verified mail” means certified mail, registered mail, statutory overnight delivery, or other method of mailing or delivery in which the post office or delivery service furnishes proof that the parcel was sent. I was told Public Storage sent this document through an outside vendor or “delivery service” in bulk mail and it has no tracking number or way to confirm it was indeed delivered. I’m having trouble believing that would be sufficient as “verified” mail. I attempted to call the vendor and they won’t speak to me. Public Storage claims to have a receipt from the vendor (BDI or Business Data Inc.) that 2,084 documents went out with an item number that mine was one of the letters of bulk mail that went out. In other words, it was sent out as junk mail, and I never got it! Also, the contract states: “If Owner sends notice of a pending sale of property to Occupant’s last known e-mail address and does not receive a non-automated response or a receipt of delivery to the e-mail address, Owner shall send notice of the sale to Occupant by verified mail to Occupant’s last known address or to the last known address of the designated agent of the Occupant before proceeding with the sale. To me, this states the e-mail should be attempted first? Clearly no one knows what’s going on over there and it resulted in all of my things being sold. I have nothing left to my name and no one wants to take this case. What should I do?

    • fl_litig8r says:

      After reading the statutes myself, I can’t say that the storage facility violated the Georgia Self-service Storage Facility Act of 2013. The Act does not require that the facility attempt to e-mail you before sending out notice via mail. Under O.C.G.A. § 10-4-213 (unfortunately I can’t link to these because the Georgia legislature’s site uses Lexis to host its statutes — click on “Georgia Code” in the left column to get to it — and direct links to Lexis-hosted statutes won’t work), the law requires that “Occupant shall be notified of Owner’s intent to enforce Owner’s lien by written notice delivered in person, by verified mail, or by e-mail.” Note the “or” at the end, which means that any one of those methods is acceptable. If the owner chooses to try e-mail first, then they have to subsequently try verified mail if they don’t receive a delivery receipt or a non-automated response to the e-mail. However, nothing requires that they try e-mail first.

      With respect to the bulk mailer, I can’t say that this would not comply with the statute if that bulk mailer can verify that it delivered your letter to the post office and that proper postage was paid. The statute does not provide that the storage facility must have proof of the receipt of the verified mail by the unit owner, only proof that it was sent, which makes a huge difference.

      I see no requirement in the statute that the storage facility attempt to contact the unit owner by phone, so unless your rental unit agreement added that requirement, the storage facility didn’t have to even try to call you before selling your unit.

      It does seem like this facility takes advantage of the statute’s most lenient provisions to notify its delinquent unit owners by the method least likely to reach them (bulk mail), but it appears to me that they have complied with the statutes. There may be some Georgia caselaw interpreting these statutes in a way that proves my interpretation wrong, but I don’t have access to Georgia caselaw to check for myself. If Georgia lawyers are turning you down, it’s likely for the reasons I’ve stated.

  5. Robert [last name removed by admin] says:

    n September 2012 I had surgery for prostrate cancer in which my [prostrate was removed two weeks later I began noticing puss and blood coming from my staples and snitches I went to the er at the Va here in Topeka and was informed if I would not have come in and that would have erupted in my stomach I would have died in three to five days I was sent back to the VA in Kansas City the doctors came into the room and didn’t tell me anything but did try to preform a produce it was causing too much pain and I was told I had to go back into surgery the next day but never told why I had problems throughout In October 2013 I began having very bad pains within that time I was told I had a hernia I was told scar tissue I was told they don’t know I have seen two urologist five surgeons a PA and nobody was knows whats wrong with me I was even told it might be something I have to live with I am in serve pain and rely on pain medication everyday to make it I requested a second opinion I was sent to the VA ion Leavenworth I was told that I didn’t have a hernia so I asked what was wrong they said they didn’t know this has been going 9 months i have to go back to \pain management on August 25 they question me was anybody seeing me for my prostrate and I was suppose to be tested for cancer at three moths six months then every year I had to request to be tested at ten months also my pre-surgery I was never told that I would be in diapers and that I could be in them for over two years which I have been in them

    • fl_litig8r says:

      Medical malpractice claims against the VA, assuming you have one, must be brought under the Federal Tort Claims Act. This act requires that you file an administrative claim (a standardized form known as Form 95) within 2 years of the date that you knew or should have known that you were injured due to medical malpractice. To be safe, ideally you’d want to submit this form by September of 2014 (the same day you had your surgery 2 years prior), though you may actually have more time than that. Because these cases are so difficult to prove, and because you’re going to want to submit proof of malpractice with your claim (like an expert opinion), you should really consult with a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. Not all med mal lawyers will know how to handle a claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act, so you should ask whether the lawyer has prior experience handling FTCA claims before you hire him or her.

      I really can’t tell from your description whether malpractice occurred, but your initial symptoms sound like a serious infection, which can happen due to malpractice or just due to normal complications from surgery — so it’s hard to say. A malpractice attorney would likely need to consult with a doctor and have him review your file before determining whether malpractice was the likely cause of your problems. Because these consultations can take time, I’d suggest that you start calling lawyers first thing Monday morning. Don’t give up if the first few turn you down — keep trying until you either find a lawyer or you’re convinced that no one thinks your case is worthwhile.

  6. Jean [last name removed by admin] says:

    Please help me by telling me if I have a legal malpractice case against my ex-Lawyer.
    This is the fact. I was involved in an accident at work.The accident happened on February12, 2010 as my last day of working.I reported the accident, and the company sent me to the emergency.The same day, the hospital told me that I was really hurt and told me to followed up with an other Doctor.L

  7. Fatemeh says:

    Thank you for your prompt response.

    The hospital that ruined my life is Cedars Sinai, and lawyer would dare to touch the case (even the lawyers in California Board.) I tried to file a suit myself and be my own lawyer. However, I didn’t the procedure, and again, no lawyer would help me with that either. The only way I could think of is is going to Sacramento and sitting at the governor’s door till somebody notices me and listens to my story.

    P. S. In your response you told me not to put my email address. But without it, the comment was rejected. So, I had to put an email address.

    • fl_litig8r says:

      I think you misunderstood me. I said not to include your last name and that I didn’t respond to questions via e-mail, not to omit your e-mail address. Your last name will be publicly visible (and searchable) after your comment is approved, so I encourage people not to include it if they don’t want people to find their posts through a Google search. Your e-mail address is only visible to me, so it’s fine to enter that in the e-mail field.

      On to your issue: your case may not be as good as you think it is. If you talked to multiple med mal attorneys and no one was willing to take it, there’s probably a good reason — and it’s not that med mal lawyers don’t want to sue Cedars. Lawyers are often reluctant to tell potential clients why they rejected their case, but I think it’s helpful to do so in some cases. It keeps clients from running from lawyer to lawyer with a case that no one will take, and gives them a better understanding of why their case isn’t as good as they think it is. I’m not saying that you have no case, but there were clearly issues that several lawyers saw that made them think that the chances of settling or winning at trial were not worth the expense of taking it on.

      I doubt that going to Sacramento will do you any good. If you truly believe that you were given medical care that falls below the acceptable standard, a better approach would be to file a complaint with the state medical licensing board. They are the agency empowered to take disciplinary action against medical professionals and facilities.

      • Fatemeh says:

        I assure you I have a huge case .Recently the Patient services referred me to the hospital’s Claim Dept. But the person in charge, after making some excuses, asked to have my lawyer talk to her. But as I said, no lawyer dares to touch a giant like Cedars Sinai. None even advised me how to file a suit in the court, even though I said I would pay for the lawyer’s or the law office’s time and advice. I apologize for taking so much of your time. Thanks again.

        • fl_litig8r says:

          I have no idea why you think “no lawyer dares to touch a giant like Cedars Sinai”. Lawyers sue hospitals, huge companies, law enforcement and even the federal government on a regular basis. They have absolutely nothing to fear from suing Cedars Sinai. Here is a link to an article about an $8 million jury verdict against Cedars from just a few months ago. They list the name of the lawyer for the plaintiff in the case, and if you Google it, his firm will be the top result. Run your case past him, so you know that if he turns you down, it isn’t because he’s reluctant to sue Cedars Sinai.

          Of course no firm is going to tell you how to file a medical malpractice case. It’s just something you can’t teach to a lay person on an hourly rate — it would take too long (time that could be spent on actual cases which will give you a bigger return than something that pays on an hourly basis) and you’d risk being sued for malpractice when the person inevitably screws the case up. You need to know not only general medical malpractice law, but also rules of procedure and evidence, things it takes lawyers years to master under the constant tutelage of another lawyer.

          I know nothing about your case, aside from the fact that you’ve been turned down by multiple firms. That has nothing to do with the defendant being Cedars Sinai, despite your belief to the contrary. There’s something else about your case which makes lawyers think it isn’t worth taking. If you’re not convinced, call that lawyer in the article I linked to, because you know he’ll sue Cedars for malpractice if the case is good.

  8. Fatemeh says:

    Could you tell me (or introduce someone who could) how to file suit myself? I am able to represent myself and have enough documents to prove my allegations?

    • fl_litig8r says:

      No and no. Here’s why: you have no chance of successfully bringing a medical malpractice case as a pro se litigant. No lawyer is going to teach you how to do it, for reasons I already stated in my last comment. If you truly have a case, find a lawyer to take it (I’ve already directed you to one who is clearly willing to sue Cedars). Filing a med mal case pro se is a complete waste of time, energy and money. You’d have better odds of winning the lottery.

      Do you even have an expert lined up? A doctor willing to testify that the proposed defendant committed malpractice? If not (and you will need one), your case is over before it’s even started. Expect to pay at least $400/hour for a doctor to review your case and generate an opinion, and if your response is that “no doctor will testify against Cedars”, that’s total BS. I’m guessing you haven’t even tried to find one, and again, the lawsuit I linked to in my comment proves that there are doctors willing to testify against Cedars.

      I’m not trying to be mean, just blunt. Find a lawyer willing to take your case or accept that it’s just never going to happen. You’re not going to be able to do it on your own, and no lawyer is going to give you a quickie law school education to show you how.

      • Fatemeh says:

        Thank you for the link. But the article doesn’t say which lawyer or law firm handled the case against Cedars Sinai.
        I obtained the forms from California Superior Court in Van Nuys. They said they have lawyers to tell me how to fill out the forms and where to file it.

        Again, thank for your time and help, and above all for your patience and tolerance.

        Sincerely and respectfully,

        Fatemeh

  9. Ama says:

    Hello and thank you for the information here. I have a question about a possible claim I would like to make. I was in a car accident at the age of 20 in 2003. I have been having problems with my neck back and limbs ever since. I have been receiving treatment since that time paid for by NY no fault but feel like the treatment has been inadequate. Basi ally I have been taking pills and being looked at like a liar the entire time. I saw a PA last month who asked me if I haf a head injury. I started researching on my own and requested a multi positional mri thus showed cer ical and lumbar disc disease including herniations and bulges. I want to know if I have a claim against doctor who treated me and failed to diagnose or the driver that was at fault and caused the accident. I know its been a long time and is doubtful but I have a friend who told me I should try to pursue because of that fact that I am not able to work due to sitting standing and walking for more than a few minutes being painful. Also what about lost wages because I tried to work but could not keep the job as it required sitting for over 6 hours a day. Sorry about the length and typing on my phone.

    • fl_litig8r says:

      Any claim you would have had against the at-fault driver is barred by NY’s 3-year statute of limitations on such claims. There is a good chance that any malpractice claim you’d have against your treating doctors would be barred as well under NY’s 2 1/2 year medical malpractice statute of limitations. The NY med mal statute begins to run from the date of the alleged malpractice, which is different (worse for plaintiffs) from most states, where the statute runs from the date that the patient should have reasonably discovered that they suffered an injury due to malpractice. The NY med mal statute of limitations can be somewhat extended to run from the date of the last treatment you received when you have had continuous treatment for the same illness, injury or condition that gave rise to the alleged malpractice, but I wouldn’t expect this to be applied liberally — for example, I can’t see them saying that malpractice that occurred 10 years ago isn’t barred because you’ve received related treatment for the same injury all these years.

