I pride myself in being an attorney who is direct, honest and speaks in plain English. If someone asks me a question and I know the answer, I don’t tiptoe around it if it’s something they don’t want to hear. I’m also willing to tell you that your lawyer sucks if they suck, and of course, I’ll tell you if they are doing a good job when it appears to be the case.
A lot of callers and readers will ask me if their attorney is doing all that they can for them. I’ve written a lot about some of the warning signs such as not filing trial motions, not returning phone calls, a failure to explain the law, etc. Recently though I had calls from two very frustrated injured workers who were not happy with their attorney, but unfortunately could not be helped.
The first one hurt his back, had a fusion, but has been without benefits for about 18 months. He’s worried about losing his home and feels that as of late he’s not getting any answers from his attorney or any effort to speed the process up. At first the story sounded like a huge red flag, but then I looked the case up and realized the case went to trial. At the trial the injured worker won the case, but the insurance company appealed.
If your attorney takes your case to trial and they win, they’ve literally done what they can for you. They might not have been a superstar before that, but if in the end they won the case that’s as good as you can hope for. They have no control over the insurance company appealing and unfortunately that can take some time. In this case it took over a year and while the good news is that the appeal result just came back in his favor, the bad news is that the insurance company can appeal further if they want.
So his attorney could try to negotiate a settlement right now, but it might not be the best strategy as it signals that the client can’t wait any longer. The insurance company might just appeal to try and buy time to get a better deal. It certainly sounds like the lawyer could communicate better, but my guess is that they answered the question once or twice and then (not saying this is right) got tired of giving the same answer.
In the second case, the woman came to me for advice about a year ago. I suggested something that would turn the case around and offered to take over the case. She ended up sticking with her attorney which is her right, but then called me recently expressing regret. I looked this case up and discovered that it was settled. Did the attorney do all that he could? No, he was terrible and is one of the worst lawyers around. But once you settle the case you can’t get someone to go back and re-open it or fix any mistakes. By agreeing to settle the injured worker accepted that what the attorney did was all they could do.
Bottom line is that I will be happy to talk to you about any case. We usually recommend you try and work things out with your current firm, but we also call it like we see it and if your attorney isn’t fighting for you or there is something that can be done, we will tell you.