During the pandemic, we are all spending more time watching television. I have noticed that the large personal injury (PI) law firms are pumping up their advertising. All of us are familiar with the advertising phrases such as, “In a wreck, need a check.” “More lawyer less fee.”; “I promise that I will not take more money than you.”
I receive a lot of phone calls from accident victims who cannot speak directly to their attorney. Large PI firms have para-legals, who are mostly ex-insurance adjusters, that handle claims on behalf of their advertising attorney. There are not enough hours in the day for an advertising attorney to return all of his clients calls, so he has to rely on his huge staff to do that.
I explain to these callers that if they fire their attorney, he will most likely place an attorney lien on the file for the hours expended on the claim, or the lien will assert for their percentage of any offer to settle. Therefore, the new attorney must accept the representation subject to that lien. If not much work has been done on the file then, the lien should not be high. However, sometimes the attorney lien will be an amount that approaches $10,000.00 for just opening the file.
Clients want to trust their PI attorneys to do the right thing on their injury claims. Oftentimes, injured victims of auto accidents are attracted by the marketing and advertising of PI lawyers. They expect that the lawyer will handle their claim personally, professionally, competently and diligently. The client vests this trust in the advertising lawyer, with the reasonable expectation that the advertising lawyer will communicate with them about their claim or case. When the client walks into the advertising attorney’s office for sign-up, they realize immediately that they do not speak to the advertising attorney. This is not a good initial sign about who they will be communicating with on their claim.
The Model Rules of Professional Conduct for attorneys compel reasonable communication between the lawyer with their client.
Almost all clients trust their attorney to work with them to achieve a desired result. The relationship is bilateral. Numerous factors outside anyone’s control will affect the clients injury claim. The opposing insurance company and your insurance company will make demands for information. These demands require action. The client does not give up the right to have input into their claim or lawsuit. The lawyer and client work as a team to accomplish the best possible settlement. The fiduciary relationship of the advertising attorney requires the lawyer to communicate with the client. A lawyer armed with only a portion of the relevant facts about a client’s claim cannot provide adequate representation. If the client only has a portion of the facts that affect the value of his claim, then he cannot make reasoned or justified decisions about his claim or lawsuit. There is an obvious connection between good communication and good representation. Failure of communication represents the single-most reason for client bar complaints against lawyers.
So, if you retain a rock star attorney you should be able to communicate directly with him.
Getting back to my initial about advertising PI attorneys, no large PI advertising attorney firm in Las Vegas uses the phrase, “If you retain me, you will be able to communicate directly with me.”
This is my motto. If you are looking for this type of representation for your injury claim, call me or send me an email.