      If a doctor has treated you within the past 2 1/2 years, and you think that this doctor should have discovered the full nature of your injury, maybe you have a shot at a med mal claim. Of course, this also depends on whether missing the full nature of your injury was due to the doctor departing from the “reasonable medical standard of care”, and whether you’ve actually been injured due to the failure to make an earlier diagnosis. If the tests you recently requested are not what a reasonable doctor would have been expected to order, given your symptoms, it’s not malpractice just because the tests ultimately showed a previously undiagnosed injury. The only way to know for sure is to talk to a NY med mal lawyer or two, if you think you have a case against a doctor who treated you within the last 2 1/2 years.

      You could also consider filing for social security disability benefits (if you haven’t already) if your injuries are as disabling as you state.

  10. Ama says:

    Thank you for responding. As I thought, from your explanation I probably don’t have much of a chance especially since the doctor I was seeing has since retired last winter. But I certainly learned a lesson about being your own health advocate. Ssd has been recommended to me but because I would rather not take my net income from what it was at 2000/month(which is pretty good for my area and the fact that I am single) to a few hundred dollars due to my age and not enough credits for much ssd I am going to try and figure out a task based business I can start which allows me to make a living and function with my pain and mobility issues. Thank you so much and I will recommend your site to others.

  11. Ray and Deb says:

    My wife went in for a colonoscopy and a polyp was found, so she was sent next door to a surgen .. he said he would have to redo the colonoscopy because the first doctor had not ‘tatoo’ed’ the place where the polyp was removed .. he said he called her and I have to assume she didn’t tell him she had done this .. so the next week the procedure was done. While in the operating room a nurse asked why my wife was there and the doctor told her the 1st doctor had not tatooed the area. The nurse said she had. After the surgery our surgen pulled up the report and again. The first doctor had now changed the report to read that she had indeed tatooed the area .. a simple add of a sentence onto the original report. The first doctor never notified our surgen or us, thereby causing a 2nd procedure (colonoscopy) to be performed. No lawyer will take the case because as you have stated, it didn’t cost us enough. Is there anything we can do other than report the first doctor to the Medical Board for neglect and lack of patient concern . . thank you for your help

    I might add, tatooing a polyp being removed is standard procedure, and we have both reports .. one not mentioning the tatoo, and the second report with the changed sentence .. not mention of a modification or mention of the mistake .. a cover up in our opinion, but still no lawyer will take this case .. it will cost us approx. an extra $2500

    • fl_litig8r says:

      I can’t really see anything else you can do aside from reporting this to the medical board. The cost of having an expert testify about the standard of care would make bringing a lawsuit over this unfeasible, even if you were to try to do this on your own in small claims court. Maybe there’s an off chance that making a claim to the doctor’s malpractice carrier would get you some small settlement (and this is something you can try on your own), but that’s purely speculation.

  12. FiremenDavid_TeacherTiffani says:

    i recommend a few here from FB to read such invaluable info on a firm,whose utilizing the ole’ “Can’t represent you premise on C.O.I.”
    A Conflict of Interest. I hope your able to help me.For the sake of brevity being online,i shall keep it brief.

    Florida/NJ has so many cases as Cali,where caseworker, socialworker has been$$$successfully sued,premise on federal & state violation(s) over 1 million to 10 to 50 million worth of damages,upheld on appeal.Me & my spouse have been falsely accused.Our son sir,has suffered literally severely,sex abuse/meds
    given to him while sexually abused,by foster parent,and was raped.
    Yes.He was raped.(while residing under state care)such lawsuit was
    immediately AND timely filed just 2 years ago.I know the deadline
    to sue child protection agency individual workers(not in their official capacity)premise on knowing the law like the back of my hand for 18 years.Now a law student in FLA. ( 2L)
    We have done a heck of a job all 3 of us winning a right to move on forward,with our suit against DCF workers(total 5)who directly was link to “knowing he was raped”but kept it from us,the parents for 2 long years,telling us he was doing fine,”at each court hearing.We were accused of spanking him too “hard”but no bruising on him years prior.We never got our son back but spent an inordinate $ of money over 145-150kfighting to clear our name,and we finally did so in 2012. We have PROOF of the clearance,of all serious allegations being”
    overturned/unfounded it say”from the state office of atty.general.
    Judge duly noted such on the record,and dismiss the case.Son came home,but the damage(severe)from such wrongful removal
    was already done to him.He came home at age eighteen.we file suit
    as FAMILY,and now the lawyer “want to split us up.”He told me on fri.”well there is a feasible C.O.I. Tiffani” and yet he never told us
    this prior,to looking at “discovery for damage-assessment.”Also
    he has NOT even finish looking at discovery premise on state has not turned it all over yet.

    We won the right to move forward per cause of action stated for relief,without ANY attorney.What conflict there can be?Can you answer this for me.The lawyer i had to force to tell me.He said well
    “the child in discovery”by the state,was telling the state worker or
    a dr. or policemen”you did abuse the child etc.”other things,we told
    him last year when hired,the PROOF that clear me and my firemen
    spouse name,clearly identify we were cleared,and judge echo such
    wording 2012(december)so why is he NOW trying to get out of it?
    Those allegations were DISMISSED marked as”overturned” and in Another letter from state marked as UNFOUNDED.So it appear,if i am right,speaking to other lawyers,”He want the more easy rape case under state supervision involving my son whose now 20″but my son,do not want to sue without us.We are a family who was torn apart,injured SEVERELY premise on false allegations,for years.
    We were force apart,and my son even adage,”We want to sue with each other,as a family”and not seperate.So can this lawyer who is our lawyer,really REMOVE himself,premise on a lie insofar C.O.I. where we can prove there is no conflict?He has told us to prove to him the allegations against us were all thrown out of what the child was suppose to have told police dept. and a dr. but we already have given him the state report clearing us in black and white.We will however give it to him again After Labor Day.Please help thank you.
    NOTE: Fed.Ct.called this the”worse case of a family he has seen” &
    we have won PRO-SE so far,”each and EVERY legal argument”for millions,we are seeking AS A FAMILY son,father a firemen 21 yrs.
    and i,a teacher of 6th grade,PRIOR to losing our jobs and taking out 3 mortgages to fight for our rights,finally being cleared,thank you.

    • fl_litig8r says:

      After giving this some serious thought, the only thing I can think of is that he may have concerns about a future conflict developing if your son gives any damaging testimony about his prior treatment by you and your husband. I understand all that you’ve gone through to clear your names, but I also understand a lawyer not wanting to be in the middle of any potential future family drama, especially when that drama might directly affect yours and your husband’s claim. This would be a particular concern if your son ever gave any statements in the past (regardless of whether he’s since recanted) that supported the mistreatment allegations. You may not think that this is a valid concern, given what your son says now about what happened, but I can tell you from experience that I’ve had witnesses tell me they would say one thing if put under oath and then literally 30 minutes later in a deposition say something significantly different. If that happens with your son, it would be a disaster for the lawyer, who would then likely have to withdraw from representing everyone (losing all of his time and money). Not being able to speak to him alone without concern for your and your husband’s claim about any such statements would be a problem for most attorneys. Of course, if a lawyer had to choose which client to keep to avoid a future conflict, he’s going to pick the one with the strongest claim.

      I get why you want all the claims to be a package deal. It provides an incentive for a lawyer to take yours and your husband’s claim, where otherwise they may not. I also understand that if you allow this lawyer to take only your son’s case that you and your husband may not be able to find another lawyer to take your claims. That’s a decision your family will have to make on its own. Of course, if no lawyer will take the package deal, your son will have to decide whether it’s worth it for him to proceed without a lawyer just to keep this a “family lawsuit”.

      • FiremenDavid_TeacherTiffani says:

        well i thank you sir.
        Only 1 thing overlook feasibly,as we see how bzy you are on here, btw again GREAT forum/site,1 of a kind imo. 1 thing overlook is,and i just will a bit repeat slightly premise on such relevance here…
        1.)Judge agree”worse case where a parent was as the child torn apart,whereas,”no child abuse occur sir.”the state “social workers” 2x on appeal was chastize “by the higher court” and there is proof of it,relating to”the horrid things we NOW know that was again “NOT SAID”by us
        at all,and how state workers knew this,but hid
        the fact,of the person who REALLY said it,and that was,”adult ex spouse of mine/his new wife”
        who herself,”has a connection,to the FL DCF.
        that alone,the judge adage”support much etc.”
        and again,i will repeat if i have not before…
        2.)i was cleared of the charges,so yes lawyer do agree for over 1 yr.”this is a great incentive so he wanted ALL THREE of us,on the same suit.”
        he only came on,”after”i’ve provided him as your reading sir, a multitude amount of appeal support,encompassing with “proof”of the causal link,to cps,and”Dad”new wife,a former cps consultant for 22 yrs!(again,as law demonstrate many cases from nj,fl,nyc, california et;al. kids are brainwashed.Sadly this happen to my son easily proven,sadly the “ex”wife make him say such bad things about me, mainly and sadly he was being force,as she was also”choking him.”i did not mention this,so again the judge is saying,”if the mom,tiffani/father was both or 1 “cleared”and can PROVE the”allegations were all tossed out?The damage(s)naturally are there.
        the lawyer agreed too.
        KEEP IN MIND. (update from today)we just talk
        and he said,”tiff i am just saying how u have to HELP ME OUT HERE,’show me some proof that the allegations against you,”the ones said by the child”allegedly,were thrown out,because state defense,”show me”for attorney eyes only”
        demonstrating,how child told cop etc. and dr. things,but again THOSE ALLEGATIONS were suppose to be stricken from the record,once CPS own”new evaluator”spoke to child did a complete”new investigation”and it turn out she admit,”the child really wasn’t saying ANYTHING
        but the”new wife was,and his paternal grandma
        etc.so this report,is what he want to see,but again i give it to him prior.and now he will have it “directly from the ex custody lawyer who was on my former case for several years.”i hope this help,as he now sound like he is still very much interested,i hope so.and i will LOVE ur feedback one more time,thank you.
        Underscore:
        a.)Appeal REVERSE.
        b.)2nd appeal chastize DCF for and i quote verbatim,”failing to reunite child all this time with a parent ,who”has constitutional/fundamental right,et.al.as child being”Affected”premise on over 21 allegations being”used against such parent,a firemen and teacher, homeowner/live in great area,good schooling for son,and yet,”have not seen child in years,but yet “State”used false allegations for years,as”Truth”when the appeal court not 1x but 3x “ordered”-gave a directive to investigate for accuracy,and if are FALSE can no longer keep child from parent.

        i hope this helps.
        Appeal agreed,violation here,for PARENT.
        not just child.
        thank you

        tiff.

        • fl_litig8r says:

          I want to be clear that I wasn’t voicing any opinion on the merits of yours and your husband’s claim when I speculated about why the attorney may have concerns about a future conflict. You don’t need to sell me on your innocence — what I think about that is irrelevant. It does appear, as I suspected, that the attorney had concerns about prior statements made by your son that were later shown to be unreliable due to his being influenced/coerced by third parties. These concerns are legitimate, despite the fact that you were able to convince a prior court that these statements were coerced and untrue — the theory being that one who recants a statement can always change his mind again. Whether the lawyer decides that this potential conflict is too much of an issue for him is something he needs to decide for himself. I’m sure that different lawyers faced with the same issue would come to different conclusions based on their own personal comfort level. I couldn’t fault your lawyer if he decided that he didn’t want to accept the risk, just as I can’t fault you and your husband for wanting to keep the claims together. I hope that your current lawyer keeps all the claims or that you find one who is willing to do so.

