The devil visited a lawyers office and made him an offer, "I can make
sure that some important things come to pass for you. I'll increase your
income five fold, your partners will love you, your client's will
respect you, you'll have four months vacation each year plus live to
be a hundred. All I require in return is that your wife and your children's
soul's will rot and burn in hell for eternity."
The lawyer thought that over for a moment then asked, "What's the
****** ****** ******
You had a motor vehicle accident and now you've slowly but surely come to the
conclusion that you should have never hired your Legal Beagle, Attorney I.M.
NotSoSwift. He's let your case lay at the bottom of the huge pile on his dog
house floor for the usual reasons: Like, for example, because he's got more
serious legal beef bones to chew on, or because he's rolling in so much loot
that he'd rather wait awhile in case his cash flow tightens up or he's so swept
up with much bigger personal injury cases that hes too busy snarling and
prowling around the courthouse to pay any attention to yours.
Every time you call the
Legal Beagle office to find out where your case is
up getting trotted around the dog pound. You ask if the insurance company has
made an offer to settle your claim and all you get are, barks and growls that
make no sense.
So, what's the solution to this problem? Your best bet is to send a "Give
Him Hell" letter, Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested. That will get
his attention, and usually (unless he's a blazing idiot which some of them are)
assure you of a prompt phone call. The letter should clearly state your
complaints, and also your thoughts about hiring a new attorney - - quick like a
bunny - - if the necessary steps aren't taken.
CHANGING LAWYERS: If all attempts at fixing your problem's with your Legal
Beagle cant be accomplished youll probably begin to think about
dumping him. This is an incredibly difficult move to make so it must be well
The following are some facts you should be aware of:
The new lawyer will ask you to contact the old lawyer telling him to turn your
file over. If you've foolishly agreed to pay some of your old attorney's costs
(above and beyond the "Contingency Fee Agreement" you've probably
signed) the two of them will have to work that out. The old lawyer may agree to
wait and not be paid his costs until the new lawyer has settled your case, but he
may not! If that's the situation hell insist that you pony up all
the bucks your case has cost him to date (hell pad that bill into the
stratosphere!) before he turns it over to the new lawyer.
The new Legal Beagle will want to review the file to determine if he wants to
take it on. If it looks like some money can be made, the new lawyer may take it
but that's a loooooong shot! Why? Because your case has to be an outstanding"goodie"
- - with a huge payoff potential for the lawyer's one third cut - - his
so-called "Contingency Fee". Both Legal
Beagle's will usually be involved
with that fee. Your old Beagle will want to cut a deal for ten percent of your
new lawyers fee, or one third, one half, whatever. If there's not enough money
to go around, the second lawyer won't be interested in taking on your case.
Should that comes to pass, you're gonna be left with an upset attorney. Chances
are he'll let your case slip, slide and disappear into the nearest sewer were it
will bubble and gurgle out of sight for years to come. That's the risk you take
when you try to dump your Legal Beagle.
Insurance companies react in various ways to a change in lawyers. They may view
the switch (and/or attempted switch) as a sign that your case, or you, are a
problem. This can result in an increased reluctance to settle. I know that to be
true because for over 30 years, as Insurance Adjuster, as a Supervisor,
as a Claims Manager and the last 5 years as a Trial Assistant - - Ive
been there , felt, seen and done that !
Such situations came to pass during my over 3 decades in the
insurance claim industry. Id be sitting in my office and one of my adjusters
would come waltzing in. Our insured is Fred Fuddle, the claimant is Sam Inajam.
Inajams lawyer is NotSoSwift. My adjuster has Fuddles file. He opens it,
places it on my desk in front of me and says, Hey Dan, I heard through the
grapevine that Inajam and NotSoSwift arent hitting it off. NotSoSwift was
over at the courthouse yesterday bitching up a storm about how Inajam wanted to
dump him but was unable to because he owes NotSoSwift money he cant come up
Id look up, smile and say, Okay, good. Let it stew in Limbo. The longer
it takes the less itll cost us.
On the other hand, if the claimant does pull off a switch, his
new lawyer may breath needed energy into the case, causing the insurance company
to start thinking seriously about settlement - - but that's a long shot. I
wouldnt bet on it!
Whichever way that cookie crumbles, don't contact the insurance
company yourself. Changing lawyers is, at best, a tricky move and its
something your new lawyer should handle. Unless your old Legal
Beagle and your new Legal
Beagle get together and cook up some reasonably acceptable prefabrications (as
to why the change is taking place) the switch might influence the insurance
company into thinking that something is wrong. If they smell smoke, they'll
conclude that a fire is probably blazing in several closets. Should that come
to pass, your chance for a quick and reasonable settlement will do a swan dive -
- right out the nearest window!
BOTTOM LINE: Be sure to pick a good lawyer to begin with, because you'll
probably be stuck with that sucker right to the bitter end.
DISCLAIMER: The only purpose of this article GETTING RID OF
YOUR LEGAL BEAGLE is to help people understand the motor vehicle
accident claim process. Neither Dan Baldyga, Mike Oliver nor CAR-ACCIDENT-ADVICE
make any guarantee of any kind whatsoever; NOR do they
purport to engage in rendering any professional or legal service: NOR to
substitute for a lawyer, an insurance adjuster, or claims consultant, or the
like. Where such professional help is desired IT IS THE INTERVAL'S responsibility
to obtain said services.
Dan Baldyga's third and latest book AUTO ACCIDENT PERSONAL INJURY
INSURANCE CLAIM (How To Evaluate And Settle Your Loss) can be found on
the internet at http://www.caraccidentclaims.com
This book reveals "How To" successfully handle your motor vehicle
accident claim, so you won't be taken advantage of. It also goes into
detail regarding BASE (The Baldyga Auto Accident Settlement
Evaluation Formula). THE BASE FORMULA explains how to
determine the value of the "Pain and Suffering" you endured - -
because of your personal injury!
Copyright (c) 2004 Daniel G. Baldyga. All Rights Reserved