Legal Question in Legal Malpractice in Tennessee

Legal Responsibility after case acceptance

Is it legal or ethical for a lawyer to drop a medical malpractice case after acceptance. This is a personal injury case where a Chiropractor severely injured a person to the extent that surgery of the neck is required. The lawyer acepted the case on a contingency basis and then when he found out the tremendous expense associated with surgery-Rehab-expert witnesses etc, he dropped the case. This left the injured person facing serious surgery without any representation. This is a disabled single mother with no resources. This seems so unfair. Maybe we (average citizen) see this too simply or too black and white. The injured person was doing okay for many years and hurts her back moving furniture. She sees a Chiropractor recommended by folks at her church. He manipulates her head and now she cannot turn it, has tremendous pain, and faces cervical surgery at the advice of a nuerosurgeon. She is frightened, no money and her lawyer drops her. She only wanted to be able to do what she could previously and have her medical bills etc. paid. Maybe legal, but fair No

Asked on 1/16/04, 2:37 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Robert Harlib Robert S. Harlib, Attorney At Law

Re: Legal Responsibility after case acceptance

A lawyer can choose not to pursue a case already accepted, but if already filed in court, must get approval from a judge to withdraw. I am familiar with medical malpractice and you may call me if you wish at 312-236-0290.

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Answered on 1/19/04, 10:02 am
Spencer Farris The S.E. Farris Law Firm

Re: Legal Responsibility after case acceptance

Typically, either client or attorney can end the relationship at any time. The caveat is that a lawyer is professionally responsible not to abandon a case when it would prejudice a client to so do, except under some limited circumstances. If you still have time to file a lawsuit, and can hire another lawyer to so do, I doubt that you have been prejudiced.

Frankly, you are likely better off to be rid of a lawyer who is not committed to your case and the cost there, although it may not feel that way now.

Best Wishes.

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Answered on 1/16/04, 2:47 pm

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