          • FiremenDavid_TeacherTiffani says:

            I will have a “conference 3-way with former matrimonial atty. w/personal injury lawyer. I want to say your site is aces.I’ve utilize(several on justanswer.com)they,well actually 1 guy imparticular,(lawEdu.)he agree the lawyer,always adage,as you say on your site,insofar as the whole Conflict of Interest is bogus in most cases,an”ezy”way to get out of “doing all of the hard work.”
            He also inform me the lawyer,he
            should know,third-party influence
            et;al. coercion etc.all has been shown in lawsuits prior statewide
            nationwide,”jury don’t take kindly”
            to such false allegations,to undermine one’s family,even some going to prison for years,or losing their home,life savings etc.so i like to hear that,and i know it is true
            premise on 24hr.research i’ve done prior to signing up for law school.When i won on my own pro se, i recall the judge adaging, ALL of your knowledge,in law and brief etc. are all”artfully”drafted,and you are definitely having a future in law school. The state lawyer had 3! and were not able to win against me,this”far”they’ve tried few times,have me the parent suit dismissed,and never worked,so i am happy about that,and no matter what i am moving forward.
            I really appreciate your site,and i wanted to ask 1 last thing if i may this morning sir…
            As i know justanswers,etc.few other counsel/lawyers worldwide agree,from nj,nj cali,mi and florida
            i have 1 more query for you today:
            “When an appeal”has given a directive,to and utilizing their word here,as i did in my winning suit,(so far winning)as it is moving forward
            NOT thrown out, when not one but 3 appeals,”between 9 long yrs have informed,CPS,DCF to either “substantiate”with “Competent & CREDIBLE evidence”against the parent,or if the allegations have NO SUBSTANCE,then the child can no longer be”deprive their right to return home,or visits,parenting time etc.” and the state ageny fail to adhere not once but 3x to a court order,(higher court of appeals)Is it true,as others have said,that this right here,will favor the suit,etc. premise on the appeal court,clearly instructed,multiple times,the allegations have to be investigated,NOT used as truth,and repeatedly “relied upon” if false.I appreciate your feedback.
            I am informed,”even by yes the personal injury,civil rights lawyer how,”what is an ACE IN THE HOLE is how,as i am losing my life savings defending myself”for years
            only seeing the child i’ve raised without abuse,till taken at 10 yrs old,and younger son age 6,etc. the appeal court multiples times,order the state workers,cps,to investigate or return boys,visitation etc. and again the appeal was very clear…Lawyers are saying,how this will yes help my suit,as well as again the fact the “final investigation”did really prove as i always said,my boys sure would have never said any of the filth coming out of cps dirty mouths,fake reports,without a 3rd abusive party,his stepmom.I hear how the “Court whether suing in state OR federal ct.do not LIKE to see a agency,state workers,etc. ignoring a “court order.”Here, u have 3x appeal decisions blatantly ignored.
            Also,sir:
            1 report discovered,was located where the workers,were clearly conspiring to “never give me back my sons premise on”and i quote,
            “If judge learn about this”that we have not investigated,and we left the boys at times with “others”who the judge said,NOT TO,we will be at “risk”of ruinining the other parent chance,at “getting full custody.”We can’t let judge know of this,because we will then be in violation of “a court order”

            Will something like this also support such section 1985;claim
            for a conspired act. i am told yes
            and again sir,the attorney jumped on this suit,so fast,premise on this alone.So i appreciate 1 more time ur feedback,on this and the appeal query thanks SO much …
            The “intent he and other lawyers wholly agree,is CLEAR with facts found by me like the aforesaid.”icing on the cake i am told is the 3 appeals,all in my favor,then clearing my name by the office of atty.general.

            Tiffani

          • fl_litig8r says:

            One thing you’re going to need to learn as a lawyer is to use shorter sentences. These long, convoluted multi-quotation ones you’re using here are just downright confusing. To address your first point, which is the fact that the Justanswer agreed with you: take that with a grain of salt. I like Justanswer, and it has some good lawyers answering questions there. However, when it comes to questions like “do I have a good case” or “I think my lawyer is doing something wrong. Do you agree?”, most lawyers there will probably tell you what you want to hear just to get you to approve their answer — because they don’t get paid if you don’t rate the answer favorably, and many people who get an answer they don’t like (even a right answer) will simply skip out without paying. I’d save using Justanswer for actual legal questions, and not ones where you seem to be seeking confirmation of a preconceived notion.

            As far as your “one more query”, I really don’t know what you’re asking. Here’s where the long, convoluted question format works against you. It’s o.k. to separate your question from every single fact and quote you think is relevant to it. I had a very nasty habit of using long, convoluted sentences in my writing coming out of law school as well, so I can relate. Just know that this is a habit you need to break, especially if you want to be understood clearly. You can try asking again, but please try to keep the question short and to the point. There’s no need to regurgitate all the facts again.

            With respect to your “Also, sir” question, the report reference could be the basis for a §1985 claim. However, because you’d still need to prove an underlying civil rights violation as part of a §1985 claim, I don’t know that bringing the extra conspiracy claim (and going through the extra effort of having to prove a conspiracy) gets you any more damages than you’d get under a straight §1983 claim against the individuals (which I assume is what you have currently filed). I’ve known many lawyers new to civil rights who have mistakenly pursued a “pattern and practice” claim against an agency (usually law enforcement) in addition to their claims against the individuals under §1983, when proving such a claim added no value to their case, but the cost of pursuing it was far greater than the cost of just the individual claims. In short, just because you can bring a §1985 claim doesn’t mean that you should from a strategic standpoint. It could just be a lot more work (and expense) for no more damages.

  13. kim says:

    Hello, I had a lawsuit pending for 7 years for my 2 children who had lead poisoning and they are having learning disabilities and my one son was diagnosed with ADHD and my lawyer called me yesterday and said they were closing the case due the insurance companies have lead exclusions. Should I get a second opinion or do I not have a case anymore?

    • fl_litig8r says:

      First, I don’t even know who you were suing. I was assume it was a landlord. If the landlord’s policy had a specific lead exclusion, then it really comes down to when that exclusion took effect (i.e., was it in place at the time of your children’s exposure) and whether it covered the types of exposure your children experienced (but most policies will cover both consumption and inhalation of lead, so it’s unlikely that this argument would win the day). If the landlord had a policy with only a general pollution exclusion (as opposed to a specific lead exclusion), then it boils down to the wording of the exclusion and how courts in your state have interpreted similar provisions.

      Assuming that there is no coverage, whether you still have a case worth bringing depends on whether the landlord could satisfy a judgment out of pocket without any insurance coverage. No lawyer wants to waste time and money pursuing a claim that the defendant won’t be able to pay.

      I’m not quite sure why it took 7 years for this exclusion issue to come to light, unless your attorneys were litigating over the validity of the claimed exclusion and lost. Though, even if that is the case, 7 years seems like a very long time to get a resolution to that issue. Without knowing how your case was resolved (is it still pending against the landlord, or was it brought against his insurer, maybe after you already got an uncollectible judgment against the landlord), I can’t say whether it’s possibly still a viable claim.

      You should really sit down with your current lawyer and find out exactly what happened and why he thinks the case is no longer worth pursuing. Then decide based on that explanation whether you think another firm might disagree with his assessment.

  14. Kathy [last name removed by admin] says:

    I was correctly diagnosed (Goldenhar Syndrome) last November, by U.C after firstly haveing an upper/lower osteonomy by Kaiser (paid for by MRMIP) in ’99. Kaiser said everything would be fine (even though I knew something was still wrong…I was in school at the time ready for a mid-life career change. But, I never recovered, the county Medicaid Head Doctor actually forced me onto SSI/SDI, because he knew I had some kind of major problem and couldnn’t work. I went back to Kaiser (Medicare in ’06) hoping to fix this, but all I heard was that they had never seen my symptoms before. One speacialist after another untill a Kaiser Doctor threatened me, Saying if you try any legalities against us we will squash you like a bug. I’ve been dealing with this gettiing all my releases from Kaiser and UC. (UC is hedging the surgery I need because they know this is a Malpractice case) It’s a mess and I have to take it slow because of my kidneys-part of Goldenhar- but I am now ready to get a lawyer, I have independent snd opinion (I am not sueing UC-just Kaiser) Its tough to go on but what keeps me going is finding out that some people have killed themselves after going through Kaiser with my symptoms. Bottom line, Kaiser never checked for soft tissue damage or congenital disease. I have called afew lawyers-and I think all of the nuances of this case scared them off… I found your article extremely helpful as I am about to write the PDF to e-mail. But, this case DOESN’T suck- it’s just ver involved- but all I want to sue for is myself (less threatening) and hope it opens the door for all of the others in my situation (roughly 2% of Kaiser’s “TMJ” cases were actually coonjenital diseases). I am in Sacramento but willing to go to SF if neccisary to find a lawyer. Can you possibly give me some leads in my area for Malpractise (and this runs the gamut from Insurance fraud to Negligeance and everything in between) I can’t help the other poor souls, but I can help myself, I just need alittle help!

    • fl_litig8r says:

      I’m sorry, but I don’t do referrals through this site. Even if I did, I’m in Florida, so I really don’t know any medical malpractice lawyers in your area. All you can do is keep calling around until you find someone who will take your case or you’re convinced that it’s a lost cause.

  15. Steve says:

    Thank for the site. Hope you are still listening in 2014. My case is a little unusual (as they all say).

    I suspect my problem is due to a home-grown company. I have been through several attorneys. It always begins the same way. They drool over my case, appear to be like a deer in the headlights (overwhelmed), start back pedaling and disappear. To be direct, the real question is ‘was the company that sold the guy the gun, who shot me 7 times, responsible to contact authorities after he checked that he was a fugitive on the application’? A guy that returned fire killing the gunman was the one that told me the seller was supposed to contact authorities when this guy checked that box. My understanding is that the seller told the buyer he would not be able to purchase the gun with that box checked. The guy then scratches that out, initials his mistake and checks the box stating that he is not a fugitive. The guy not being from here shows no record but the police did find a record somewhere else and basically dropped the thing b/c the guys dead. Does a company have to contact authorities if a person checks that they are in fact a fugitive and/or is the company implicitly liable for telling the guy to change his answer?

    • fl_litig8r says:

      I’m still listening. I’d say your case really boils down to whether a jury believes that the seller actually thought the buyer had just made an error in checking the “fugitive” box, or whether it reasonably should have known that the guy was a fugitive (who they then coached into lying on the application just to make a sale). I can see how this might have some initial appeal to attorneys, but I think it’s naive to assume that a jury wouldn’t have some serious questions about whether the seller really thought that this guy was a fugitive. A jury could very well assume that the seller thought that the buyer checked the box by accident, because “what fugitive would be dumb enough to check that box?” It may very well be that the buyer checked the box by accident and that he was not a fugitive. You say that he had a record “somewhere else”, but you don’t say that he was an actual fugitive — these are two very different things. Was he an actual fugitive or not? Did the seller run a background check on the man which came back clean? If so, then you’ve got an even steeper hill to climb to prove that the seller should not only have not sold him the gun, but that it should have contacted authorities.

      I think the lawyers’ reluctance to take your case has nothing to do with who you want to sue and everything to do with the difficulty of proving that the seller didn’t think the man had just made an error when he checked the “fugitive” box. You’re asking people to believe that the seller really thought this man was a fugitive (one dumb enough to check the “fugitive” box) and that it coached him to changed his answer just to make a sale of what I’m assuming was a few hundred dollars. That’s not an easy sell unless the person who made the sale is a provably despicable human being.

  16. Mrs. Smith says:

    I wanted to ask quickly if you would allow me to post an Educational Law question. I see you practice in different areas but I didn’t want to assume you did or didn’t practice in Education Law. I have called 5 lawyers and they have all turned me down because they said it would be “a lot of work.”

    Thank you!

    • fl_litig8r says:

      Even though this is a personal injury site, I’m often asked questions outside that area, so feel free. I may not be able to give you a great answer on such a topic, but I’d be willing to take a stab at it.

