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When is the proper time to switch attornies in PI case?

Discussion in 'Auto Accidents, Injuries' started by Redemptionman, Feb 11, 2021.

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  1. Redemptionman

    Redemptionman Law Topic Starter Member

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    I have a friend who was involved in a clear liability rear end collision, and the firm this person went with hasn't really done much on the case. It was with an under insured motorist. The third party insurer of course wants to settle fast for the state min limits; however the first party UIM carrier has hired a premier best of the best firm/ attorney.

    The attorney my friend went with has a history of dumping contingency cases when they don't settle at mediation or when they can not reach a settlement. I have suggested that my friend write a letter to the judge seeking to discharge current firm at a flat rate of settlement so she can go get a great PI firm to work it through and get her the settlement she deserves. The medical and lost wages are well over 50K at this point. Depositions have not been taken yet and I am thinking if she was to switch now would be time since it has been over a year since the accident.

    Can anyone provide any suggestions to a direction she should take?

    Thank you,
     
  2. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    I would suggest that you stop advising your friend - particularly since it appears that you may be crossing the line in to the unlawful practice of law. If your friend wants to change attorneys, then your friend should interview a couple of new attorneys and then, if your friend chooses to switch canoes mid-stream, then she will be able to work with the new attorney to make this happen.

    To be clear, your "advice" to your friend was improper.
     
  3. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    There is very little that can be done if you're injured by an uninsured or under insured motorist.

    Sure, you can always sue the motorist, but people in that position tend to have very few assets, because they have little or NO income.

    Most people or entities don't wish to get steamrolled in a lawsuit.

    I suppose that is why the insurance company retained one of the best litigation firms, rather than one of the worst firms.



    This is why people should protect themselves by carrying the proper amount of uninsured or underinsured insurance coverage, just in case the offender is uninsured or underinsured with few or no assets.

    To repeat, even if she hired the best attorney in the USA, he/she is NOT going to get $5.00 out of a deadbeat or financially challenged person.

    Protect yourselves, citizens, make sure YOU carry the proper amount of insurance to protect yourself from broke down, tore down, poor down, deadbeat people!!!!
     
  4. Redemptionman

    Redemptionman Law Topic Starter Member

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    @army judge, did you read the post this person does have UIM but of course the insurance company uses the best of the best law firm which is what they do. Under Insured Motorist coverage in this case is adversarial in nature, her insurance company is of course wanting to settle for the least amount that they can which is why they offered the state min before she ever went to a firm.

    The case has ballooned up to be something more than what she originally signed up for, and a lot more complex. I believe this person should have gone with a large PI firm in her area instead of a firm that does 15 percent PI.
     
  5. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    If your friend is unhappy with her current lawyer then she ought to find a new one and that new attorney will advise her how the switch is to be done and what she will still be obligated to pay the current attorney.
     
    army judge and Zigner like this.
  6. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    I would suggest you stop giving your friend advice about how to handle his case since you obviously don't know what you're doing. Generally, writing letters to judges is not an appropriate thing to do, and it certainly isn't an appropriate thing for a represented party to do.

    If your friend wants to fire her current attorney and hire someone new, she doesn't need the court's permission to do that. Nor is the judge in her PI case going to involve him/herself in any fee dispute between your friend and her current attorney.

    If she's not happy with her current attorney, she can seek a consultation with a different attorney about the possibility of switching. One of the topics she can and should discuss is the extent to which she will be obligated to pay the former attorney. The new attorney would need to review her retainer agreement with her current attorney to assess that.

    By the way, before talking to an attorney, the first thing she should do is discuss with the current attorney why she is dissatisfied with his handling of the case.
     
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  7. Redemptionman

    Redemptionman Law Topic Starter Member

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    Case law and previous other PI suits, the previous attorney has been discharged for a flat fee rather than percent of judgement. Depends on the judge and court I would assume.

    It is not there yet hence why I asked in regards to dismissing another attorney. It appears that under these contracts the attorney can fire the client but the client is stuck with the attorney even if they are not getting anywhere with the insurance companies. The mistake this person made was not going to a large firm to begin with. There is a reason why larger Personal Injury attorneys spend millions on advertising in a year.

    UIM cases are more complex than one party carrying large liability limits as it puts the defendant on the hook for anything over the state mins. I do not know when the best time for them to switch would be, she likes her attorney and it is nothing personal but business. She had serious doubts about her current firm to get everything that they should be awarded.

    If you understand, oh and that is just a suggestion I was not giving advice as I am not sure which way would be best to proceed. Who knows she could go in pro se, it kind of is clear and cut and dry.
     
