After being involved in a serious auto accident, there are things that need to be done in short order. Af-ter filing the police report, contacting your insurance company, and seeking medical help, the next step is to get legal help and ensure your interests are protected. That's great, but what happens when you have reason to suspect that your legal counsel is not actually protecting those interests?
You do have recourse. Along with terminating the relationship with the attorney, there's also the option to take legal action. In short, you can sue the attorney if there are grounds indicating that the lawyer's actions resulted in some type of harm to you. Here are some essentials that you should know about cas-es like this.
What Does an Accident Lawyer Do? Why Hire an Accident Lawyer in the First Place?
An accident lawyer, like any legal counsel, is considered to be an officer of the court. That means the lawyer is bound to uphold current laws and ensure that they are observed at all times. This forms the foundation from which the legal counsel will seek to provide assistance to you.
As it relates to accidents, your lawyer will review every aspect of the situation. This makes it possible to identify every legal action that is open to you as the client. Your lawyer is responsible for ensuring that you are aware of all those possible actions, providing some idea of what could happen as a result of pursuing each of them, and in general offer advice that points toward the best possible outcome for you.
Through it all, your legal counsel is responsible for providing advice and pursuing actions that are in full compliance with current laws. This does not compromise your rights as they relate to accident cases. When ethically applied, adherence to those laws helps to ensure that your rights under those laws are honored and observed every step of the way.
Signs That You May Have Retained the Services of an Incompetent Lawyer
In general, lawyers take their responsibilities seriously. It's not just about earning a living or building a clientele. Instead, it's about ensuring that each client is represented in a competent manner.
Even so, some lawyers may not provide the level of representation that clients seek. Knowing the more common signs of an incompetent lawyer will help you evaluate the quality of the legal representation that you are receiving. If any of the following is taking place, it may be time to consider making a change:
· A lack of interest in hearing what you have to share about the case. This indicates that the lawyer has decided on a course of action and doesn't think anything else you know could have a bearing on the direction of the case. That can undermine the potential for winning the action.
· A lawyer who doesn't keep you up to date on how the case is going is also a sign that something's up. Legal counsel wants clients to be in the loop on what is happening with the case. If yours has little to say, it may be because nothing is being done.
· While the focus of lawyers is on handling the case, a certain amount of empathy toward clients makes a difference. Legal counsel who expresses little to no compassion or empathy for what you are going through may not be invested in doing all that can be done.
· Missed meetings are another sign something is up. While emergencies do happen and courts can run over time, a steady stream of delays and rescheduled meetings does not bode well for you.
· An apparent lack of familiarity with laws relevant to your case is another warning sign. This could mean the lawyer has not researched well or at all. That could mean serious consequences for your case.
Signs Your Lawyer is Taking Advantage of You
Perhaps you feel that things have gone beyond your legal counsel being disinterested in your case. It may be that you think the attorney is taking advantage of you. There may be some signs indicating that this is happening. Here are some examples that should put you in mind to think about making a change.
Your legal bills may be one of the most apparent signs of something going on. Knowing how to tell if your lawyer is ripping you off often begins with a careful review of the details on those bills. Perhaps you see charges for services rendered that were never discussed or that can't be readily related to some action that you and your legal counsel agreed to take.
Another sign of negligent lawyers is a failure to investigate any matters that are related to your case. This may mean making no attempt to talk with witnesses, obtain necessary documents, or follow up on matters the two of you discussed and agreed needed further scrutiny.
Missed deadlines may also lead to you pausing and thinking, "my lawyer is working against me rather than for me." While a single missed deadline related to an upcoming meeting between yourself and the legal counsel may happen, repeated incidents or the failure to file documents with the court in a timely manner are causes for concern.
These and other issues can lead to you losing confidence in your legal counsel. When this happens, you may begin to wonder how to fire a lawyer and get your money back. There are, in fact, ways to go about managing both of those tasks.