  17. ARNOLD [last name removed by Admin] says:

    I firmly believe if you have PTSD and you was in the military you do not have to see COMBAT TO GO TO VETERAN MENTAL HEALTH CLINIC PTSD MEETINGS

  18. Lester [last name removed by admin] says:

    What kind of lawyer can I contact that WILL pursue a private insurance company that when your in a bad accident, drops you and leaves medicaid to pay all your hospital, rehab bills, and nursing home bills two months later I pass my FIRST AND ONLY COMPETENCY hearing? But now am left with no job because they fired me for my disability and the EEOC is involved

    • fl_litig8r says:

      I’d need to know specifically what reason the insurer gave for dropping you. If this was employer-based health insurance which you lost as a result of losing your job (and not signing up for COBRA), you can’t sue the insurer for that. You’d need to make the lost value of those benefits part of your discrimination claim against the employer.

  19. Lisa says:

    You need to write more articles if you’re getting this many replies to just one post! Reasons given to me: cost for attorney to pursue (did you mention they invest their own money on contingent cases?), past the first year to file even though there’s 3 years, afraid to sue the other side, not enough damages. The most sincere reply was the attorney who spoke to me about costs.

    Someone even told me not to pursue it on my own as I’d be sure to fail without an attorney. Maybe so, but doing nothing seems pretty stupid. From my side of it, most weren’t worth hiring. Some cited case law they weren’t familiar with. One was openly impressed I knew so much about the other side’s usual legal counsel and their tactics.

    It was horrifying (still is) to read the cases where experienced trial attorneys miss the filing deadline or fail to follow simple court rules. And those are people disfigured for life with no chance now of ever recouping any losses.

    • fl_litig8r says:

      Yes, typically personal injury attorneys front the money for costs, and if there is no recovery they lose that money. Some require clients to pay a retainer for costs, but they’re in the minority. Some lawyers who normally front the costs will require the client to pay the costs if the client’s case is an unusual gamble.

  20. Lisa says:

    What happens if you DO have a legal case and all bases covered but you can’t get a lawyer to listen to you, or let you past the door, to show documents that support all your saying! What if the hunt for a lawyer who WILL listen and immediatley after looking at the Medical documents will take the case! This is a timely matter, exhausting to say the least. Mentally for sure… I want to know if all this time in between LOOKING, FOR A lawyer..to help, and will prevail with out no doubt. I know the laws. the sol etc. If because you could NOT find a lawyer in time due to the rejection constantly give for what ever bogus reasons they give. What if you miss the SOL in NY to pursue. Because of their excuse my term but not ignorance but arrogance!
    who do you go to, that is at a HIGHER level than a “lawyer” is it the district attorney? I am beyond angered. I have a case. possibley more than one, AND AM SICK OF NOT BEING HEARD, AND DOCUMENTS NOT BEING LOOKED AT MY LAWYERS! as of last week. I have my PCP doctor look at the documents, and a second opinion from a psychologist. They do not know each other, and are both in 100 % agreement this is a viable LAWSUIT.

    • fl_litig8r says:

      There is no higher level of lawyer to go to. A district attorney prosecutes criminals — he doesn’t handle personal injury claims. You are stuck selling your case to private personal injury lawyers. If they won’t take it, you’re just out of luck. Clearly there is something about your case which is immediately turning lawyers off. You haven’t said what it is, but I guarantee that there’s something you’re not telling me — something you know is the reason they won’t even look at your claim. Without knowing what the big red flag is in your case, I can’t help you better present it to lawyers. Personal injury lawyers don’t just blow off potential clients without some reason. If you can tell me what this reason is (aside from chalking it up to ignorance or arrogance), maybe I can help. If you insist that there’s nothing wrong with your case, one which multiple attorneys have rejected out of hand, I can’t help.

  21. Robin says:

    My daughter’s independent contract was not renewed after she filed two complaints of verbal sexual abuse by customers at the business.
    She is a massage therapist, paid by the customers and paid a small hourly fee to the business to be able to have contracted work there. I think the business is filing wrong and all the massage therapists are employees not independent contractors at all. They tell the therapists HOW to do the massages (no legs, lower back, feet etc.), the business tells them what to wear, they must attend work meetings unpaid time, they are given their scheduled shifts – don’t set their own work time. There are reprimands and rules at the mandatory meetings. Massage therapists cannot hire assistants, they answer to a boss on the floor as well as managers at the site.
    This all sounds like an employee not an independent contractor to me. If my daughter is an employee she would have rights for being let go in retaliation for complaining about sexual verbal abuse by the customers, or for a hostile workplace. She did her job well, worked there a little over a year. Other massage therapists still work there as “independent contractors” paying the business $5 for every hour they are scheduled to work, again the bosses set and post the schedule for all therapists.

    Does my daughter have any recourse? Should she start with the IRA for possibly incorrect filing, or with an attorney? As her mom, I feel the lesson this business is sending is dangerous — that because they hire “independent contractors” massage therapists need to be quiet about harassment from customers — since the laws do not hold the business responsible unless they are the employer. The other massage therapists still working there certainly know to just “take it” or laugh it off or ignore it, because if they complain about sexual verbal harassment by the customers, the business will simply just not renew their contract, and need not give any reason at all.

    I feel like at least the IRS should look into whether the rules for independent contractors vs employees are being followed, an the labor dept too?

    Any recourse, or should my daughter just walk away and forget it?
    thank you
    Robin

    • fl_litig8r says:

      It sounds like she does have a case for being an employee versus and independent contractor, but I don’t know that this necessarily translates into any actionable Title VII claim. Those cases are difficult enough in admitted employer-employee situations. Adding the extra step of proving that she was an employee and then claiming that the person who was her “boss” didn’t respond to her complaint of harassment by a customer (not even a fellow employee, making the claim even more difficult) seems like too much of a stretch for most lawyers to want to take on. I don’t know that the EEOC or your state’s equivalent would be interested, either.

      This is something that the IRS may be interested in, however. I imagine that the business is set up in the “independent contractor” format to avoid paying employee-related taxes (as well as other things, like worker’s comp insurance), so if the business is crossing the line by treating contractors like employees, this could warrant an investigation. I don’t know that this gets your daughter anything, though, other than the satisfaction of sticking it to the business that mistreated her.

  22. Evelyn [last name removed by admin] says:

    My husband was given a drug for 12 years. It caused him to be confused so badly that he thought he was having black out spells. He could drive a car, work a computer, and other things during the black out spells. His doctor at the time told him that he was having absent siezers and was given medication for that. My husband was then sent to a Nurologist and he could not trigger the siezers so he ask for more test that our insurance would not pay for at the time. Well, that nurologist died and the next one we got gave him an EEG and then just started treating him. We found out about the medicain he was given first has caused all of his problems and that it was misrepresented by the company that released it. Here is my problem, I have proven my husband has suffered side effects for years and has been treated for side effects of one medicain. I have proven that he has suffered chemical poisoning from the medicain. I have lawyers that wanted this case until they try to get my husband medical records. Not one lawyer has been able to get them and I nor my husband can get them. This is hurting my husband’s health. The doctor’s will not release his records in which specialist have been requesting so they can better treat my husband. I have even had a doctor lie to one of the specialist helping my husband. I need help and even people where I live told me that we will never get anywhere with his case and that they would see him dead before he ever gets a dime. I have call the FBI when this happened and was told that the doctors don’t have to help my husband. I was told a terrorist treat to me and my family was legal. Please who can really help me now?

    • fl_litig8r says:

      I don’t know why the lawyers you consulted couldn’t get the records. Legally, doctors have to turn over medical records to the patient or someone who has an authorization from the patient. If needed, the lawyers could have filed suit to obtain the records, though it may be quicker to just report the failure to turn over the records to your state’s medical licensing authority. I can’t say why the lawyers chose not to pursue this, but you and your husband could certainly file a complaint with your state medical licensing authority on your own.

  23. Frustrated says:

    I informed my employer of alleged discrimination – in writing. I was harassed and terminated. I filed and EEOC complaint and though I didn’t know it at the time, for 13 months the EEOC botched their investigation. My former employer falsely incriminated me in a theft to the state police. I sued and received a jury verdict. Then, my former employers, claiming they were acting as individuals, sued me because they were named as defendants in my complaints. I complained again to the EEOC that I was suffering Retaliation and the EEOC refused to intervene. I requested my records from the EEOC and they blocked my request for 2 years, during my defense against my former employers. Now that I’ve got the EEOC records and can see how badly they handled my case and I believe some of the documents would have been material to my defense. I requested the EEOC reconsider their original findings based on their records and accept my new Retaliation complaint. The EEOC refused. To what higher authority than the EEOC can I appeal?

    • fl_litig8r says:

      You don’t need the EEOC to make finding of “cause” to file a discrimination lawsuit. It will issue a “Right to Sue” letter regardless of whether it found your complaint to have merit. You just have to request it, if they haven’t sent you one already. You haven’t said what type of discrimination you alleged (because some types don’t even require you go through the EEOC before suing), so I’ll just assume it’s a Title VII-based claim. You only have 90 days from the date you receive the “Right to Sue” letter in which to file your lawsuit (deadlines for different discrimination statutes can be found here). If you miss (or already missed) that deadline, you can’t sue and there is no higher authority that can help you.

  24. Tom says:

    But what happend to. anyone deserves a proper defense.. isnt that the law?? dont matter if your the one going to jail.. you have the right to have an attorney,. isnt it the same in a case. you have a right. and an attorney according the bar has an ethical obiliagtion to a person seeking help.. whats the point of being a lawyer if your not going to help people.. ITs not about money is the ethical oath and attorney takes… just like a doctor, even though there is a murderer he is taking care of,that maybe killed someone he knew.. HE may want to KILL him,while in his care. but cant becuase DR took oath to do NO harm… Alot of people getting to the point NOT liking attorneys and in long run ,they going run themselves out of business.. should take a case no matter how small, if they are problems.. should be a challenge to see how good he really is. and knows the Law.. That is a GOOD attorney.. ready to accept a challenge. NOT worry about a new car in his drive way..!!!

    • fl_litig8r says:

      No, attorneys aren’t and shouldn’t be required to take people’s civil cases, no matter how valueless or meritless they are. A personal injury practice is a business and lawyers need to turn down cases that don’t make good business sense. There are may lawyers who do pro bono work, but even a lawyer looking to take on pro bono cases will turn cases down that have little chance of winning. It’s not always about the value of the case, but the odds of winning as well.

      I find it pretty funny that you think that lawyers are afraid of society hating us even more than it already does. We know most people hate us. You’ll still hire us when you need us. People won’t not hire a lawyer just because they hate lawyers in general.

      As far as all your high-minded ideas about our job being some kind of calling, that’s Hollywood nonsense that most lawyers overcome within their first year of practicing actual law. It’s a job — often a very difficult job. Your ideas about us all being rich and having it easy is not the reality that most lawyers know. The fact is that there are a lot of bullshit cases being shopped around by a lot of unreasonable and often nasty people. If lawyers took all those cases, as in your perfect world, these cases would further clog an already overburdened court system and cause even more delay for cases that truly have merit and value.

      In short, your position is naive and demonstrates many misconceptions about how the legal system works (and how it wouldn’t work if your suggestions about how the way things “should be” became reality) and what it’s really like to be a lawyer. If you want to tilt at windmills, go to law school yourself and take all the “reject” cases you want.

  25. Maya says:

    Hello, I am hoping you can answer my question. Over one year ago, I used to work as a waitress for a restaurant. That time restaurant was just opened, and we were like 10 servers. The owner told us he will pay our salary, which is 2.35$ by Texas law later. So, I was working there from January until June, and I didn’t get my salary. When i was working there, I didn’t file any paper, all of us workers didn’t file anything. Basically we worked for tips. When time came, we asked for our promised salary, but he deleted everything from computer and didn’t pay us anything. What means that I don’t have any paper to prove that I worked there, except witnesses. Do you think I can win the deal, if I sue him and bring with me witnesses? I just want to sue him because he start telling me that he paid everybody and its a lie

    • fl_litig8r says:

      It sounds like your former employer violated several laws, including the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and several tax laws (which is probably the real reason he kept you off the books). If you didn’t claim the income you received from this job on your tax return, you may also have violated tax laws — though you may be able to fix this through an amended return, so don’t let it dissuade you from consulting an employment lawyer about suing your former employer. Also, any lawyer you consult would be bound by confidentiality, so he couldn’t rat you out to the IRS.

