Have I been mislead by my attorney? 24 Answers as of June 28, 2013

I've had hired an attorney due to a slip and fall at a residence in December of 2010. I suffered a broken ankle and pain on the left side of my neck and back. After going to a pain clinic for the past 2 years I learned I would need surgery. It’s called an anterior posterior cervical decompression and fusion. The attorney that I have states they have come to a settlement of a pending amt of 15,000.00. I was told that If I didn't sign immediately that I may not be approved for any monies...as these cases are hard to prove. Please note I that I did sign, but haven't heard from the attorney regarding the finally agreement. Is there a way that I can refuse to accept this agreement? I would like to hire a new attorney who cares about my case. I'm unable to function and I am in fear of a possible job loss if I cannot keep myself attending work. So far, I use a lot of FMLA which is frowned upon by the company I work for. I can understand, but I don't know how to protect myself now. Would you be able to at least lead in the right direction as to what I could do at this point? In addition to the above I have never met face to face with this attorney nor did he attend my deposition. I have a witness who saw me fall. There were several other people there at the time of the accident, including the homeowners who agree that I was hurt. I don't know if I trust this attorney and if I have been mislead

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Victor Varga | Victor Varga
You shouldn't have signed anything if you weren't comfortable with what you were signing. You need to fire the attorney and hire one who will listen to you and properly communicate with you.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 9/20/2012
James M. Osak, P.C.
James M. Osak, P.C. | James M. Osak
ATTORNEY: If you are having problems . . . contact the state bar; You DON'T have to accept any agreement if you don't want it. Final agreements are up to the client. The strategy is up to attorney. EMPLOYER: It's not your problem if you're using FMLA and boss doesn't like it. Well that's toooo baaad boss. You have rights to FMLA. If boss violates your rights you can SUE him. Good luck!
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 9/19/2012
Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
You bring up a number of problems, but what it boils down to is that there is no longer trust between you and your lawyer. Leaving aside questions of fault or what should have been done, there is no longer that trust relationship. Get your file (it belongs to you) from your lawyer and get a new one.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 9/14/2012
Graves Law Firm
Graves Law Firm | Steve Graves
It's unusual for you never to have met your attorney, end even more unusual for your attorney not to have attended your deposition.? However, it is true that it is often very difficult to prove liability in slip-and-fall cases.? That difficulty is often reflected in the size of settlement offers, even when injuries are substantial.? The settlement figure probably represents a compromise based on the degree of likelihood that you could lose the case outright if you took it to trial before a judge or jury.? In that event you would recover nothing. ? You are always free to consult another lawyer, though you probably can't get out of the obligation to pay your original lawyer his or her agreed portion of the recovery you've been offered and now accepted.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 9/14/2012
Law Office of Melvin Franke | Melvin Franke
You need to talk to another attorney. The settlement sounds ridiculously low, but it you signed the agreement to do it, the other side may be able to enforce it.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 9/14/2012
    The Lucky Law Firm, PLC
    The Lucky Law Firm, PLC | Robert Morrison Lucky
    Wow. This is quite concerning. More specifically that you have never met your attorney face-to-face and that he did not attend your deposition. Who did attend your deposition? Who do you usually talk with or meet with when calling or going to his office?
