Visitor Question

Can I speak to the insurance company if my lawyer backs out of the claim?

Submitted By: Anonymous (Georgia)

I was in a auto accident in December 2008. At the time I was not able to follow through with the settlement on my own. I spoke to a lawyer’s paralegal and decided to let them handle the insurance.

That was in January 2009. The first time that I spoke to the lawyer was this week and he decided that he should never have taken the case. He basically said to “take what the insurance offers because I will not pursue your interest any further.”

Can I speak to the insurance company to see what

questions they have and see if I can provide any information (that the lawyer did not request from me) or have my bridges been burnt?

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Anonymous,

You can always handle the insurance settlement on your own. The problem will be if the insurance company believes you are represented in which case they are technically not supposed to speak with you directly.

Therefore, it is imperative that you get a letter from the attorney indicating:

One, that he does not intend to seek any portion of the settlement you receive. You need this because lawyers who work on a claim, even partially, are entitled to the actual hourly value of their services under a theory called quantum meruit. If he has done nothing on your case, he is not entitled to your fees but you will want this in writing.

Two, you will want the letter to state that the attorney no longer represents your interests in the case. This way, if the insurance company will not talk to you, you have something to submit showing them that they can.

Third, you will want to get a complete copy of your file from your attorney. Simply call his office or submit a letter requesting your complete file immediately.

Lastly, please be advised that there is a statute of limitations for all personal injury cases and you do not want to miss this due to your attorney’s failure to follow through.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: June 26, 2010

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