A lot of callers want to know if there lawyer has some sort of conflict of interest. It usually happens in small town cases. If you hire a local attorney, chances are that they are going to know your boss from around town and may have a friendship with them. That doesn’t mean that they won’t do a good job for you, but it can certainly make you wonder if they will fight all the way when needed, or if they will be worried about how your case impacts their life away from court.
My take on those situations is that if it makes you uncomfortable, it’s a big deal, and you should look to a different firm for legal help.
A recent caller to my office had a different conflict of interest with their lawyer. She had hurt her back and hired an attorney. He recommended a doctor to her which we don’t do, but normally isn’t a huge conflict either, unless they insist you work with that doctor.
In this case, the conflict of interest was that the lawyer and doctor are siblings. This, of course, raised a huge red flag with the insurance company and they are balking at paying the bill which is around $10,000.00. There is a settlement offer and the attorney is telling the client to pay her sibling out of the settlement.
There are so many things wrong with this scenario. Let’s count the ways:
- If the bills are related to the injury and reasonable, the insurance company should pay them directly and the lawyer should be fighting to make that happen.
- If for some reason the case was disputed and the bills were being paid out of the settlement, the attorney should be negotiating with the doctor to get them to take a lower amount. That didn’t happen here because the attorney seems to care more about their sibling making money than the client getting a good result.
- By sending the client to his sibling, the lawyer created huge credibility issues for his client. Imagine if the case went to trial and you were asked by the defense attorney, “How did you find your doctor that thinks you were hurt at work?” If your answer is, “My lawyer sent me, they are siblings” the credibility of the doctor will be thrown out the window and your case will be really hurt.
I could go on, but that’s a big 3 of conflicts.
Bottom line is that if your lawyer gives any indication that they are looking out for anyone but you it’s a huge red flag. Don’t hire them or if you already did, get rid of them.
As always, if you want to talk about a case, call us, fill out our contact form or hit the chat box to speak with an attorney for free. We cover all of Illinois.