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 9/14/2012
    The Law Offices of Barry Regar | Barry Regar
    You left out some very important facts such as what caused you to fall? If you can prove that there was a dangerous condition of the property than 15K for all your claimed injuries seems unreasonable. Having said that, it would be hard to second guess your lawyer without more facts about the reason for the fall and whether or not all your injuries and possible surgery was caused by the fall. You should demand a complete explanation from who you think is your attorney as to why he or she believes that you should settle
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/14/2012
    Lapin Law Offices
    Lapin Law Offices | Jeffrey Lapin
    I cannot answer the question about whether you have been "mislead" by your attorney without a lot more information about your fall, your injuries and what you were told by your attorney. I can make some general comments about your questions and case. Slip and fall cases are often difficult cases to win. While proving that you were injured may be relatively easy, proving that the landowner was negligent can be difficult. In addition, in many slip and fall cases your own actions are examined to determine if they contributed to the fall. In Nebraska, you must be less than 50% responsible for an accident before you are entitled to any money. If you signed a settlement agreement or release it is unlikely that you can stop the settlement from occurring unless your attorney has not returned the document to the insurance company. You should, if you do not want to settle for $15,000.00 immediately call your attorney and tell him or her that you do not want to settle for that amount. You have the right to discharge your attorney for any reason you want. If you do not trust your attorney you may want to consult with another attorney about taking over your case. Trust is essential to a good attorney-client relationship. If you discharge your current attorney he or she may be entitled to money for his or her time, costs and expenses, depending on what the fee agreement says about these items that you would have signed when you hired him or her. You might, assuming that the settlement is not completed, want to talk to your attorney, in person, and discuss your concerns. The attorney may have good reasons for what he or she has done and why $15,000.00 might be a good amount to settle for. DISCLAIMER: This response should be considered general in nature, for information purposes only and should be used only as a starting point for addressing legal questions and issues. It is based on the limited information provided and, in some instances, makes certain assumptions. It is intended only for cases involving Nebraska and Nebraska law and is not applicable to any other state or jurisdiction. The author does not warrant the accuracy or validity of the information contained within this response, and hereby disclaims any liability to any person for any loss or damage caused by errors or omissions. In addition, this response is not a substitute for professional legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship, nor should it be considered a solicitation for additional legal advice or legal representation. If you ignore this warning and convey confidential information in a private message or comment, there is no duty to keep that information confidential or forego representation adverse to your interests. You should seek the advice of a licensed attorney in the appropriate jurisdiction to fully discuss your case. You should be aware that there are Statute of Limitations (the deadline imposed by law within which you may bring a lawsuit) as well as other requirements and/or limitations that limit the time you have to file any potential claims you may have. This response may be considered advertising in some jurisdictions under any and all applicable laws and ethical rules. The listing of any area of practice that the author practices in does not indicate any certification or expertise therein, nor does it represent that the quality of legal services to be performed would be greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers. It is merely an indication by the author of areas of law in which he practices. The determination of the need for legal services and the choice of a lawyer are extremely important decisions and should not be based solely upon advertisements or self-proclaimed expertise. Readers are urged to make their own independent investigation and evaluation of any lawyer being considered.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 9/14/2012
    Law Office of Ronald G. Draper | Ronald G. Draper
    You are late in considering your options, and it's always difficult to assess what's best under your circumstance. I am reluctant to offer any opinion because I do not know all aspects of this matter.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 6/28/2013
    Lewis B. Kaplan | Lewis B. Kaplan
    In a strong liability case the injuries you describe could well have a value in excess of $ 15,000 . But if there is no liability under the premises liability law applicable to the facts surrounding your fall you could have even worse injuries than you do and recover $ 0 at trial ! The case seems to have progressed pretty far down the road toward trial so it might be difficult to get a second opinion on liability issues from another attorney but trying to get that opinion is what I suggest.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 9/14/2012
    The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC
    The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC | Stephen R. Chesley
    The first question that must be decided was how your accident happened. It is not enough that you fell but did the owner of the premises know that what cause you to fall was there before you fell and failed to rectify it. That is what is called notice. If you cannot prove that fact, you could lose your case. Obviously they are not questioning that you fell or that you were injured, but whether you can prove negligence as it is spelled out under the law. You do not have to settle for the amount offered and your lawyer can not force you to settle, but it should be explained to you why said amount should be accepted and the ramifications if you do not accept their offer.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/14/2012
    Joel H. Schwartz, P.C.
