Legal Question in Legal Malpractice in California

I was coerced into accepting a rediculous settlement in a P.I.suit. . Attorney got disbarred in middle of case-never told me. Instead, hides behind the lie of "retiring". I was tricked into accepting his partner as substitute, who pretty much threw the case under the bus. I never got the medical care scheduled, so, do I have recourse, even after the 1 year statute (or is it 4 years?) has passed? I wasn't allowed to keep my medical equipment (which was part of the settlement) , and my medical bills were NOT paid as promised. Aren't attorneys required to notify clients in writing if they can't practice law, for god's sake?

Asked on 10/28/10, 9:09 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

George Shers Law Offices of Georges H. Shers

Yes, attorneys must notify their clients if they are suspended from the practice of law; I would assume his partner would know of the suspension. Malpractice suits must be brought within one year of the act or finding out about it, but you have a longer time for a fraud suit. But if the other side did not provide what they agreed to do, then they have breached the settlement agreement and you can go back and work out a new settlement that is more favorable. Normally,however, defendants do not fail to live up to the terms of the agreement so you must verify that they actually agreed to those terms. You should act as quickly as you can. Read through the agreement, list what they have not done, see the attorney who handled the settlement for you and find out why that was not done, check with the defendant as to what their position is, talk to the people who took away your medical equipment, etc.

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Answered on 11/02/10, 11:11 pm

Herb Fox Law Office of Herb Fox

I concur with Mr. Sher's advice.

I would add, however, that while it is not necessarily your attorney's fault if the defendant fails to perform the settlement agreement, there may be grounds here for a malpractice suit. The only way to determine that is to consult with an attorney who has experience in professional negligence law.

Further, although you state that one year has passed, whether the statute of limitations has lapsed depends on a variety of other factors, including whether your attorney had continuing duties to you after the settlement was reached and when you discovered the deficiencies in the agreement, the misrepresentations by your attorney, etc. Again, a consultation with an attorney experienced in these matters should point you in the right direction.

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Answered on 11/03/10, 9:39 am

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