Client as a sitting duckThis Q&A has me wondering what this lawyer thinks his job was in this case. Let’s read the question, I’ve underlined the part that concerns me the most.

Question Detail: I've had hired an attorney due to a slip and fall at a residence in 2010. I suffered a broken ankle and pain on the left side of my neck and back. After going to a pain clinic for the past 2 years I learned I would need surgery. It's called an anterior posterior cervical decompression and fusion. The attorney that I have states they have come to a settlement of a pending amt of $15,000.00. I was told that if I didn't sign immediately that I may not get anything because these cases are hard to prove. (Attorney's Note: No case is easy.) Please note that I did sign the settlement papers, but at the lawyer's insistence. Since then I haven't heard from the attorney regarding the finally agreement. Is there a way that I can refuse to accept this agreement? I would like to hire a new attorney who cares about my case. I am in fear of a possible job loss if I cannot keep myself attending work. So far, I used a lot of FMLA which is frowned upon by the company. I can understand, but I don't know how to protect myself. Would you be able to at least lead me in the right direction as to what I could do at this point? In addition to the above I have never met face to face with this attorney nor did he attend my deposition. I have a witness who saw me fall. There were several other people there at the time of the accident, including the homeowners who agree that I was hurt. I don't know if I trust this attorney and if I have been mislead.

Answer: What a difficult question to answer. Without knowing more I would hesitate to offer advice, other than to say if you're having second thoughts contact your lawyer, advise for him not to send the signed settlement agreement and sit down to discuss the situation. Do it in writing; in other words write a letter and drop it off at your lawyer's office. Perhaps your lawyer can allow time for a second opinion with another lawyer. But there is more to your question that concerns me.

It is the lawyer’s job to represent you at every stage of the litigation, including your deposition. If your lawyer (no lawyer) was with you at the deposition that’s a red flag and yes you should be concerned about any advice you’re getting from this lawyer. I’ve never in 30+ years allowed my client to be deposed outside of my presence. That’s not the standard of practice in Iowa. In my mind it’s an absolute violation of the standard of civil trial practice and per se malpractice. Stop reading this and go find a lawyer to review your case. 


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