    Joel H. Schwartz, P.C. | Steven A. Schwartz
    If you signed a release agreeing to the amount, you may be out of luck if your attorney already sent it in to the insurance company or reported the case as settled to them. Without a release signed, it is certainly your right to have another attorney review your file to see if you wish to switch attorneys. Your injury certainly seems to warrant more than $15,000. However, you did not explain WHY you fell. If you cannot prove that you fell because of someone else's negligence or wrongdoing, you may be entitled to nothing.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 9/14/2012
    Paris Blank LLP
    Paris Blank LLP | Irving M Blank
    First, these are very difficult cases to win so it is almost impossible to answer your questions without knowing much more about how you fell. Second, were you alone at your deposition or did another lawyer from your attorney's office attend with you. Third, how did you sign off on a settlement if you have never talked to your lawyer? I would suggest that you see an experienced lawyer who has tried a few slip and fall cases and won some and see if he thinks you have a better case than $15,000.00. It sounds like your damages should exceed $15K, but if you cannot win your case is not worth that much.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 9/14/2012
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    You should have never signed the agreement. The settlement appears to be unreasonable. In addition, you would be obligated to pay any future medical costs after the settlement.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/14/2012
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator | Bernard Huff
    You may seek legal advice from a second attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 9/14/2012
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    Slip and fall cases are not favored in the law. Many lawyers will not handle them. if the defect was open and obvious and you ignored it, you lose. If you were negligent in any way, you lose. Even if you were not negligent even to a slight degree if the jury thinks you were you lose. So when your lawyer recommends a settlement he has all those things in mind. You are busy feeling sorry for yourself and are not thinking about all the problems the case may present. Your lawyer is. Talk to him. If you are not satisfied with his position then fire him and hire another lawyer. you say you agreed with the settlement, now you have changed your mind? If that is true it may be too late. But in any event talk to your lawyer and fully understand what you are dealing with not how sorry you feel for your situation .
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 9/18/2012
    Attorney at Law | Ernest Krause
    Send a letter to the attorney immediately saying he pressured you into signing the agreement and that you are now disavowing it. Tell him not to send it to anyone so that a binding settlement does not ensue. Tell him you want your file right away.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/18/2012
    Richard E. Damon, PC | Richard E. Damon
    It sounds as if you signed on with some kind of injury mill that is not ethical. You should not settle until you have had the surgery you require, as it is very difficult to know in advance what the medical costs will be. An attorney who has never met with you and who did not attend your deposition is not doing his job. I don't know what you signed, and it may be too late to revoke the settlement. I would need further details to evaluate this. You may well have an attorney malpractice case against your attorney for failing to meet the standard of care for attorneys.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/14/2012
    Law Office of A. R. Appel
    Law Office of A. R. Appel | ANTOINETTE R. APPEL, Ph.D.
    You do not have to accept a settlement. The choice to do so is yours and yours alone. However, once you sign a settlement it is generally binding.? It seems clear that you want the advice of someone other than the person who now represents you.? Whether you will get other advice is not certain but if you are uncomfortable with the representation you have gotten, you should feel free to consult another lawyer.? If you have trouble locating one, call the local bar association and ask for a referral.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 9/14/2012
    Rothstein Law PLLC
    Rothstein Law PLLC | Eric Rothstein
    It sounds like you signed a release and sent it back to your attorney. If your attorney sent it to the defense there is probably not much you can do because there is an enforceable settlement. I suggest you call your lawyer ASAP and see if the retainer was sent to the defense and if not tell them not to send it both on the phone and by fax or something similar so you have proof. $15,000 for a surgery case sounds low but it depends on the strength of your case. You don't get money just because you fell. You have to prove the defendant was negligent and have notice of a dangerous condition. The above is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/14/2012
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm | Thomas Bulman
    If he is experienced, this settlement tells me that fault or blame is disputed. The insurer blames you for being clumsy or having a pre-existing bum ankle. What caused you to fall? Had you been drinking or drugging, taking prescription meds? If you signed, then you settled. Honor your settlement and see your atty gets his standard $1000 fee for his/her work, because they deserve it.
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 9/18/2012
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    Immediately revoke you agreement if it has not been entered with the court, call your attorney today. Seek a second opinion and, if necessary and warranted, fire your present attorney and hire one you trust.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/14/2012
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    If you signed a release it may be too late. But hire another lawyer immediately and see if they can undo what has already been done.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 9/14/2012
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