      I think it’s worth consulting with an employment lawyer. Even if the amount in dispute is small, a claim brought pursuant to the FLSA would allow you to recover attorney’s fees if you win, so lawyers may still be interested. In fact, it’s likely that they’d recover more than you would because the defendant would pay them based on a pretty high hourly rate for the time they spent on your case.

      As far as proof that you actually worked for this employer, other employees and any third party witnesses you have should be able to overcome the employer’s denials. I don’t see that as being a major hurdle, as long as you have at least one or two people who saw you working there.

  26. feeling like crap says:

    statue of limitations personal injury is three years and medical malpractice is five years in my state. i didn’t think i could sue and wanted to try recently, its been over three years but less than five and i can’t find a lawyer. the few lawyers i called had a problem with the statue of limitations since its been over three years. i guess this fell under personal injury to them, even though this happened in a hospital and it seems like malpractice. i feel like crap. im still suffering from the injury.

    • fl_litig8r says:

      I suspect you may be misreading your state’s medical malpractice statute of limitations, but I can’t be sure because you haven’t said what state this is. It is common for medical malpractice to have both a statute of limitation and a statute of repose, with the statute of limitations running from the date the plaintiff either knew or should have known that malpractice occurred and the statute of repose being a longer period of time running from the date the malpractice occurred, but barring all claims regardless of whether they should have been reasonably discovered. For example, you could have a 3 year statute of limitations and a 5 year statute of repose, either of which could bar your claim. In this example, if you discovered or should have discovered that you were the victim of malpractice more than 3 years ago, or more than 5 years have gone by since the malpractice occurred, your claim is barred. The statute of repose does not extend the statute of limitations. In fact, it places a cap on it.

      That being said, I can’t say whether your claim is medical malpractice or standard personal injury. If you slipped and fell in a hospital, it would probably be standard personal injury. It’s only medical malpractice if your injury is the result of being provided medical care — the fact that your injury happened in a hospital doesn’t automatically make it malpractice.

      If you want a better answer you need to tell me what state you’re in and briefly how your injury occurred.

      • feeling like crap says:

        the state is md. i was patient in e.r. i had different symptoms. i received different types of needle injections for one particular symptom, but wasn’t told the side effects (which causes symptoms i was already having and more), it caused me internal injury. thanks for the reply.

        • fl_litig8r says:

          I was right about the statute of limitations/statute of repose issue. The statute of limitations for med mal cases in Maryland is 3 years with a statute of repose of 5 years. It’s explained more thoroughly here. I think the lawyers you saw have a problem with when you should have reasonably discovered that you were harmed by malpractice, which starts the 3-year statute of limitations. If you are going to keep shopping this case around to other lawyers, be prepared to give a good reason as to why there was a delay in discovering the malpractice (why you didn’t discover it until less than three years ago). If you don’t have a convincing reason, no lawyer will take your case.

  27. Nathan D says:

    Hi,

    I was the victim of a stabbing back in 2012 and the person who did it eventually plead guilty to it in October of 2013. He was ordered to restitutions for the medical bills and served 4 months in jail. The injuries I sustained were life threatening and I would have died if I didn’t go into emergency surgery. I also had to have a follow up surgery a month after the incident to repair nerve damage that was caused, ultimately leaving me with permanent nerve damage and two 6-8 inch scars, one on my stomach and one on my arm. I would like to sue him in a civil court but every lawyer I have talked to refuses to take my case because he doesn’t own property and they don’t feel that it will be worth it for them, even though he has already plead guilty and I have permanent nerve damage and scars. Any suggestions on what my best options are?
    Thank you

    • fl_litig8r says:

      I think you’re going to have give up on suing him. It’s not a problem of winning, but of collecting anything. No insurer insures against one’s own intentional, criminal conduct, so you’d need to collect any judgment directly from the tortfeasor himself. Unless the tortfeasor is wealthy, it’s just not worth pursuing for most personal injury lawyers. We don’t like acting as collection agents against someone with no real money or assets. It would be more effort than the return would ever justify.

      • Nathan D says:

        What if I were to pay for the lawyer myself and then collect monthly payments from him for say the next 10 to 20 years?

        • fl_litig8r says:

          First, it’s probably optimistic to expect monthly payments from this person. Depending on your state, wage garnishment may not be available even if the person convicted of stabbing you manages to find decent employment some day. Second, most personal injury lawyers wouldn’t even consider an hourly rate job and those that would will charge you far more than you’re likely to recover. You can ask around to satisfy your curiosity. I just wouldn’t get my hopes up.

          I get that you want revenge. I would, too. I just don’t see this being a viable option.

          • Nathan D says:

            Well in response to what you said in terms of him not able to find decent employment the kicker is the main part of his defense was that he is “a hard working man with bills to pay” etc etc and even had his boss come in to trial in his defense. This in turn ended up with the judge allowing him to be on work release while serving out his sentence, and since he’s been released he is still employed by the same company to this day. Which means he is working and does have money to spare. So he definitely is employed and to my understanding makes decent money. So that’s why I was thinking if I were to offer a lawyer 5,000 dollars up front to represent me would the lawyer be able to negotiate some sort of terms where the defendant has to pay me a certain percentage out of each pay check until the debt is covered.

            For example, I had a friend who was at a bar when someone decided to smash him in the face with a beer mug which in turn lacerate his jugular vein and my friend almost bleed to death. Well, my friends family had money and hired a lawyer to sue him in court despite being told what most lawyers have been telling me, “if the person doesn’t have property or any significant assets it would be a waste of time.” Well, they ended up paying a lawyer who took his case and the outcome was that the defendant had to pay my friend a total sum of at least 20,000-50,000 dollars over the next 20 years where all payments would be deducted from the defendants weekly paychecks.

            I just don’t see why something like that cant be done in my case? And on a side note, I don’t really care how much money I get out of the kid I just want him to be reminded of what he did every day just like I am when I have to go through every day feeling the nerve damage and look at the ugly scars on my body due to some ass hole who got off way too easily in my opinion. Any advixce you could give me would be greatly appreciated. and if you are interest, I will give you 5,000 dollars up front as well as split a percentage of the winnings received if we win the case. Keep in mind he is already pleaded guilty, so it should be a walk in the park in my opinion.

            Thanks for any advice.

          • fl_litig8r says:

            You might be able to find a lawyer who will do this for an hourly fee. It should be a fairly simple matter from a liability standpoint to obtain a judgment. Of course, unless the defendant allows a default judgment to be entered, you’d still have to prove your damages, which would require time and expense that would likely exceed $5,000. I doubt that many lawyers would care about being cut in on a percentage of the recovery, as most lawyers aren’t looking to collect $50/week (or whatever) until a judgment is paid off. Whether wage garnishment is even an option at all depends on what state you’re in. Some states have exemptions that would preclude garnishment entirely, especially if the defendant has dependents he supports.

            Personal injury attorneys like getting paid right after they win or settle a case. The idea of having to perform collection activities to recover small amounts over a long period of time isn’t very attractive. Collecting $20-50,000 over 20 years might sound o.k. to you, but when an attorney can collect that in few months on another case that doesn’t require any collection activities, it just doesn’t entice us to take that kind of case.

            As I said you, may find someone who will take the case on an hourly rate. You’ll probably need to ask a lot of lawyers before you find one, though. To us, it’s more of a pain in the ass than a walk in the park. A walk in the park is sending out a demand letter and an insurer immediately paying its policy limits — not having to obtain a judgment and then acting as a collection agent for the next 20 years.

  28. cs says:

    I’ve hired a personal injury attorney and he filed a lawsuit on my behalf with the court two months ago. A little while later when I asked about the case, he said that the defendants had been served.
    Recently I called the courthouse and they confirmed that the lawsuit had been filled but that they hadn’t recieved any proof of service. They also said that no answer or anything else had been filled.
    I emailed my attorney and he said that he had appearerd at the last case management conference and knows about the other CMC coming up in a few weeks and that he was told the defendants had been served.
    Are there usually two CMC in the initial three month period after a lawsuit had been filled? Im worried if defendants havent been properly served , the judge may dismiss the case. The statute of limitations will be up before the CMC. Although I’ve already filled this lawsuit, if it gets dismissed after SOL, can it be refiled? My attorney said he will be calling me when he got into town. What questions should I ask him? Im also concerned that there hasn’t been a response filled yet. Should I be worried?

    Thank you. (Im in California) .

    • fl_litig8r says:

      In California, a defendant must be served with a civil complaint, and proof of that service needs to be filed with the court within 60 days of the complaint having been filed. This deadline can be extended by the court as long as the party moves for the extension before the initial time lapses and shows good cause for the extension (e.g., diligent efforts to perform service and good reason why they were not yet successful). If the case gets dismissed for failure to effect service in time, and it’s beyond the statute of limitations, it cannot be refiled. Therefore, it’s important for your lawyer to make good efforts to obtain service if he hasn’t already, and to request a timely extension of the deadline before it runs out — and to keep getting further extensions, if necessary, before the last one runs out. As long as he keeps getting extensions and ultimately obtains service on the defendant, you’re safe. The filing of the complaint was all that was needed to satisfy the statute of limitations. Service can occur after the statute runs. You just need to avoid having the case dismissed for not obtaining timely service, because if that happens after the statute runs, your case is over for good.

      I don’t know what type of case management conferences are being held in your case. It’s kind of a vague catch-all term that can apply to many different types of hearings. These could be hearings where you lawyer is getting extensions to obtain service. These could be generic conferences automatically set when a lawsuit gets filed, but in your case needed to be rescheduled because the defendant hadn’t been served before the first scheduled date. I have too little information to give you a useful answer. Don’t be afraid to ask your lawyer these questions.

  29. cs says:

    Thank you. I just saw that proof of service was filed with the court (whew!). Apparently here, the plaintiff has another 60 days to file proof of service after the defendant is served, so we are in the clear.
    I think my attorney has done everything right. Now if I can just do some damage control because of me thinking otherwise, it should be OK (he’s actually pretty nice).

    Thanks again. You really give excellent, detailed information. You are so appreciated.

    • fl_litig8r says:

      We all occasionally suffer from “foot in mouth” disease. I’ve gotten over some early bumpiness and doubts with clients pretty easily, so hopefully he will, too.

  30. Faith [last name removed by admin] says:

    [Name removed by admin] is a widely known dishonest attorney, his wife is a prosecuting attorney for the same state- [personally identifying information removed by admin]. I have legal documents of discrimination and my civil Rights. Attorneys are afraid of him due to his ability to manipulate the system and having people of power in all of these places, he is known for his dishonesty he has affiliates at the bar association and the Office of Civil Rights. I am going to fight for my rights regardless of his power and manipulation. I have documents most people would not have because I kept all originals. Any suggestions ?

    • fl_litig8r says:

      I don’t allow people’s names or clearly identifying information to be posted here, especially when they may be used to claim libel. This protects both me and the commenters. Please refrain from posting such information if you choose to post again. I don’t need it to answer questions.

      While some attorneys may not be willing to sue certain people or organizations (such as law enforcement), there will always be at least one or two in any area that will, provided the plaintiff has a good case. Plaintiffs’ attorneys sue big, scary entities all the time, so I’m not convinced that your problem with finding a lawyer is that everyone’s afraid the person you want to sue. It may be that you just haven’t talked to enough lawyers, or that you have the wrong impression about the quality of your case. I would suggest searching for lawyers who are known to sue law enforcement in your area, as they will certainly be familiar with civil rights lawsuits and they aren’t afraid to sue someone who, in a theoretical sense, could make life difficult for them. As an aside, I’m one of those lawyers who has sued law enforcement quite often and I’ve never experienced any kind of retaliation or harassment — so it’s really not like in the movies where the lawyer or his family are suddenly being pulled over or having drugs planted on them.

