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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    2

    Default Attorney Not Acting in Best Interest

    My workers compensation claim was made in the State of: NY

    Attorney trying to settle Section 32 Settlement

    Currently have two open comp cases. Second case happened in 2002 and involved the head, neck and upper back, more. Until a recent comp hearing my head has not been a part of the case (although my attorney indicated at hearing that it should of been). My understanding was that my head was included right from the get go because that is what impacted. Recent medical indicates major cognitive issues (due to brain injury). Have other physical documented issues too.

    Attorney sent the following e-mail to the section 32 adjuster that I find unprofessional. (and wondering if maybe I am missing the bigger picture)?


    32 discussions have gone on for YEARS in this case. please be so kind as to forget about the cognitive issue as her demand didn't consider it and any further development of medical evidence would again greatly delay this coming to fruition and claimant is desperate due to financial problems. she is quite frustrated with her current state and wants a settlement to help her relocate near her boyfriend who lives in another state. she just wants to cut the comp umbilical cord and get on with her life. so please consider meeting her offer as soon as u can.

    1. Thought our conversations were private/protected and never dreamed they would show up in an e-mail. Nor did I give him permission to include in e-mail.
    2. "forget about the cognitive issue as her demand didn't consider it and any further development of medical evidence would again greatly delay this coming to fruition". Really, Should an Attorney forget an issue as serious as this?
    2. Did tell him i wanted to settle but never told him "claimant is desperate due to financial problems".
    3. My personal business is just that, personal. Shouldn't be put into an e-mail to a NYS section 32 Adjuster.

    Currently on SSDI and Partial Comp.

    Did contact another attorney before this e-mail and was told basically, that my case(s) is too old to be a financial gain. Not sure what to do. Looking for legal advise and direction.

    Tried to keep short ask questions if needed.
    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    9,080

    Default Re: Attorney Not Acting in Best Interest

    continue to contact other attys; don't let one opinion deter your decision to change.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Calif
    Posts
    17,945

    Default Re: Attorney Not Acting in Best Interest

    Currently on SSDI and Partial Comp.
    Your atty has neglected to address Medicare interests, from what you have provided...you cannot close either claim by a Section 32 C&R until you address the potential need of a WCMSA/setaside arrangement that protects Medicare interests.

    The adjuster is not likely to respond until there is a calculation of your future medical care needs, and that MSA....While it's true you can change attorneys at any time... you have also found the reluctance of another atty stepping in at this point in such a dated claim.

    Make an appt with your atty, sit down and have a frank discussion...make a list of your concerns and "duke this out"... amicably of course... IMHO, there has been a misunderstanding in what you may have read or perceived.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    831 East Morehead St., Ste 355, Charlotte, NC 28202
    Posts
    3,744

    Default Re: Attorney Not Acting in Best Interest

    A cardinal rule of negotiation is to never, ever, let the other side know that you are desperate to settle. I try to avoid letting the other side know that my client is even motivated to settle lest they assume he or she is desperate. Since you are not desperate, perhaps the lawyer is desperate to settle your case and put the fee in his bank account. That would not be a good situation for you.

    I don't know why the cognitive situation is not being included in the [apparently earlier] settlement demand that lawyer made, unless the medical evidence available simply does not support a cognitive problem. That type of injury would have some value under most states' work comp laws.

    Your lawyer can tell the other side "personal info" if he thinks it is in your best interest to do so. I hate to call out a fellow lawyer on a web post, but I cannot fault you for being concerned about how this was submitted to the other side.
    The North Carolina Court of Appeals has held that "In contested Workers' Compensation cases today, access to competent legal counsel is a virtual necessity." Church v. Baxter Travenol Labs, Inc., and American Motorists Insurance Company, 104 N.C. App. 411, 416 (1991).

    Bob Bollinger, Attorney and Board Certified Specialist in NC Workers' Compensation Law

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    California
    Posts
    1,856

    Default Re: Attorney Not Acting in Best Interest

    Hi Mr. Bollinger,


    I would be very upset with my attorney, if I was the poster above.

    I was under the impression injured workers had attorney client privilege, and their attorneys could not disclose personal information, discussed between a client an their attorney. From your post, it sounds like I am mistaken. Is this the case in every state?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Calif
    Posts
    17,945

    Default Re: Attorney Not Acting in Best Interest

    Generally... once the info in posted on any public forum/board, there is no longer any atty/cllient privilege...
    Just like the sex offender from Penn State... in the interview with Costa... all of that is now admissable in court... lost the atty/client relationship.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    790

    Default Re: Attorney Not Acting in Best Interest

    I agree with Bob - never, but never, should an attorney disclose personal information about his client to the opposing party in a case of any kind. If the client wants to post all over facebook, myspace, or run an ad in the paper, that's his/her business, but the attorney should not share any of that with the other party.

    The worst thing the attorney could have done here is to claim that the client is DESPERATE. That, IMHO, is unprofessional and extremely damaging to the client's position.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    831 East Morehead St., Ste 355, Charlotte, NC 28202
    Posts
    3,744

    Default Re: Attorney Not Acting in Best Interest

    A lawyer has to keep confidential client information confidential except under certain narrow circumstances. But unless the client tells the lawyer to keep a particular piece of info confidential, the lawyer can use that info to further the client's best interests in the negotiation. Here, the OP is posting a situation in which it does not appear to me that the lawyer is using that info to further the client's best interests, because lawyer is telling other side that client is desperate to settle. Common sense should dictate that a client's desperation should remain confidential. Now, a brand new young lawyer may make that mistake in judgment and disclose that, but a more experienced lawyer ordinarily would not. And I think the client's position is potentially harmed anytime you try to settle by telling the other side that your client is desperate to settle.
    The North Carolina Court of Appeals has held that "In contested Workers' Compensation cases today, access to competent legal counsel is a virtual necessity." Church v. Baxter Travenol Labs, Inc., and American Motorists Insurance Company, 104 N.C. App. 411, 416 (1991).

    Bob Bollinger, Attorney and Board Certified Specialist in NC Workers' Compensation Law

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