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

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?

Visitor Question:
Disclaimer: Information provided in our response is NOT formal legal advice. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Under no circumstances should the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Our response does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Always get a formal case review from a licensed attorney in your area.

ANSWER for "Can I speak to the insurance company if my lawyer backs out of the claim?":

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Two, you will want the letter to state that the attorney no longer represents your interests in the case.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 an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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TYPE OF ACCIDENT
AUTO ACCIDENT
PERSONAL INJURY
WORKERS COMPENSATION
MEDICAL ERROR
YES! I WANT FAIR COMPENSATION