No phone call.
No communication from your lawyer in months!
What's going on?
Did he forget about you?
Is he too busy with other matters?
Is he ignoring me?
Is my case not worth enough to him?
What's the deal?
Why haven't you heard from your attorney in months?
There may be a few different reasons why there's been radio silence from your lawyer's office and it may NOT be what you think. Let me share a few of those reasons with you...
Reason Number 1: He's Still Investigating Your Case
You went to an attorney to see if you have a valid medical malpractice case.
Your initial meeting went well.
The attorney expressed great interest in your case.
You signed up with him.
He told you he'd do a detailed and thorough investigation.
Then he said he'd get back to you with the results.
You haven't heard from him in months.
Is he investigating or not?
Is he getting your records or not?
What the heck is he doing?
What you are experiencing is the classic "In Limbo" time where you don't yet know if the attorney will accept your case.
In order to determine if you have a case, your lawyer has to do many things. Things that go on behind the scenes. Things that don't involve you at the moment. The problem is that most medical malpractice attorneys in New York, don't have a system in place that will tell you what's going on behind the scenes WHILE they are investigating your case.
The attorney has sent requests for your medical records. That can take weeks or even months. Some doctors or hospitals refuse to hand over the records voluntarily. If that's the case, the attorney might have to start a case on your behalf simply to have the court order the doctor or the hospital to turn over your records. That can take time to accomplish.
Once all your records have been obtained, then your attorney must review those records himself. Every single page of every record. This is the only way he'll get a good sense of what happened and importantly, it will allow him to have an intelligent conversation with the medical expert he hires to review your case.
Then, he actually has to hire a qualified medical expert to review all your records. All your records must be copied or scanned and sent to your expert for review. The expert must evaluate all your medical records to determine if your doctor violated the basic standards of good medical care. He must also determine if that wrongdoing caused or contributed to your injuries. He then must determine if your injuries are significant and/or permanent.
Only if the medical expert confirms you have a valid case can you expect to hear back from your attorney giving you the thumbs up that he can now start a case on your behalf.
The problem is that most attorneys don't let you know what's happening along the way. There's a clear lack of communication about what's going on behind the scenes. I can pretty much assure you that your attorney has NOT forgotten about you and your case. Most likely he simply failed to communicate with you regarding each step taking place during the investigation phase.
Reason #2: Your Attorney Is Way Too Busy
This reason is troubling.
It tells me that your attorney is taking on too many cases.
More than he can handle.
It means that he does not have the staff necessary to do a timely, thorough and detailed investigation.
It also tells me that he doesn't have the time or staff necessary to keep you up to date on what's happening on your case.
This does not bode well for you or your case.
Signs of this happening might be that repeated phone calls to your attorney's office are not returned.
Emails to your lawyer's personal email account are ignored.
You try to set up an in-office appointment to have a face-to-face meeting and your lawyer never is willing to schedule an appointment.
These are all troubling signs that might have simple explanations.
But overall tend to indicate a deeper problem.
Reason #3: Your Attorney Has No System in Place to Communicate With You Regularly
This is the most benign reason you haven't heard from your attorney in months.
Your attorney is really good at what he does.
He's well known and has a good staff.
He knows what's going on with your case every time you call.
He doesn't need to look on the computer to see what happened on your case.
The problem is he doesn't feel it's critical to keep you in the loop on everything that happens on your case.
He's content to speak to you every six months to a year, or if you happen to call asking what's going on with your case.
He has no system in place to communicate with you regularly.
He has no newsletter sent to you each month.
He doesn't send letters out to his clients each month.
He doesn't send emails to update you on what's happening.
It takes too much time and too much effort on his part.
It would take too many resources to keep you updated on a regular basis, so he simply doesn't.
To me, that's simply being lazy.
It doesn't mean he's not a good attorney.
Rather, he just doesn't feel the need or see the value in creating a system to keep you updated on your case on a regular basis.
As for me?
I consider it a personal requirement to keep my clients updated on a monthly basis.
I don't care what other attorneys do or don't do regarding how and when they communicate with their clients.
I know many lawyers in New York (especially those who handle personal injury cases and medical malpractice cases) don't have a communication system set up to let you know what's going on with your case each month. I do.
In fact, I find this is one of THE MOST important ways to let you know what's happening on your case.
I don't want you calling every six months saying "What the hell is going on with my case? I haven't heard from you in half a year? This is ridiculous!"
To me, it's unfortunate a client would ever have to do that.
Instead, I am proactive.
I proactively send you a letter, email or phone call each month.
Each month I update you on what's going on with your case.
That happens even if nothing is going on since we last communicated.
This way you know I haven't forgotten about you.
This way you know if there are any changes going on.
This way you're kept in the loop, especially about things that are going on behind the scenes on your case.
I have found, after being in practice for more than 30 years, that keeping you apprised of what's happening (or not happening) on your case each month, makes for a happy client. It makes for an informed client. It reassures you that your case is important to me and that I value you and your case.