Legal Question in Legal Malpractice in New York

I was injured by a vaccine. My lawyer negotiated a settlement for me that I agreed to. I signed and returned the papers to him. A week later just when I was expecting to receive the check, he called me to tell me that he misunderstood the pharmaceutical companies lawyers -- he told me at that time that out he was representing 2 people who were injured by the same vaccine and that the dollar amount that he thought each of us was going to get needs to be split between the 2 of us. Now I will be receiving 1/2 of what I thought I was getting. Since I signed and sent back the original papers is my lawyer breaking the contract? Is there any legal action that I can take, if so what kind of attorney should I look for. If I have no legal action that I can take can I at least ask him to take a smaller cut than the 33% since he made,what I consider a big mistake?

Asked on 12/11/12, 8:14 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Kevin Connolly Kevin J. Connolly

Let me get this straight...the lawyer wants to cut your settlement in half AND STILL TAKE A FEE?

He should count himself lucky if he gets away with paying you the amount he received and foregoing his fee. His fee is forfeited because (a) conflict of interest, negotiating for two clients in a package deal, (b) malpractice. I would tell the lawyer that I want to speak to the representative for the insurance or pharmaceutical companies. Why? Because there is a very high likelihood you're being ripped off, the lawyer is getting the full payoff on both clients and now he's trying to steal half of the proceeds. Or there is no other client and he's tryin to steal half of the proceeds. That evil conclusion can be removed only by this call, which you make to the insurance company. Any call that comes to you could be your lawyer's confederate. Any call you make should be routed thru the main switchboard: if you call a direct inward dial number, you could be reaching an insider-confederate.

I'm not exaggerating. These kinds of scams are all too common. There was a time when there was a building on Court Street in Brooklyn where half the lawyers never had a license and most of the rest were on suspension or probation. Remember, too, that the lawyer, by his own admission, has failed you.

Are your injuries exactly the same as the other plaintiff? No way, every plaintiff is unique and your lawyer's own story is fundamentally corrupt.

On reflection, I think the most likely outcome is your lawyer is both corrupt and stupid. Fire him and have someone new (not me, I don't do pharmaceutical plaintiff's side any longer) go forward with the case.

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Answered on 12/13/12, 5:39 am

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