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Lombardi Law Firm

Legal Ethics: A lawyer’s reputation for honesty is his most valuable tool.

Steve Lombardi
Iowa personal injury, workers' compensation, motorcycle, quadriplegic, paraplegic, brain injury, death

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10/16/2012
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Ask Honest AbeQuestion: How do you know if your attorney is being truthful about the personal injury case if the office is already under unethical issues? My attorney contacted me saying that the negligent person's insurance company offered a settlement but the attorney did not tell me the amount. The only thing was quoted to me was you are looking at about $2,000.00 in pocket after bills are paid. What does this mean? I was out of work for 144 hrs, medical bills were $12,400.00, car damages was $7,500.00(rear-ended), rental car $1,200.00. What is a fair settlement?

Answer: I obviously don’t know who your attorney might be and I don’t need to know, but this is not the way I handle my clients’ case. When an offer comes in I relay the exact amount and terms to my client as well as my advice as to the amount I intend to counter with. I then ask for their input. Normally they just follow my advice. At the end of each and every case a disbursement sheet is drawn up by Barbara who handles the money in my office. I review it and make sure I agree with the numbers. We then provide the disbursement sheet to the client and have them sign off on it. The money is not disbursed until they do.

Now it’s not unusual for a client to ask, “How much will I end up getting” after all litigation expenses, liens and subrogation interests? If that question arises, and it does most always, I tell them as your attorney has told you, “You’ll get about $2,000.” Assuming that is the amount.

What you need to do is sit down and talk with your attorney about how he arrived at that amount and why he believes the offer is a fair one. Listen and try to understand his thinking. If you’re still not satisfied and wonder about his/her ethics find another lawyer for a second opinion.

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