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auto accident/lawyer not representing appropriately

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I was in two auto accidents, I have been to litigation and not accepted offer. My lawyer tells me the next step is take case to trial. Now he tells me that if I am not awarded more than initial offer I will have to pay money out of my pocket. The accidents were in 1997. The first person struck on the passenger side. Three months later I was struck while sitting at the red light. I think I may need a new lawyer, It seems as if he is working for the other insurance company. What can I do to resolve this matter, and not accept the offer from the insurance company?
 


I AM ALWAYS LIABLE

Senior Member
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Arial, Helvetica, Verdana">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by [email protected]:
I was in two auto accidents, I have been to litigation and not accepted offer. My lawyer tells me the next step is take case to trial. Now he tells me that if I am not awarded more than initial offer I will have to pay money out of my pocket. The accidents were in 1997. The first person struck on the passenger side. Three months later I was struck while sitting at the red light. I think I may need a new lawyer, It seems as if he is working for the other insurance company. What can I do to resolve this matter, and not accept the offer from the insurance company?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


My response:

If I understand you correctly, you are telling us that your claim is in the litigation process, and I presume, your case is very close to the trial date. In that instance, your attorney is doing his job by keeping you informed that the Defendant Insurance Company has served a paper known as an "Offer to Compromise." Changing attorneys is not going to change the law.

If an "offer" is served (probably very low), the law says that if you fail to obtain a higher judgment after trial than the original "offer to compromise", then you will be held responsible for the Defendant's costs of trial, including expert fees, and a whole host of other costs.

For example, 40 days prior to trial, the Defendant serves an Offer to Compromise for $3,000.00, and you refuse to accept the offer. If you lose at trial (or in attorney parlance, are "Defensed"), you will be held liable for, perhaps, hundreds of dollars worth of defense costs (talk to attorney for details). Or, if you "win", but your judgment is for $2,500.00, you still must pay the costs. This is because your award was "less than" the Offer to Compromise. If your judgment is $3,001.00, then you wouldn't have to pay costs because your judgment is greater than the original $3,000.00 Offer to Compromise.

At the same time, your attorney can serve an Offer to Compromise on the Defendant - - even one that is greater than the insurance policy limits. If they fail to accept your offer, and you win more money than your own Offer to Compromise, not only will the Defendant's insurance company be on the hook for the judgment (and even above policy limits), but also for your costs of trial.

So, in conclusion, your attorney has a duty to you, to keep you informed of everything that happens, and to tell you about Offers and their implications to your financial future. There is nothing wrong with your attorney - - he/she can do nothing to change the law, and is only following the law.

If you have any more questions, write back.

IAAL


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