If you've been seriously injured in a car accident, having a good attorney working hard for you is a valuable asset. It can be difficult to tell immediately the exact extent of your injuries and the impact that they will have on your life. In many cases, an injured person or family members in the case of a wrongful death suit may not fully understand the type of compensation they may be eligible for.
They might assume that they are only entitled to getting their immediate medical bills paid, or they might think that their lawyer does not need to do much more than enforce the agreement of applicable auto insurance policies. Since car accident attorneys often work on contingency, meaning they are paid if the "win," it is easy to blindly trust that the attorney will automatically work hard and do their best for their client. Unfortunately, this isn't always true.
When Lawyers Fail
Some lawyers might begin a case, and look for a way to reach an easy settlement that will allow them to move onto the next case. They still get their contingency fee, because they recovered something, but their client is left without the resources they need to manage their injury and the obstacles it will ultimately mean for them in the future. Of course, no attorney can guarantee a win for their client, but it is a personal injury attorney's responsibility to stay loyal to their client and fully investigate the cause of a car accident, as well as the short and long term impact of their client's injuries in order to make a honest effort toward getting their client the type of settlement they need.
Is It Malpractice?
Whenever the word "malpractice" is used to describe a professional -- including a lawyer-- it can feel like a strong word. Just because a lawyer doesn't achieve the absolute desired result doesn't mean they are guilty of malpractice. Some drag their feet in filing a claim, and wind up missing important statute of limitations deadlines. Others might misinterpret the law, giving their client false hope. Some might have other cases that cause an inappropriate shift in their priorities because of some conflict of interest. Others charge unreasonable fees, or are simply not available or responsive to their client when they reach out to ask questions or request advice or help.
Car accident personal injury cases are hard work, and if the injuries are serious, they are usually emotionally charged for the client as well as the attorney. When a qualified and dedicated attorney is working the case, their client should be able to feel their commitment and involvement every step of the way. If you find that the handling of your case has been lackluster, and the result insufficient and anti-climatic you may benefit from another set of eyes that can take a look at the case. An attorney that is experienced in legal malpractice counsel knows firsthand the types of resources that attorneys have available to them, and can look into case files to see that they were fully utilized for the benefit of their client.