Visitor Question

Attorney Misrepresentation?

Submitted By: Anonymous (Denver, CO)

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?

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,

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,

Law Guy

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,

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Comments

One thought on “Attorney Misrepresentation?

  1. My husband and I fell at a Dr’s office on a cold morning where sprinkler system were left on and iced over. He broke his hip requiring two surgeries. He was on his own when he fell and the staff at the practice called me to go and see about him, but failed to tell me of the hazards with the ice, so when I arrived at the practice I too fell on the ice, breaking my leg and ended up having surgery as well.

    I hired a local attorney that assured me he had no conflict with taking our cases. Three years later, I had to constantly hound my attorney for updates and copies of documents which I never received.

    Early on we started getting concerning and conflicting information but being new to this kind of thing, dealing with the stress of rehabilitation and medical expenses we didn’t know what was good or bad as representation goes. Our attorney insisted that we had a case of neglect, at least with my case yet we were slow to get information from our attorney.

    Bottom line, we were told the following…

    Verizon couldn’t recapture texts/messages between the Dr’s practice and my husband and I after our falls.

    The judge would not comply with my attorney getting a list of patients that may have signed in the morning of the event so that we could have them questioned or be a potential witness.

    There were 11 staff in the office that morning and although they all had different stories about the fall, that didn’t matter it was 11 against two making their stories more credible. Because the staff had been with the practice for a number of years with little turn over, they were more credible.

    Although the receptionist that saw me fall left the practice and could not be located after our falls, it had nothing to do with our case.

    Although the timeline of events from the staff was very different, that made no difference in our case and we should settle for what we can get because my husband and I have no wittnesses.

    We never saw a deposition from either staff, our attorney would not share any information with us and the few documents I did receive had another attorney with another firm listed as our representation.

    Our attorney led us to believe that we should settle for $110,000 between us both (my husband’s Dr bills alone were well over that), we need to go with it because we basically have no case with no witnesses, although the practice acknowledged ice on their walkway the morning we both fell.

    Then when we decided we’d take what we could get and got the expense overview, the total we were gonna get between us both was less than $45,000. And we were never given this information beforehand. Our attorney never even showed to settle. Since I’d never seen the expense itemized, since my attorney wasn’t available to question, I refused to sign agreeing to the settlement and left.

    Now I’m not sure what I need to do to get our cases reviewed.

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