      You haven’t said how your civil rights were violated (it’s a really broad spectrum of possibilities) or how you were discriminated against (race, gender, religion, etc.), so I have no idea whether you have a potential basis for a lawsuit at all. My only suggestion would be, as I stated above, to keep looking for the right kind of lawyer, because lay people who try to bring civil rights lawsuits on their own practically never win.

  31. confused says:

    Hello. I want to know what we can do about a military situation but as well as civilian. Military did something, not site yet, but paperwork has been altered as well as forged, and my sister was having problems with two under enlisted soldiers saying she would tell us everything when she got home but supposedly suffered a medical issue on the plane she was on and passed in a civilian hospital by a civilian Dr. I have prove that the civilian Dr Lied on most to all parts ad’s another Dr actually tried to Fix what the first Dr Did that led to death. No one wants the case because my sis was active duty coming home and the military has that Claus that no one can sure sue them for death of soldier on active duty no matter what… I’m embarrassed to say our military can get away with murdering our own

    • fl_litig8r says:

      I’m really sorry, but I just don’t know enough about the ins and outs of the immunities the military has to even speculate about your options. This is really something that a lawyer with a lot more experience handling claims against the military would need to advise you about.

      • confused says:

        Thank you so much. There is a law that keeps any one from going after military and I feel do hopeless when I look at my mother and think of what my sis went through and to know we are lied to. She did pass in a civilian hospital after an emergency landing by a civilian Dr but all her military paperwork has been altered, changed, forged, and to think, she was deployed one before and got awarded a Purple Heart for getting shot and not even that kept her away, she asked to be deployed because she her life was military!! But thank you very much and I will keep trying to see what I can do… Thank you for your time!!

  32. Shannon says:

    I parked my vehicle in a small strip-mall parking lot with an ATT store, Suntan City, B-Robins, PennStation etc. I went in the store 1:32-1:47 to tan. When I came out someone had hit my vehicle. There was a witness that saw a large suv cut through the two empty spaces next to my vehicle, stop & then drive off fast. The owner has no cameras on the property. Suntan City has zero cameras, but the other business have them. The problem is that they do not go past their front doors or they just get the drive through at Cash Land store. They did $1885 worth the damage to my vehicle. They just kept going instead of stopping, so they went down the sliding door, wheel well, panel & bumper. Can the owner of the strip mall be held accountable in anyway? There are not any signs posted that state “park at your risk” “not responsible for lost or stolen items” etc. I am in KY. Thank you for time!

    • fl_litig8r says:

      It’s very unlikely that the strip mall owner can be held liable for this. They don’t need to post signs warning you to park at your own risk or have security cameras. The only way I can see them possibly being held liable is if the crash were caused by some defect in the parking lot, like a blind corner or some other hazard which a reasonable person would see as likely to cause accidents. If this is just a matter of a bad driver hitting your car, the strip mall owner isn’t liable for that. They aren’t insurers of every vehicle that parks in their lot. That’s what personal collision/comprehensive coverage is for on your auto insurance policy.

  33. Nicholas [last name removed by admin] says:

    I am a Canadian citizen and I’ve been terminated from my job for what they said was misconduct at work I believe I have been set up for a false termination and now just got turned down to collect money from unemployment insurance for what the company said I got fired / terminated for misconduct ? Dose there seem to be a problem because I smell a fish ?

    • fl_litig8r says:

      I’m sorry, but I know absolutely nothing about Canadian employment laws. Even in the U.S., states vary on when employees can sue for wrongful termination, with most adopting the position that you can be fired for any reason (even a false one) as long as the real reason for termination isn’t expressly illegal (such as discrimination based on race, gender, age, etc.). You’d need to consult a Canadian employment lawyer to see if you have any basis to sue. It would be helpful if you told that lawyer the real reason you suspect you were fired, as being fired for a pretextual reason is likely not enough unless the real reason is something prohibited by law.

  34. Rui V. says:

    I’m on federal work comp benefits (Injury at work) and I’m try to hire an attorney but he wants $3000.00 up-front.Is this normal and if yes what they do with money.He told me the state (Florida) demands them to charge this amount before they take a case like mine.Thanks for your time and services.

    • fl_litig8r says:

      There is no legal requirement in Florida to charge a certain fee up front for any kind of case. Perhaps you misunderstood what he said, as federal worker’s compensation claims under FECA do require that attorneys charge their clients on an hourly basis. Contingency fees are not allowed under FECA, so it would be expected that attorneys would require a retainer for such cases, as they do in almost all cases which are billed hourly. The attorney then collects his fees from this retainer on a periodic basis, once the court approves his submitted fee documentation. If the retainer runs out, he can require that it be replenished or bill you directly afterward — again, after the court approves his fee claim.

      In short, there is a legal requirement that FECA cases be billed on an hourly basis (but this is a matter of federal law, not Florida law), so it’s normal for a FECA lawyer to require a retainer before taking such a case. While this can create a hardship for claimants up front, it usually works out saving them money in the end versus state worker’s comp claimants who pay a percentage of their recovery.

      • Rui V. says:

        Thanks for your help and I feel much better about it.Your site is of a great help to all of us.Thanks again !

  35. Angel C says:

    pril 8, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    I work for the state of NY and the elevator door at work opened and closed abruptly slamming me between the door. I was slammed from right to left injuring my right shoulder arm right side my breast and chest. its also now affecting my neck and collar bone. I had surgery on Rt shoulder and is still undergoing treatment at this time. I am also still out of work at a total 100% loss. I contacted an attorney tried bringing a claim against elevator company for personal injury but now it came back saying the owner of the elevator company had no insurance and owes the IRS a large sum of money I don’t know what to do now. the lawyer i contacted said he did a freedom of information act request and the documents which would include the contract with the elevator servicing company as well as the service history.

    the attorney reported to me that the summons and complaint was served upon the secretary of state on behalf of the elevator company. Attorney did not receive a response to complaints but received contract from my job. attorney then called the elevator contact name and number. the person the attorney spoke with said he sold the business 12 years ago and claims that the new purchaser has been using his address.but did not give up the new purchasers name or insurance information.He also told attorney that he doesn’t think that the new company has insurance and that he is also aware that the new owner has tract problems and owes the IRS $150,000.
    I need to find an attorney to look into this matter for me . I dont know what to do. This accident occurred 23 months ago.

    Please respond as soon as possible thank you

    Angel
    Reply

    • fl_litig8r says:

      It does sound like some more investigative work could be done before giving up on the case. Taking the original owner’s claim about the new owner not having insurance and owing a huge tax lien at face value doesn’t seem very thorough, especially when you don’t even have the name of the new owner. In New York, negligence and products liability cases both have a three-year statute of limitations, so you still have some time left. If your current lawyer doesn’t want to pursue the matter any further, you should try to find someone else who may be willing to pick up where he left off. I’d imagine that your current lawyer would be willing to forward your file to a potential new lawyer (or give you a copy, which you may have to pay for), so you definitely should get a second opinion. You have over a year left to sue, so if the case is viable you should have plenty of time to find a new lawyer. Hit those phones!

  36. Fatemeh [last name removed by admin] says:

    I apologize for taking your time by asking an unrelated question, but I don’t know who else to ask.
    I was permanently injured during a brain surgery. I am asked to write an arbitration letter to the hospital, but I don’t know what it is and what to write. I was told health department could help me. I called. There is no live respondent in any of the centers. Would you kindly tell me who else could help me? God bless you.

    • fl_litig8r says:

      I have no experience with medical malpractice arbitration. As far as I know, this is pretty rare. Are you in the U.S.? Either way, before doing anything you should consult a medical malpractice attorney. Med mal claims in general are almost impossible to win pro se. Because yours involves a significant injury, as long as it appears that negligence occurred you shouldn’t have any trouble finding an interested lawyer.

  37. Andy says:

    I have and attorney , were meeting on the 6th of this month because I have finished treatment and am as good as expected i can be , I will give you the case details then the questions I have.

    I was returning home from work and traveling straight I saw a truck backing across roadway , I slowed to allow the truck to complete what he was doing . A woman traveling behind me ran into the back of my vehicle totalling it and pushing in the back a foot and buckling it in the middle.

    Cops came to the scene and the woman stated she never saw me or tried to brake , the driver of the truck that was turning in the Road stayed and said he saw her traveling at a high rate of speed and never attempted to stop . The driver of the vehicle that struck me was young and very pretty , they didn’t cite her for anything but did include her statements in the report.

    Liability isn’t and issue , she is 100% at fault. I went to the ER they diagnosed severe concussion . I had numbness in my left hand and saw in my med file that from and accident three years prior i had a disc bulge at l3-l6 and assumed that I had aggravated that again as that can cause those symptoms. They suggested physical therapy. They also noted I had torn up the top of my foot from glass shards( i have scarring from this).

    I followed up with my primary and he also stated he thought it was a reaggravation of a prior injury and since we know I have bulged discs no reason to get and MRI or Catscan and that Commerce would be happy to cover PT for my Injury . And her referred me a local commerce recommended PT place . I went for three months until they said I was as good as could be expected to recover. I had twelve appointments in 2.5 months.

    My lawyer got copies of my med bills but the PT place never answered his letter so I went and got copies. According to there records including the initial screening they said I only went five times?, three times in a 15 day period right before discharge, I had gone twice a week most of that time and my PT person had told me when discharged it was my 12th visit. I notified my lawyer about this , there bill was only 1270.00, and i find it hard to believe they didn’t get paid for the other 7 appointments.

    In mass you need 2k in medical bills to file a PI claim , I added what commerce “thought” my medical bills were prior to PT , and add the fake pt bill I’m a hundred under the statute to there math, that in conjuction with missing pt billing seems like bad faith trying to prevent a PI bill. they were missing a few hospital charge so i am over 2k.

    Here are my questions

    1.) The guy turning illegally in the middle of the road was on duty for a local car dealership and was returning to one dealership when he was called back to another he was turning around to go back blocking the road, he told the officers as much. My lawyer doesn’t know if he should do so even though he has in the past, I think he should because I feel he shouldn’t have been in the road, so feel they should pay something not trying to get rich even a couple grand to show they screwed up.

    2.) I had recovered from the first accident had no recurrent numbness and now its back ( I own a computer repair business my hands are somewhat important). The scarring on my foot covers half the top and isn’t going away. Only 2500 in medical bills because I can’t reasonably expect to get any better, thats pretty cavalier of them, I’m left with old issues that I had gotten over, a year later so I doubt that changes, should a settlement reflect that.

    3.) I am furious at the two cops that came to the scene clearly my car was totalled , bent in the middle but listed her speed as the speed limit. She told them and included her statement that she never saw me on a straight road and broad daylight , where the hell was she looking, cited her for nothing, extremely attractive female two 20ish unmarried police officers. Not that fault is at issue but I strongly believe a Judge or jury should it go to trial would find that messed up and punish her for it.

    4.) The adjusters for commerce given missing pt billing etc looks pretty clear they were attempting to fudge the numbers to prevent a PI claim statutorily , isn’t that bad faith . In Mass you can get treble damages at trial under deceptive business practice, they have a duty of good faith and fair dealing. Added to point three I think this might add to case value.

    Im not looking to retire off this I own a business , I am not even attempting to claim lost income far to hard to quantify. What I do want is a fair settlement with “all” parties and compensation for what I am left with. I don’t think three times medical covers that and I believe its worth at minimum filing the papers.

    I could use some good advice of what to say to my lawyer and whats reasonable or what you would seek in a case like this .