  8. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    The contract (as in the retainer) binds ALL parties, because ALL parties to the contract agreed to the document by affixing a signature to same.

    A lawsuit isn't a lottery.

    I may think I've hit the jackpot after I've been injured by the other party.

    If an attorney knows what he/she is doing, the injured party will be made whole, not into a billionaire in most situations.

    Those who do become lawsuit billionaires suffered egregious injuries, or were even maimed.

    One of our sons suffered such an injury.
    He was comatose for 11 years, eventually succumbing to the damage caused by the other party.
    We prevailed with several lawsuits (for my son, for our two granddaughters) and for my wife who cared for him daily during his 11 year medical institutionalization, surgeries, medical emergencies, coma, ending in his death.
    My point is, that the lawyer takes the client the way she/he arrived, not as the would wish her/him to be.

    Insurance companies aren't piggy banks, as they have a duty to their members or shareholders to mitigate risks, not bequeath financial windfalls to everyone demanding to be paid more than offered.

    The remedy remains as it has, take the other party to court if you can't settle your dispute, a fair trial ensues, a verdict is rendered.

    Despite hiccups, glitches, and occasional errors, our legal system works.
     
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  9. Redemptionman

    Redemptionman Law Topic Starter Member

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    There is no making her whole, she has injuries that she will feel for the rest of her life. Besides the lecture you laid out (of which most I agree on) she is limited to policy limits as to clear results she can get back there are other potential liability issues within the case itself which will have to work there way out.

    I realize what you are saying but needing surgery and being in pain the rest of your days and not being able to be made whole makes this situation different then what you are talking about. I am familiar with the made whole doctrine. However, I assume you hired an excellent full service PI firm handling your case and not an attorney who also practices PI on the side along with other things?
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2021
  10. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    It is not the size of the firm or the ad budget of the firm that makes a firm good. One of the best PI firms in my area has just four attorneys and does no advertising at all, and yet just a year ago won the largest settlement of a case of that kind ever tried in the state (nearly $9 million). The firm has been around for decades and does not need to advertise to get clients, and doesn't need to have a ton of lawyers to successfully represent clients. Indeed, in my area the lawyers that advertise the most heavily are some of the worst PI lawyers — they take the quick settlement for low money when they can and rarely actually go to trial on anything. Their business model simply relies on churning through as many clients as possible rather than taking fewer clients and actually going to the mat for those clients to get the best possible recovery. I feel bad for those clients, who have no idea that those firms are not as good as the ads make them sound.

    That would be a bad idea. That apparently very good defense firm the insurer has would likely beat her on procedure alone. She doesn't know the law, the rules of civil procedure, or the rules of evidence nearly as well as an experienced attorney and indeed, probably has very little knowledge of them at all. Even with the best evidence if you don't know how to get it admitted and how to present the case you generally lose. I've seen lots of pro se litigants lose their case because they stumble over even basic litigation matters.
     
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  11. Redemptionman

    Redemptionman Law Topic Starter Member

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    That is true and what you just stated is why she did not go with a larger PI firm as it would have been less personable. Would have gotten limits, a slap on the back and Good Luck out the door. Whoever knows what firm is best and all you can do is trust the person that you pick but after 18 months of nothing not even a deposition when do you cut your loses as the limits run out at some point.

    True, who ever represents themselves has a fool as a client or so the saying goes.
     
  12. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    LOL, I didn't need to hire a firm.

    I founded a law firm of which I remain founding partner with my 51% ownership interest.

    My daughter manages the day to day operation of the firm, as managing partner and owns 33% of the firm with my wife retaining 16%.

    I was the lead attorney of the team that litigated the matter in federal court and state court.
     
  13. Redemptionman

    Redemptionman Law Topic Starter Member

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    Sounds like he had great representation then, and you were there from the beginning. It probably wasn't hard to convince a jury that he had the damages you claimed especially when he could not be cross examined. So many frivolous and crap suits from slip and falls to fake injuries that it has tainted jury pools.

    I will take the advice of @Tax Counsel said and tell her to discuss it with her attorney and then if nothing good happens in another few months then she should seek the services of another firm. We appreciate all of your help.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2021
  14. JustinforJustice

    JustinforJustice New Member

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    I am a spammer.
    I enjoy necroposting in a feeble attempt to get people to notice me.
    I have nothing useful to say, I just enjoy spamming.
    Ain't I the cool one?
    Don't even try to banish me, I'll leave ONLY when I'm ready!
     

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