A Partial List of Grounds For Taking Legal Action Against Your Accident Attorney in NYC
It's helpful to be aware of the list of things you can sue for, as they relate to any attorney that you've hired. In order to determine if a suit is possible, you will need advice from another legal counsel. In general, suing a lawyer for professional negligence is a serious matter. For this reason, any attorney that you hire for this purpose will want to make sure there are solid grounds for this action.
You may be in a position to take legal action against your former attorney if:
· There is evidence of collusion on the part of the attorney. When you've come across evidence of meetings, communications in any form, or other things that cause you to think."
· my attorney colluded with the other side" there's a good chance you have grounds to sue.
· Unsubstantiated charges on your attorney bills are also grounds for legal action. The court and the bar association tend to take a dim view of padding legal expenses with charges for services never rendered.
· Verifiable evidence that your lawyer was not truthful with you is also grounds for taking legal action. This is especially true when those falsehoods have led to damage to you in some manner recognized by the court. If you're wondering, "can I sue a lawyer for lying?" the answer is yes.
· Failure to appear at court hearings is also grounds for taking action against the attorney. What happens if your lawyer doesn't show up to court? While emergencies can happen, failure to provide a reasonable explanation is not acceptable. This could result in harm to your case that will not be easily repaired.
There are other grounds for filing a suit. The lawyer that you retain to pursue a case of negligence or malpractice can provide you with examples and relate them to what you experienced.
What You Should Do If Your Legal Counsel is Not Providing the Necessary Help
What happens after an individual determines that my lawyer is not fighting for me? The first course of action is to end the professional relationship. This will mean firing the lawyer at once. At this juncture, you also want to retrieve all information that you supplied to the legal counsel.
Your next step of what to do if your lawyer is not helping you is to hire a new lawyer. Your accident case must go on, and the only way that can happen is to have a lawyer that you can trust.
After that, seek out legal counsel who can sue the negligent lawyer on your behalf. This begins with a consultation where you provide information and any evidence of the negligence. Once the attorney takes on the case, the appropriate actions will follow, and your attempt to sue lawyer can get underway.
Filing a Formal Complaint Against the Lawyer
Part of the action that will be needed ahead of your suit is to file a formal complaint with the court and with the bar association. This helps to provide a foundation for the action that will take place later on.
You personally don't have to know how to file a complaint against a lawyer in NY. The legal counsel that you retain for pursuing the negligence or legal malpractice case can walk you through the steps and even help with the filing.
How to Go About Filing Suit Against Your Former Accident Lawyer
Lawyers who sue lawyers understand how sensitive this type of situation can be for their clients. For this reason, they will help you understand the process for filing a suit against your former legal counsel.
Part of knowing how to sue involves preparing grounds for the suit in the first place. The evidence that you provide the new legal counsel, plus the results of any investigation that follows, will provide that basis. From there, the lawyer will prepare all the necessary documentation to present to the court and ensure the defendant is notified in a timely manner.
Keep in mind that knowing how to sue an attorney is just the beginning. There may be other documents to file with the court later. Further, filing a suit does not come with any guarantee as to the outcome. The other party may seek to settle the suit, or it may go to court and not be decided in your favor. Your current legal counsel will ensure that you remain up to date on anything that happens with the case, including offers to settle.
Call Our Experienced NYC Accident Lawyer for Help
There's no doubt that suing a lawyer for misrepresentation or some other infraction of duty is a serious matter. It's not something that should be done without being clear on what took place and how you were affected. Choosing to hire another legal counsel who can objectively look at all facets of the case, including what the previous lawyer did and didn't do, is definitely something that you should do. It could be that there are legal grounds for pursuing damages; if so, your current counsel can take on the case and help you understand what options are available.
You are not helpless if there are grounds indicating your accident attorney was negligent in some manner and that the negligence resulted in harm to you and to your case. Please take what you know about the situation to legal counsel and find out what can be done. You may find that the actions of your previous lawyer do indicate lapses in what's considered proper and ethical conduct and may even be grounds for the local bar to seek punitive action in addition to the suit that you intend to file.