    • fl_litig8r says:

      1) I can see why your lawyer might balk at going after the truck driver. Your damages are relatively small and can be fully covered from the driver who hit you, so bringing a claim against another party should technically not add anything to your case. They may throw some “nuisance value” money your way to avoid a lawsuit, so it might be worth a settlement demand, but I doubt that it would be worth actually suing them because you’re doubling the work without increasing the total recovery at all. Massachusetts still applies joint and several liability (based on my extensive 10 minutes of research), so you don’t run the risk of an empty chair defendant being assigned part of the damages and losing out on the amount. The jury would award one amount of damages regardless of the number of defendants, so if that can be completely covered by one defendant why bother suing another?

      2) Should a settlement reflect what? Your additional pain and suffering from the aggravation of a preexisting condition? Yes. Whatever pain or emotional distress results from the scarring to your foot? Yes (though I wouldn’t count on that being worth much unless you were a foot model or this scarring causes actual discomfort).

      3) I don’t see why a jury would punish the female driver because of the wrongful acts of the police. It’s not her fault that she’s attractive or that the police cut her a break because of it. They’ll punish her for being negligent, but I don’t see how the police screwing up the report generates any anger towards her. A jury would be angry at the police, and rightfully so.

      4) I don’t see the motivation for the physical therapy place to intentionally try to prevent your PI claim. It’s not like they’d have to pay any of your damages, and charging less than what they are entitled to for the services provided sounds like pretty bad business. This sounds more like incompetence than malice to me. I really don’t see you having an independent claim against the PT place because I just can’t see the case for them intentionally trying to prevent your PI claim. Have you tried addressing this with them directly? I assume they’d want to correct a billing error that results in them getting more money.

      I’m not going to give you a dollar figure that you should seek in your case. You have a lawyer who is in a far better position to evaluate your case than I am.

  38. Justin [last name removed by admin] says:

    I have a question involving an auto accident.

    My mother was a passenger in a vehicle that was hit by a medical transport vehicle(transports people in wheelchairs, etc). My mother went directly from the accident scene, to the hospital, and after being misdiagnosed, was found to have Cervical Stenosis, and a collapsed disk. So a couple months later, she had surgery, but unfortunately, she died 5 days after the surgery(while still in the hospital).

    So we have a lawyer representing us in our med-mal lawsuit, against the hospital, but they just notified us that they wont be able to represent us in filing any claim against anyone involved in the auto accident part of my mom’s case. They cite the fact that my mother’s initial hospital bills were less than 10,000 dollars, and that she(my mom) was on medicaid. I guess medicaid would have to be paid back before anyone else received any money(if we sued and won a judgment).

    Also there is no clear ideal who was responsible for the auto accident. Like i mentioned, my mom was a passenger in her friends vehicle. They were headed to work when this vehicle hit them on the right side, towards the rear tire. My mother’s friend was making a left turn(at a green turn arrow)when they were hit. A police report was taken but it doesn’t say who was at fault.

    The accident happened on June 26, 2013, in Califorina, and the statue of limitations is coming up soon. So we need help ASAP.

    My question is, should me and my family try to sue(in small claims court) the driver(employee) of the vehicle who hit the car that my mom was in, or the owner(employer) of that vehicle(he wasn’t driving)?

    What about the insurance companies of all three people(my mother’s friend, the driver of the vehicle who hit them, or the owner of that vehicle)?

    And what about trying to find another lawyer ? Would that be harder because one lawyer has already decided to not take the case.

    I understand that its a complicated situation, but i find it hard to accept that even though my mother died as a result of medical malpractice(what we believe), the person who set everything in motion(the driver of the vehicle)is apparently not going to have to face any consequences. My mother was totally innocent in all of this, but she paid the highest price.

    Thanks.

    • fl_litig8r says:

      I’m really not sure why the lawyers handling the malpractice case weren’t interested in the original accident as well. Assuming that you could prove fault by either driver (clearly your mother wouldn’t be at fault, so fault will be assigned to one or both of them) and that the malpractice occurred during treatment for her injuries from the original accident, the at-fault party would be liable for all of her damages, including those caused by the malpractice. Here’s a link to the California Jury Instruction regarding this type of situation.

      It may be that the med mal lawyers don’t see much added value in bringing in the pre-malpractice injuries and feel that the hospital and physicians sued have enough coverage to pay her malpractice damages. It really is a judgment call as to whether it’s worth it to sue the drivers. You wouldn’t be able to double-dip and recover the malpractice damages from both the at-fault driver(s) and the physicians, so it may be hard to find a lawyer willing to take the auto accident case knowing that the malpractice damages are being sought elsewhere. It might be worth looking at just to see if their insurers will quickly pay something to make it go away. I’d talk to some other lawyers about that part of the case before the statute runs just to get a second opinion.

      I don’t think suing the drivers in small claims court is a good idea. Aside from your damages being capped at the small claims limit ($10,000 in CA), you’d have to deal with the medicaid lien yourself. I doubt that it’s worth going through all that trouble just to pay most of any recovery to medicaid.

  39. Steve says:

    Hello:

    You have a very helpful and informative website, unfortunately I did not find it sooner.

    I have some questions that I hope will shed some light on my situation and what would be best for me to do now.

    The story is long and I will do my best to give you the pertinent information and keep it as brief as possible. (After I wrote everything, brief was not possible).

    Car accident in NJ while driving a PA licensed vehicle. Rear ended other driver struck the rear of my vehicle which was not moving.

    Two herniated discs and a damaged nerve.

    Cause of accident per police report and sworn testimony of striking driver was a vehicle that swerved in and then out blocking his view (phantom vehicle).

    This information may not be pertinent, I am including it so that you have this in case it is pertinent. My attorney not licensed in NJ, whether he acted correctly with regard to Pro Hoc Vice or not is undetermined. I mention this because the accident was in 2008 and everything kept getting delayed repeatedly and then finally arbitration was scheduled within a very short period of time after my attorney became licensed in NJ in 2012. My attorney did go to court in NJ, there were settlement conferences, meetings with the judge etc. prior to his becoming licensed. The judge told my attorney that juries were not awarding very much and that this should be tried in PA if at all possible. In NJ even if you have full tort in PA, you are deemed as having limited tort. This was a phantom vehicle case and therefore this could be tried in PA. Non binding arbitration in NJ and we lost, threshold not met.

    The insurance company for the driver of the car in NJ who struck my vehicle settled for an amount of 20,000 and my fee agreement was 1/3rd to my attorney and costs come out of my share. To my attorney’s credit, he did allow me to retain half of the costs until the UIM (phantom case) was settled or won in PA. The amount was approx. 7,000 and he would take that from the amount of the settlement or award when and if we prevailed in PA.

    Now the problems start. In PA, my attorney did not allow me to choose between a jury trial and arbitration. My only choice was one arbitrator or three and I chose three. I didn’t know that I had a choice, I am still not sure if I had a choice nor what my decision would have been. I understand that my attorney may have been trying to save money, still did he have a requirement to let me make this decision?

    Next, my insurance company delayed allowing me to accept the money from the NJ drivers insurance company leading to a bad faith situation. My attorney told me that this would be serious (depending on the outcome of the UIM arbitration), if we won serious, if we lost not serious. Due to a different case that my attorney was involved in he had to delay my arbitration in PA and this caused him to need to file the bad faith case without knowing the outcome of the arbitration. I asked him by email if this would continue at the same fee agreement rate that we had been working with previously and he responded “Yes”.

    We lost the arbitration or at least he said that we lost (I had difficulty getting documentation and he finally sent me a fax copy of the neutral’s decision, there is no case number attached and I have no way to look this up and need to go on blind faith as to whether or not we actually lost).

    Less than 60 seconds before the arbitration my attorney told me that he got an offer the night before from the opposing counsel and that he did not tell me about it because he knew that I would never accept this amount of 10,000. The opposition’s arbitrator was standing there and he said, “I will pretend that I didn’t hear that”. Well we lost the arbitration, apparently the arbitrators said they did not believe the accident was caused by the phantom vehicle.

    Just a note that is probably non relevant, most of the lawyers on both sides are friends and play golf together or socialize together.

    Now things get really messy. My attorney was so upset and shocked by the loss that you would think that he was the one in constant pain. He kept telling me by text that he would call and he did not, again and then again and then a third time and then finally when we spoke he became hostile. I asked him to send me the terms of the arbitration and he kept putting me off and then finally he said that it was in the insurance policy. He said that the bad faith case was now in doubt and I asked him what would have happened if we had accepted the offer, he never answered this question. I asked him why he didn’t give me the opportunity to look at the offer and discuss it with him because I would have asked him what the maximum was that we could expect at arbitration and then depending on his answer, I would have very likely asked him to make a counter offer or a high / low offer if that was allowed. Note: in NJ, they made an offer and I told him to make a counter offer which they accepted.

    At this point he became extremely defensive and worried that I was going to sue him. He was the one who alerted me to the fact that not presenting the offer was wrong. He curses and yells a lot and I keep my composure, the phone calls are uncomfortable. He told me that I may not have attorney / client privilege anymore because I talked to three friends and my parents about the case. I then realized that something was very wrong and was very upset that he would threaten my attorney client privilege. It took me a few weeks to realize that my attorney client privilege was something that yes, I would like to retain, but if it was threatened that I physically could if I wanted put all of our emails and all of our text messages in full on a website of searchable pdf files. I figured if he wanted to intimidate me that he might want to realize the possibility of a backfire. In the meantime, I have been and I still am trying to bring the communication back to “workable” because I see no point in throwing the case(s) out of the window and I don’t see another attorney picking up the pieces at this point. Next conversation, he threatens to turn me over to the IRS and he gets upset with my response of “I don’t think that you should and I don’t give you permission. but I am not concerned because all of my taxes are in order and correct”.

    So, why is trying to intimidate me? Well, he wanted to renegotiate the fee agreement for the bad faith case and told me he needed to do this to recover the expenses from the case that he lost in order to justify this to his partners. He just sent me a fee agreement for 50/50 and said that I never responded to his suggestion of 50/50, but that I agreed to accept this split. I asked him how I could have agreed if I never responded? It simply does not make sense. I actually did respond and asked him the amount that he needed to recover to be fair to him. I do agree that while I have no obligation towards these expenses (we both lost), that it would be fair because of the 7,000 that I mentioned earlier and I am willing to be reasonable and work with him, but he can’t just assume an amount and send a fee agreement. The second part of why is he trying to intimidate me is because a couple of years ago I kept getting over billed by a very large entity. It is complex and I figured it out because it is in very small amounts and the average person simply wouldn’t be able to see the discrepancies in the bills. I caught it because I am broke and 40 dollars here and 50 dollars there adds up. It took me 5 times to explain it to him, visits to my home, visits to his office, spreadsheets etc. and finally he understood and he said, “if this is real then you have discovered something really big”. He wrote back and forth to the company over a period of two years and their response actually implicated them further. He told me that this was a class action law suit and that as lead plaintiff I would not get much. He also stated in his emails that I was represented by an attorney now meaning himself. For two years plus, I have been telling him repeatedly that either he do something or let me go to the press or the regulation body and expose this alleged scam. So, when he assumed the re negotiation at 50/50 and threatened to breach my attorney client privilege I figured that if he could re negotiate that I could counter offer so I told him that he could take the bad faith case at 15/85 and then have his class action case (he wanted this as a class action and told me that this was the way to get “go away money”, of course money would help, but this is also very much about principal.

    He is now essentially accusing me of blackmail:

    In response to my email (pertinent portion) I write:

    Your letter states:

    “I should remind you that there is a chance that the Court will order payments of costs and attorney fees if the bad suit is successfully prosecuted. It that’s the case, then the costs would not come out of the gross recovery and the attorney fees that were awarded by the Court would be added into the gross recovery.”

    Note: This would seem to mean that you would be paid the costs by the defendant and that I would be entitled to a share of your attorneys fees? This makes no sense.

