How 2 no if my ambulance-chasing lawyer's doing me right?

A close friend of mine was recently involved in a severe auto accident in which he was not at fault. He was working/on-the-clock at the time of the accident. A compact car had a blow-out on its doughnut while passing on the shoulder at a very high rate of speed. The tire blew when the driver, who had no drivers license, or it was suspended- he’d only been out of prison for a month…over-corrected when the doughnut blew when it dropped off the shoulder.

My friend was driving a 1-ton dually pulling a 10,000 bumper-pull trailer. He had his seat belt on and his air bags both deployed. Upon impact, the truck spun off from the trailer, rolled two times and slammed to a stop against a fence, resting on its drivers side. My friend’s ankle was pinned down near the brake pedal.

The compact car hit my friend head-on at approximately 88 m.p.h., spun around and hit the trailer, also in the front of the compact car. The entire front end of the car was gone. The car’s engine skidded several hundred yards down the road and came to rest, still on fire. The passenger, who owned the car, was deceased, because she was crushed from the neck down. Her boyfriend was flown from the scene. His legs were crushed, he had some other gruesome injuries, and was in a coma for 3 days. He’s currently facing 5 different charges. One will be some sort of manslaughter. I cannot remember the proper legal term, but to describe it here, if the toxicology test comes back negative, it’ll be involuntary murder and if the toxicology test comes back positive, it’ll be voluntary murder.

My friend’s employer had workman’s comp, so my friends medical bills are taken care of, 100%. He’s also drawing a good % of his salary so he’s not hurting for money right now. He suffered superficial contusions and a severely broken leg which required 2 surgeries because in days gone-by, before the 2 surgery system, this kind of break had a 50% chance of requiring amputation. Consequently, he’s now got so many pins in his leg, it literally looks like the Eiffel Tower, or maybe a knitting patter for a nice sweater. He has more pin than bone in his lower leg. No one has mentioned anything about removing these. He’s been told that if he follows the doctor’s orders, he won’t need physical therapy. No one has mentioned anything about him not being able to do everything he did previously. His job isn’t riding a pogo stick or anything that would specifically stress that part of his leg.

My friend has an attorney, but recently found out that the attorney wasn’t representing him for his personal property. That’s not really a big deal, but now he’s wondering what he should have asked to clarify this, or what he should be asking along the way. For instance, he hasn’t been told how much the atty. is seeking on his behalf. All he has been told is:

This is a claim right now. If the insurance company denies it, then it becomes a lawsuit. Insurance companies usually pay claims, rather than take them to court, when there is a fatality. The atty. gets 1/3. Workman’s Comp gets reimbursed 2nd, after the atty. gets paid. My friend keeps whatever is left over. He’s not after a settlement, he just wanted someone involved in his medical care who had his best interest at heart, so to speak. The case is in Texas.
If this was your lawyer, what would you be asking/doing, in general? He’s just looking for some experience to draw upon, if nothing else, he says.

Related Blogs

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Responses to “How 2 no if my ambulance-chasing lawyer's doing me right?”

  1. Brendan Says:

    The lawyer is supposed to have his interests at heart– he owes your friend the highest fiduciary duty. In practice, however, because these lawyers work on a contingency basis, they end up viewing their interests as equal (if not superior) to their client’s. You are right to be a little wary of the attorney’s motives.

    An attorney can reasonably limit the scope of representation by written agreement with the client. In other words, I might take your case to trial but not represent you on appeal because I only do trial advocacy. To accomplish this, I would have to sit you down and discuss the limitation with you and get your informed consent.

    Here, if there is nothing in the attorney client representation agreement that properly limits the scope of representation to physical injury then I would demand that the attorney pursue all claims for personal injury (damage to personal property in an accident is a form of personal injury) arising from the accident. If he refuses, I would tell him that I believe he has placed an unreasonable limit on the scope of representation and has done so without my informed written consent– a violation of the code of professional ethics– that will sort of tee up the malpractice suit in his mind. But don’t threaten with charges of malpractice– you don’t want to poison the well (yet.)

    BTW– I do not think it is reasonable for an attorney to split claims for physical injuries from property damage. It also doesn’t make any sense. I doubt the attorney has done that, you should reread the agreement and ask for clarification. AND DO NOT POST ANY COMMUNICATIONS (WRITTEN OR ORAL) FROM THE ATTORNEY TO THE WEB! IT WILL CONSTITUTE A WAIVER OF THE ATT/CLIENT PRIVILEGE!

  2. tonalc2 Says:

    After wading through your essay, I think your question is should he include the cost of lost property in his lawsuit. Is that correct?

    Personal injury lawyers deal with personal injury. The standard way their work is as you stated: 1/3 to attorney, 1/3 to health provider, and 1/3 to you. It does not take into account the loss of personal property. I believe you would have to file a separate suit for replacement of property.