When you hire an attorney to represent you in your accident case or medical malpractice case or wrongful death case here in New York, you expect a certain level of customer service. You expect reliability. You expect your attorney to take responsibility for his actions.
Here are three early warning signs that suggests deeper problems between you and your attorney:
- Your lawyer fails to call you back in a timely manner. Or, he doesn't call back at all.
- When you speak to your attorney, his explanations don't make sense. He gives you lots of excuses, yet you still don't understand what's going on with your case.
- Your attorney fails to teach you and educate you about how your case works and what will happen next.
If you experience any or all of these early warning signs, it could be a foreshadowing of what might occur in the future.
- It could be a communication problem.
- It could be that the attorney is too busy with other matters he is handling.
- There could be any number of reasons that could account for a deterioration in the communication between you and your lawyer.
What does that mean for you and your case?
In the best case scenario, it could mean nothing and is simply a hiccup in the course of your litigation.
In the worst-case scenario, it could mean that the attorney is neglecting your case and has other things to attend to that are more important.
When you begin to notice these warning signs, you need to contact your attorney, make an appointment, go in and sit down with him and have a very honest discussion about your frustrations and the clear lack of communication between him, his office and you.
That conversation will reveal much.
That conversation will help you determine in which direction you need to go.
That conversation will either reassure you that your attorney is fully aware of what's going on with your matter or it will simply confirm your doubts that this attorney may no longer be right for you. That may cause you to begin searching for another attorney to take over your case.
One of the biggest complaints made to a grievance committee is by clients who complain that their attorney did not communicate with them and did not communicate well.
The bottom line is that you, as a consumer who has hired an attorney to help obtain compensation for the harms you suffered because of someone else's carelessness, should not now have to bear the indignity of an attorney who pays scant attention to you and your case.
Many attorneys like to say that they give personal attention.
That's great in theory, but it's another to actually see it happen where you receive amazing customer service and have ongoing frequent communications with your attorney.
Personally, one of the things that I like to do in my office is communicate with my clients at least once a month by telephone. I do that regardless of whether there is any activity on their case or not. There is an important reason for this.
During this call I can learn how they are doing and see if there's any progress from a medical standpoint. In addition, I then have the opportunity to explain to my client what if anything is going on with your case. It also gives me an opportunity to explain to them what will happen next.
And here's the most important part...
These telephone calls occur and are initiated by my office. In other words, a client in my office never has to sit around and wonder what's going on with your case. Of course, you can always pick up the phone and called to ask. However, you know that every month you are going to get a call from me to touch base with you and see what's going on.
Not many lawyers and law firms in New York have such a system in place.
Now you know some of the early warning signs of an attorney-client relationship that might be going downhill. If it is, you need to take action sooner rather than later.