Dropped by Attorney for 'Conflict of Interest'?
I am a taxi driver and have been working for the same company for four years. In June 2012 an intoxicated driver ran a red light and t-boned my cab on the driver's side. There was severe damage to the drivers side. The police report agrees with this.
I was carrying four passengers, one of which I'm fairly certain had a broken collarbone. I personally sustained what I guess are soft tissue injuries to my neck and lower back. I have been going to the chiropractor and to physical therapy for several months.
I went to an attorney that handles both workman's comp claims and personal injury (on contingency); yesterday I was informed that they would no longer be able to represent me on the personal injury case due to 'conflict of interest', but that they would still handle the workman's comp claim. My attorney assured me that I still have a case and referred me to another firm.
I certainly hope this is true. I spent almost a month with horrible neck pain and I really hope that this is still worth something. Am I to assume that the conflict of interest is that one of the other passengers in my cab hired the same firm and had a more valuable claim?
I can't believe this case would be worth nothing. The other driver was intoxicated and he was at fault. I was at work when the accident happened and I have been consistently going to my treatments. An x-ray taken at the chiropractor shows some rotation, but an MRI came up 'unremarkable' according to the workers comp doctor.
As far as insurance goes, I'm not completely sure the driver or vehicle that hit me was insured, however my employer has uninsured motorist on our policy and I also have uninsured motorist on my personal policy.
So I guess my question is, what can I expect from this monetarily? (I haven't asked that question at all really.) And also, why did I get dumped by my previous attorney? Thanks.
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ANSWER for "Dropped by Attorney for 'Conflict of Interest'?":
Mike (Pueblo, CO):
Let's first address your questions about the monetary value of your claim...
If you are proceeding strictly under your employer's workers compensation insurance you can expect reimbursement for your medical bills, medications, and a percentage of your lost wages, if any. Be careful not to exceed the treatment recommended by the workers compensation designated physician. If you do you many not be covered for the excess costs.
Fortunately for you the State of Colorado repealed its no fault insurance status in 2003. As a result you can file a third party claim against the driver.
If you choose to pursue a third party personal injury claim against the driver you will first need to know if he was insured. If so you can pursue a claim for your injuries, out of pocket expenses, lost wages, and an amount for your pain and suffering. Because your injuries are soft-tissue, your settlement amount should be a multiple of 2 -3 times the amount of your medical and chiropractic bills, therapy, out of pocket expenses and lost wages - referred to in the insurance business as your "Specials".
Finally, the reason for your attorney's withdrawal based on conflict of interest is a question you should pose directly to him/her. If you retained your attorney before he or she undertook the representation of a conflict client and he or she withdrew as a result, you have a right to be upset. That's about all. Unless you can show that happened and as a result your claim will be compromised, there's not a whole lot you can do.
Don't waste any time. Seek the advice and counsel of a new personal injury attorney. Hopefully he or she won't have a conflict and can able to represent you well in your personal injury claim against the driver.
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,
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