Attorney Liens Part 1: What are Attorney Liens?

Attorney Liens

Attorney LiensWork with skilled Tampa attorney lien defense attorneys!

When you hire an attorney, you will normally sign a contract laying out the work you expect the attorney to accomplish and the method by which the attorney expects to be paid for his time. Whether you pay a retainer up front or sign a contingency fee agreement assigning a portion of your potential award to your attorney, few clients expect their attorneys to work for free. A typical agreement also spells out who should be responsible for the costs of filing fees, expert witnesses, and other expenses that are a normal part of your type of lawsuit. You may agree to pay some or all of those costs as the case progresses, or your attorney may agree to pay for everything until he obtains a money judgment in your favor. Each case is unique, and there are many different types of attorney contracts – but the language of yours could have a huge impact on your future relationship with your attorney.

Once the agreement is signed, most attorneys will get to work. Over the coming weeks and months, he and his staff will obtain and review reports, interview witnesses, schedule and attend formal depositions, and engage expert witnesses. He will build a case file, negotiate with the other party, and spend time answering your questions. He will prepare for trial, file motions on your behalf, and work toward achieving your objectives.

Only, things don’t always go according to plan.

Whether you become dissatisfied with your attorney’s representation or whether your attorney seeks to withdraw from your case for reasons of his own, you may be left in the position of needing to hire a new attorney to finish your case. When that happens, your original attorney may, in some but not all cases, still be entitled to payment for the time he spent on your case and for the expenses he has covered to investigate your claim. If you cannot or do not pay him according to the terms of your contract – or if you dispute the amount he is requesting – he has a few options to attempt to force payment.

The two favored options for a Florida attorney who wants to recover costs and fees owed him by a former client are retaining liens and charging liens. Retaining liens, basically, allow an attorney to hold your file – and all the evidence he’s collected while working on your case – as surety against your payment. Charging liens allow him to claim a portion of your future judgment in the case, once you receive it.

There are rules governing an attorney’s ability to file each type of lien, and conditions that must exist before a lien can be filed at all. Those rules and conditions will be explored in Part 2, and retaining and charging liens will be explored in Part 3.

Wagner, McLaughlin & Whittemore has the experience to defend our clients against unreasonable attorney liens and to help their cases get back on track. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Florida medical malpractice legal options

Florida medical malpractice legal options

Consult with Tampa’s medical malpractice attorneys about your case TODAY!

Some of the most horrific stories you’ll hear about are related to medical malpractice. The wrong leg is amputated, instruments are left inside patients after surgery, misdiagnosed diseases result in completely unnecessary treatments, and the list goes on. Though doctors and other medical professionals are among the most trusted professionals in society, when they make mistakes on the job, those mistakes can cost not only money, but lives.

The horror stories make it seem like medical malpractice cases are obvious and easy to prove, but that’s not always true. Patients don’t have to lose a limb or suffer severe pain to have a claim against their doctor for medical malpractice.

Ultimately, what a medical malpractice patient is required to prove in court is that:

1. The doctor failed to uphold the prevailing standard of care. This basically means that most competent doctors in your area would have diagnosed and treated you more successfully.

2. The doctor’s malpractice resulted in injury or damage to you. This can be small or large, but whether you had to pay for $1,000 of useless medication or whether you lost the use of your leg because of medical malpractice, you simply have to prove that your loss would not have happened if your doctor had done her job reasonably prudently.

Once you determine that you have suffered damage because of medical malpractice, you still need to decide whether you can prove it. It will help to have records of doctor’s bills and medications, your notes from what the doctor told you at each treatment or consultation session, and witnesses who can help prove that the damage did not exist before the treatment. It is often necessary in medical malpractice cases for another doctor or other medical expert to testify as to what the standard of care is for your area, and how your doctor’s medical malpractice caused your damage.

If you feel that you have suffered needlessly because of medical malpractice, it is best to immediately consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Such an attorney can help you decide what your damages are, what you’ll be able to prove, and what you can expect to recover in court.

If you are in need of a legal malpractice, personal injury, medical malpractice, accident, or whistleblower lawyer in Tampa, Florida, the Tampa Bay attorneys of Wagner, McLaughlin & Whittemore would be pleased to speak with you. We fight aggressively to protect the rights of our clients. Click here or call us today at (813) 225-4000 to schedule a free consultation.

Florida legal malpractice lawyers

Florida legal malpractice image

Contact the Tampa legal malpractice attorneys TODAY! We can help!

Like any professional in the marketplace, attorneys are not infallible. Though they are often highly intelligent, they are not universally correct. Though they are talented, they are not perfect.

Also, like any other professional, when an attorney’s negligent job performance – called malpractice, or “bad practice” – costs you money, that attorney should be required to compensate you.

Let’s consider that for a moment. If you take your shirts to the dry-cleaner and the dry-cleaner destroys them, wouldn’t you want the dry-cleaner to pay to replace the shirts? Likewise, if a contractor comes to your home, unreasonably breaks a pipe, and destroys a wall, you’d expect him to either fix it himself or cover the cost of having someone else repair the damage. Those things seem very normal to most people.

What is often harder for some unsatisfied clients to decide is whether their attorney should pay for the damages they suffered because of the attorney’s malpractice.

How do you know when you should demand that your attorney compensate you for the negative ramifications of how he did his job? Consider the following potential malpractice flags:
• Did your attorney miss a deadline that made it impossible for you to recover money you would otherwise be entitled to?

• Did your attorney give you advice based on outdated law? Did your reliance on that advice cost you money?

• Were you fined for actions that your attorney told you were legal?

• Have you discovered that your attorney had a conflict of interest that made it unethical for her to represent you on your recent case or contract negotiation?

• Did your attorney mishandle your funds?

• Has your attorney failed to do the work for which you retained him?

If you feel that your attorney’s actions or bad advice has caused you financial damage, you may wish to consult with an attorney skilled in deconstructing what your first attorney did – and what the ramifications were. You wouldn’t let your dry cleaner’s bad performance go unchallenged, so you should also feel free to challenge your attorney’s malpractice, as well.

If you are in need of a legal malpractice, personal injury, medical malpractice, accident, or whistleblower lawyer in Tampa, Florida, the Tampa Bay attorneys of Wagner, McLaughlin & Whittemore would be pleased to speak with you. We fight aggressively to protect the rights of our clients. Click here or call us today at (813) 225-4000 to schedule a free consultation.