Seeking Updates and Overcoming Concerns
I hired an attorney a few months ago to handle my workers’ compensation case. Initially, I had high hopes for my lawyer and believed they would handle my case competently. However, after a couple of early meetings, communication has dwindled. I’ve left messages with the attorney’s assistant, but I still haven’t received a response. It’s been several weeks, and I’m growing increasingly worried about my case. Should I take legal action and sue for malpractice?
Your Attorney’s Obligation to Communicate
Rest assured, your attorney has a legal and ethical obligation to keep you updated and informed about the progress of your case. Nevertheless, attorneys often juggle multiple cases simultaneously, making it difficult to provide constant updates. Workers’ compensation cases can also progress slowly, depending on your state’s regulations. Consequently, it’s possible that there hasn’t been much activity to report. However, even in such cases, your attorney should still make an effort to inform you, even if it’s to mention that your case is currently in a holding pattern.
If you’re concerned about the lack of communication, consider reaching out to the legal assistants and paralegals working in your attorney’s office. They may provide you with some information about your case’s status. If you don’t receive assistance from them and worry that crucial details might have slipped through the cracks, it’s within your rights to request access to your workers’ compensation file.
Taking Action to Stay Informed
Whether you prefer to view the file in person at your attorney’s office or receive a copy via mail or email, examining it will help you ascertain the progress made in your case to date. Should your lawyer remain unresponsive even after requesting your file, it may be time to consider finding alternative legal representation. However, depending on the stage of your case, securing a new attorney might pose challenges.
Considering the payment structure for workers’ compensation lawyers, the total fee remains the same regardless of the number of attorneys involved. When multiple lawyers have contributed to your case, they divide the fee based on their respective contributions. Therefore, a second attorney may be hesitant to take your case if your initial lawyer would receive a significant portion of the fee. However, if your lawyer hasn’t made substantial progress on your case, you should face less difficulty in securing new representation.
If you’re seeking a list of reputable workers’ compensation attorneys in your area, Garrity Traina offers excellent services. Additionally, you can refer to our handy guide on finding a qualified workers’ comp lawyer for valuable tips and a list of questions to ask potential attorneys. Remember to bring a copy of your workers’ comp file when meeting with other lawyers.
Considering Malpractice and Other Options
While pursuing a malpractice suit may seem tempting, it’s usually not worth the time and effort unless your lawyer has made a significant error, such as missing an important filing deadline. To succeed in a malpractice claim, you must demonstrate not only your lawyer’s wrongful acts but also the financial loss you suffered as a result. For example, if your lawyer missed the deadline for filing your workers’ comp claim, and there was no way to rectify the mistake, it’s possible to receive compensation for lost benefits through a malpractice award. However, you would still need to prove that you had a strong chance of winning your workers’ comp case had it been pursued.
In most instances, failure to communicate effectively won’t directly result in financial losses in your workers’ compensation case, making a malpractice lawsuit unlikely to succeed. However, you can always file a complaint with the state bar, the agency responsible for disciplining attorneys. Although this process won’t provide you with compensation, it holds your lawyer accountable for their behavior.
Remember, if you have any concerns or questions about your case, don’t hesitate to reach out to your attorney, even if it’s just to request an update.