Statues of Limitations
My personal injury attorney in Las Vegas never gave me my final settlement payment as promised. I lost the papers in a move but have since found them. I signed the release in Feb. 24 1999 but did not cash that check payment until August 1999 because I was still attempting to get the rest of the money in question. He will not give me a breakdown of any deductions, or payments to doctors, nothing. I contacted his boss and he won't respond either. He did tell me that he deducted commissions from my settlement for the other person in the car....there was no agreement to that and I told him so. Also, his fee is in dispute since he changed the arangement after he began.
Is there anything I can do since it has been over a year..????
1 Answer from Attorneys
Re: Statues of Limitations
You have three years to file suit against your attorney for Breach of Contract and legal malpractice. He breached your agreement for fees. You should also report his misconduct to the State Bar of Nevada. When you requested a break down of the disbursement of the settlement he was required by law to produce one within a reasonable amount of time, usually 48 to 72 hours after the request. You are entitled by law to a breakdown of your settlement. If you did not sign or agree to the amended fee agreement it is not valid. However, some fee agreements have a clause that states that the contingency fee goes up after a certain amount of time, or after a certain hearing has been held such as a trial setting conference. I don't know if the State Bar can do anything regarding the fee dispute, but they can put pressure on him to give you a breakdown of the settlement. If you still feel that he cheated you out of money, you need to either file for arbitration, or file a lawsuit in the State of Nevada, depending on the laws of Nevada concerning attorney/client fee disputes.
I hope this helps and I wish you the best of luck in resolving this issue. I know that this attorney jerked you, but do not judge all attorneys by this one's actions.
If you need help filing the lawsuit, or just need information on the laws of Nevada, ask the state bar for a referral to an attorney in your ex-attorney's area since that is where you will have to file the lawsuit. Most attorneys offer free consultations, so you can at least get information.
John Hayes, Esq.