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  1. #1
    PaGal is offline Junior Member
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    Hit by uninsured motorist (who submitted false insurance info to police)

    What is the name of your state? Pennsylvania

    We were hit by another vehicle in the middle of the passenger side. The police report and sketch clearly show the other person was at fault (the other driver ran a red light. There were witnesses to that fact, so it was not our word against his). We hired a personal injury lawyer because my spouse (who was in the passenger seat) was injured. It turns out that the other driver had no insurance, and provided the police with false insurance information as well as a false registration for their vehicle, which was not found out until the attorney tried to contact the insurance company that the other person claimed to have.

    My spouse and I signed a contract with the attorney (on a contingency basis), who now says the case isn't worth his time, since the other person has no insurance, and has no income (just a long criminal record). However, he will not sign off and let us look for an attorney who will try and recoup our out of pocket losses.

    Do we have any recourse? Can we "fire" the attorney that we hired on a contingency basis? Do we have any recourse against the uninsured motorist who was the cause of the accident? It seems inconceivable that someone can drive with no insurance, no auto registration, and not be held accountable for the damage they caused.
    Last edited by PaGal; 01-21-2008 at 06:00 PM.
  2. #2
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    You can sue him, but it's HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY unlikely you will never see a dime and it will be a waste of your time.

    You have PIP coverage for your spouse's medical bills. Other then that, your only REALISTIC chance of recouping anything for this accident will be through your own insurance - collision and/or uninsured motorist coverage.
  3. #3
    PaGal is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks so much for sharing your insight, I do appreciate it

    It is just so frustrating that people can get away with this. I see those commercials all the time warning about driving without insurance, when in fact, it seems as though the only people who have coverage are those who have something to lose It's a real shame. I was curious as to whether if we did sue the other party would have their income tax or wages garnished (if that is even an option) but since this guy's career is as a criminal, that's a moot point.

    It is so very discouraging.

    Thanks again for your reply, it does help the fact that we're pretty much on the double-losing end of this sink in.
  4. #4
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    Not in our great state. Can't garnish wages in PA except for child support and maybe taxes. He'd have to have a (legal) job in order to get a tax refund, and I don't know if a civil judgement could seize that, but it wouldn't cover your damage by itself even if he had one.

    There might be some way to alert the DMV or police that his insurance is expired though. Can you call the officer that investigated your accident?
  5. #5
    JETX is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaGal View Post
    However, he will not sign off and let us look for an attorney who will try and recoup our out of pocket losses.
    Far more likely that the REAL story is that the attorney won't release the case because he wants to have a chance to recover his expenses accrued. So, how much is he asking for his time??

    Do we have any recourse?
    See above.

    Can we "fire" the attorney that we hired on a contingency basis?
    Not without the attorneys permission... or a court order.

    Do we have any recourse against the uninsured motorist who was the cause of the accident?
    Of course, you could sue... but then if the person doesn't have anything to pay the judgment... wouldn't be much good, would it??
    File a claim on your own 'uninsured motorist' insurance.
  6. #6
    PaGal is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by JETX View Post
    Far more likely that the REAL story is that the attorney won't release the case because he wants to have a chance to recover his expenses accrued. So, how much is he asking for his time??
    If you are inferring that I am trying to weasel out of paying the attorney, that is not the case. He took the case on a contingency basis, wherein he would receive nothing for his time should we not recover anything. He has not asked for a cent. He explained that he does not feel it would be worth his time to pursue a judgement against a career criminal, as it is likely he would never have anything to pay. Perhaps I was being overly optimistic thinking that someone else may see it as a worthwhile venture.

    So, no, the lawyer has not asked for any payment. Is this unual when one works on a contingency basis? I didn't think so, but then again if I had even a basic grasp of the Pa legal system, I wouldn't be asking here
  7. #7
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    He's not releasing your case because, on the off chance you DO recover something through whatever means, that contract means he's entitled to some of it.
  8. #8
    JETX is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaGal View Post
    If you are inferring that I am trying to weasel out of paying the attorney, that is not the case. He took the case on a contingency basis, wherein he would receive nothing for his time should we not recover anything.
    Read your agreement. It is very common for a contingent agreement to include compensation to the attorney if the client tries to terminate the agreement.

    However, based on your statement that the debtor appears to be judgment-proof (per your attorney), I really don't see any reason why the attorney wouldn't agree to terminate the agreement. Again, the only reason I can see his refusal is if he feels that he should recover some money or is hoping that the defendant magically 'finds' some money.

    Send the attorney a very nice letter detailing his claims that litigation is 'not worth pursuing against this party' and that based on that, you ask the attorney to confirm termination of the agreement.
  9. #9
    You Are Guilty is offline Senior Member
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    Re-read the retainer agreement and keep an eye out for anything related to "litigation expenses". Could be another reason for the reluctance.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tranquility
    Once you get to crazy land, it is only a guess on how to get out.

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