I was in a car accident (not my fault) in April of 2011. I hired an attorney to make sure all of my bills would be paid properly. In the accident I had a concussion, whiplash and an eye injury requiring stitches, and I needed to get a new prescription for my glasses.
We are still in the settlement negotiation process. The insurance company has made their top offer, which will not pay for all of my bills. My attorney is trying to get all my bills cut in half, however not once have they asked me if I had medical insurance at the time of the accident.
I did have health insurance at the time, it was limited coverage but in speaking with the medical insurance that I had I have found out that a good majority of the bills will be paid by them. My hospital bills have already hit my credit, which would not have been the case if my medical insurance had come in to play at one point or another.
I've been told that the other auto insurance will be taking care of the bills. I was initially told this when in the ambulance. Is there some sort of law that states they should have requested my health insurance information provided by my employer?
I have been doing a lot of leg work and research as I had a feeling that my attorneys were not representing me to their fullest ability. This had started about a month after hiring them. They were unable to find me an eye doctor that would accept my case on a contingency basis, so I located my own eye doctor.
I also had called my case manager for 3 weeks straight, left multiple messages and never received a callback. My bills are now piling up on my credit. FYI I am in Denver, CO and the attorney is in Dallas, TX. She specifically told me that she was not familiar with the laws of Colorado.
What are my choices?
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ANSWER for "Attorney Misrepresentation?":
Anonymous (Denver, CO):
In the facts you present you say you "hired an attorney to make sure all of my bills would be paid properly". That's is your first problem. When you are injured and retain a personal injury attorney to represent you the attorney's job is not to make sure all your bills would be paid. Doing so is not the attorney's job. That is your job.
You hire a personal injury attorney to use her best efforts to either settle, or win at trial, the highest financial award legally permissible.
Sometimes personal injury attorneys are successful, and sometimes they are not. That is one of the reasons the legal system is often referred to as an "adversary" system.
If your case manager hasn't returned your telephone calls in 3 weeks it may be because she is tired of hearing you complain.
You say your attorney wasn't able to locate an "eye doctor" who would accept a contingency fee basis for her fees. Then you say you located one on your own. You failed to tell us if the eye doctor you located agreed to treat you on a contingency fee basis.
From our extensive legal experience we can tell you 99% of reputable ophthalmologists will never waive their fee if the attorney doesn't win the client's personal injury case. It just doesn't happen very often, if at all.
You may have found an "optometrist". She is not a "real doctor" in the insurance company's view. You can be sure insurance companies look upon the credibility of "optometrists" as lower than that of chiropractors.
While it is true optometrists can sometimes diagnose an eye disease at its initial stages, that is all they can do. They can't treat your eye problems if any, other than by prescribing glasses or referring you out to a "real" doctor - an ophthalmologist.
The bottom line is it appears you really have a completely incorrect understanding of your role and that of your personal injury attorneys.
If you aren't able to communicate with your attorneys and believe she is not representing you properly, you can always fire her and try retaining a different attorney.
Best of Luck,