    On our phone conversation on Friday you said”

    “If the court awards attorney’s fees, then you would get attorney attorney’s fees only and that I would get the full amount of the award and you will not be entitled to any percentage of the award.

    Note: This does not match what you wrote in your letter, nor does it make sense. PLEASE EXPLAIN!

    He wrote (pertinent portion):

    “I agree that there have been misunderstandings regarding the fee structure that I suggested regarding the “redacted” suit for Bad Faith damages. What I suggested is a split of all gross recovery at a 50/50 basis. If you did not understand that the gross recovery would include attorney fees if they were awarded by the court, we could have discussed that and I would have been happy to clarify, discuss, amplify, etc. Instead, you sent me a number of threatening, insulting, mystifying emails threatening to go to the bar association, to smear my firm in the social media and so on, and you essentially demanded that is I didnt handle your cases at a 15% fee, and absorb all costs that you would take all of this action.”

    End of the pertinent part of his email.

    What I actually said was:

    Make a fee agreement with the 85/15 you absorb costs on “redacted” and a class action as you wanted (provided this is legal)
    or
    1/3rd standard on “redacted” again you absorb damages since my Dad and I did all of the work, with the intention of go away money (provided your idea of go away money is legal) and then we can discuss something tiered and considering net and with limits with regard to “redacted”.

    >>NOTE: I said damages and I meant costs.

    Finally:

    I never presented him with a “conditional statement”, I responded to his threat to my attorney / client privlege that if that is the case then I might just put it up on a website for the world to see and he then threatened to “sue me for the rest of my life”.

    The essence: I don’t see a point in dropping the case and leaving money on the table. We have the internet now so maybe I am just an educated client who doesn’t follow blindly and probably a pain in the neck too, but that doesn’t give him the right to not present me with an offer and to threaten my attorney client privilege.

    My questions are:

    Did my attorney have a duty to give me a choice of arbitration or jury?
    Was one minute before arbitration a suitable amount of time to convey an offer which was received by my attorney the day before?
    Would accepting an offer, counter offer or high / low situation have enhanced the bad faith case?
    Note: My logic is that if the max in arbitration was 50,000 and we accepted 20,00 then this would have been better than a loss, but I don’t know if this is true?
    Do I have a right to post my communications with my attorney to a website of my own creation?
    Should I report him to the bar association?
    How in the world can I salvage my case without getting stuck?
    What is your advice?

    I apologize that this is so long, it is 6 and a half years in a nutshell, lots of pain and I am dealing with someone who has become exceedingly difficult and threatening. Your advice is greatly appreciated.

    • fl_litig8r says:

      1. If your policy required your consent to arbitrate (and that isn’t a given in PA), then your lawyer should have left this decision to you after advising you of his preference. I can’t say whether him choosing arbitration for you would be an ethics violation, as many matters of where and how cases are filed (for example, in state or federal court where both are available) are often made solely by the attorney. Many decisions regarding how a matter should be litigated are made independently by the lawyer without the client’s approval being needed. Whether this decision would fall under that purview depends on how the PA state bar sees the issue.

      2. Maybe. If the offer was still open and could have been accepted when he told you, what real harm was done by the delay? Sure, it’s always better to convey time-sensitive offers as soon as you can, but whether this delay ultimately made any difference is something I can’t say. Maybe a counter-offer wouldn’t have been entertained. Maybe a counter-offer couldn’t have been conveyed the prior evening at all because of the unavailability of defense counsel, so any counter-offer, which still presumably could have been made at the arbitration (I’ve talked settlement during trial), would have been made at the time of the arbitration anyway.

      3. I don’t know what type of bad faith case you were bringing (there is more than one), so I really can’t say. First party bad faith claims are usually dependent on laws specific to the states in which they are brought, and I don’t know enough about PA law to guess what type of claim you had.

      4. If you do this, you are waiving any attorney-client privilege as to those communications. Additionally, if you editorialize them (as opposed to just posting the communications with no commentary) you may be sued for libel. That being said, you have the right. I really wouldn’t recommend it, though. Lawyers tend to be litigious about such things. Even posting the communications without any commentary might open you up to a “false light” defamation case.

      5. I’ve gotten one side of a pretty complicated story, and from the communications you posted above with your lawyer, it appears as though certain things which seem nefarious to you are actually just a misunderstanding. For example, the way fees are handled in a case where court-awarded fees are a possibility is often done as your lawyer describes, with the fees being added to the gross award and then the whole thing being split according to the percentage agreement. Another example is where you think your lawyer is threatening you about the attorney-client privilege. I failed to see the threat here. He’s right that if you discuss the communications with your lawyer with a third party, you waive the privilege as to those communications. I didn’t see how this was a threat. It’s not like he said he was going to share your communications with anyone himself. So I really can’t say if your lawyer has done anything that would be considered an ethics violation.

      6 & 7. I don’t know enough about your bad faith case, or even the theory under which it is brought, to say whether anything can be salvaged. It seems as though you’ve had some serious miscommunications and misunderstandings with your lawyer, which probably weren’t helped by your lawyer being a hothead, and I don’t know if you two can patch things up and continue to work together or if any other lawyer would want to get involved in such a mess at this point. I wouldn’t.

      • Steve says:

        Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions.

        This is very much appreciated. Unfortunately, I didn’t hear what I wanted to hear, but I asked you because I have read the posts and your responses and you tell it like it is and not necessarily what people want to hear. I wanted the truth as opposed to being placated and I thank you for your candor.

        In fact I wish that there was something that I could do for you for saving me a lot of aggravation and if there is then please let me know.

        Obviously, you don’t have both sides of the story and rather than belabor the issue of his professionalism, (hothead will suffice as an understatement), I would like to leave the door open for a few more questions later if that is okay?

        For the moment, I have just these two: With regard to the accident case, is there any way for me to check out whether or not I really lost the arbitration? (Clearly, you don’t have the whole story and I have what I feel are valid reasons not to trust this man), regardless of trust, I cannot see the validity of a system that requires me to trust him and I should be able to verify the outcome of my case independently, how can I get this information?

        With regard to the second case that I mentioned which involves a very large entity “apparently” over billing in small amounts and hitting potentially millions of consumers with illegitimate bills. I told him by email every few months to either take action and send me a fee agreement or just let me present it to the press and to the regulatory agency. Each time that I pressed it, instead of just telling me to move forward in any direction that I chose, he would ask me to draft an email, re-explain the situation, correct his email and tell me that this could be a class action suit, a breach of contract suit to begin discovery and determine just how wide scale their actions are etc. and he has successfully delayed me for about two years with empty promises and small actions. Now, I have no fee agreement and so much time has passed that I can’t really do anything. Is he allowed to just lead me on and then simply do nothing?

        Note: The big problem with taking it to someone else is that his correspondence (written and edited by me) is what has really nailed home the extreme probability of a billing “scheme” and if I take it to anyone else they will call him and since he does not like me very much that will go nowhere. So, can he say by email to the representatives of this company that “Steve is represented by an attorney “me” (meaning him) for now” and that “he will be taking action” and then just drop the ball after two years?

        Thank you again in advance.

        • fl_litig8r says:

          As an initial note, when you post a comment it will only be visible to the computer (and browser) from which it was originally posted while it is in moderation (I moderate all posts on this site). If you check from another computer or browser, you won’t be able to see it until it’s been approved. As you can see, your first post went through fine, so I deleted your second.

          In my state (Florida) we don’t arbitrate UM claims, so I don’t really have any arbitration experience from which to guide you. I generally know that most arbitrations are confidential, so I wouldn’t expect there to be any publicly accessible record of your arbitration decision. Aside from your lawyer and possibly the arbitrator(s), I don’t know where else you could look to find a written decision in your case. If your lawyer refuses to provide you with proof that you lost at arbitration, this could be something to take to the bar. All bars impose an ethical requirement that lawyers keep their clients reasonably informed as to the status of their cases. Providing you with a written arbitration decision upon your request would fall under this requirement.

          As to the second case, there appears to be uncertainty as to whether this lawyer actually represents you. On the one hand, he’s holding himself out to third parties as your lawyer for this matter. On the other, you have no written fee agreement. The Pennsylvania state bar requires that contingency fees be written, so I would say that currently he has no entitlement to any fee for this case. That doesn’t mean that there is no attorney-client relationship, such that he has no duty (especially if he’s been acting as your lawyer), but it does mean that you could fire him and owe him nothing, even if you take the case to a new lawyer. A lawyer who violates the written contingency fee rule can still face bar sanctions and a possible malpractice action for not diligently representing a client even though he isn’t entitled to any fee. Therefore, your lawyer is being very foolish in taking on the responsibilities of being your lawyer in that case without securing his right to payment through a written fee contract.

          • Steve says:

            Wow, I didn’t expect that answer.

            Now I have something to work with, the problem and it is my problem so I don’t expect an answer, is that I am completely exhausted from this entire mess.

            In pain much of the time, just because I lost the case on a technical basis doesn’t mean that the pain went away.

            So now I have options and need to decide what direction is the most viable.

            Class action plaintiff doesn’t result in any great financial remuneration.

            Suing the lawyer doesn’t seem wise because the damages don’t seem to make it financially feasible.

            Letting the company get away with this “alleged” ripoff makes my stomach turn.

            Letting this attorney treat people like objects also makes my stomach turn (I kept it light in my explanation, but this guy is a real piece of work, foul mouthed, threatening and it is really worse than you might think, he just keeps it on the phone and is more cautious with his emails).

            Anyhow, these are my problems and my decisions to make. These are life choices and not legal decisions, life is short and I just have to decide what is important to me so I don’t expect that you can guide me here.

            I truly appreciate your time, effort and candor. You seem like a very decent guy and I hope that you do well.

            Thank you very much.

            PS The double post was my error and I realized it after I posted the second time.

            PSS I reread what I just wrote and I have decided that I will stand on my principals and report the attorney to the bar association and report the company to the regulatory agency and the news media. Screw the money, life isn’t all about money. However that does leave me with a question:

            Can I use his correspondence as evidence to send to the press and to the regulatory agency or will that somehow leave me with the possibility of getting sued?

          • fl_litig8r says:

            I’m not sure what you mean by “using his correspondence as evidence.” There’d be no problem sending it to the bar, but I assume when you say “regulatory agency” you mean the one related to the class action. If you’re just providing it to show that the company was notified of its wrongdoing via your attorney, that’s probably fine. If you’re trying to attack your lawyer, then the press likely won’t care (clients having disputes with their lawyers aren’t newsworthy). Any correspondence your lawyer sent to the company wouldn’t be privileged, so I see no issue with disclosing that.

  40. Phil says:

    Hi – I also like many others that posted here, want to thank you for your transparency and openers about our legal system. I’ve actually never posted before, so this is a first.

    I have an attorney who was with Firm A, he decides to take my probate case on contingency of 33%. The value of the estate is $7M+.

    For months, in spite of all he “could be doing”, ie: depo’s and affidavits from witnesses, both expert and non – he’s trying to settle the matter during discovery with the other attorney.

    Given the facts, in how this particular case evolved, undue influence, even fraud and collusion and other crimes against an elder (financial exploitation) should be met or proven fairly easily. BUT, you have to do the work if you’re the attorney.

    So to an attorney, here’s my question.. If the other side comes back with a ridiculously low offer of 100K-500K (which the thieving Court appointed Executor and the VERY individual (prior POA) gets more in comission settling out the estate – can my attorney withdrawal and NOT take the case to trial if I choose not to settle..?

    Thank you in advance..!

    Confused

    • fl_litig8r says:

      The short answer is yes. If he fundamentally disagrees with you about the settlement value and doesn’t feel that it’s worth taking the matter to trial, that’s a common reason for lawyers to withdraw. Because the matter is in litigation, he’d need to get court approval by filing a motion to withdraw, but these are routinely granted except in cases where something important is happening imminently. For example, if trial were only a few days away, the court probably wouldn’t let the attorney withdraw unless a continuance were sought and granted.

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