Are They Allowed To Do That?
Lawyers are governed by rules of professional conduct that help ensure that personal injury attorneys follow the law, while zealously representing their clients.
These rules of ethics and professional conduct, which are continuously updated, are taken very seriously by Cleveland personal injury attorney Joseph T. Joseph, Jr.
Joseph stressed it’s important for people to know that lawyers are governed by these sets of rules, and if they’re not being followed it’s considered unethical behavior.
Be wary of these 3 common acts of personal injury attorneys that may be considered ethical violations or conflict with the best interest of the client.
- Direct phone solicitation
If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident, your main priority should be to rest and heal, not get unwelcomed phone calls from attorneys looking to represent you. Joseph says direct phone contact from lawyers is a violation of the rules of ethics and professional conduct.
“That’s a major no-no and is frowned upon,” he said.
- Promises of guaranteed money
If a lawyer is making a direct promise or guarantee of money in an injury settlement claim, they are not being truthful in doing so.
“Every case is unique and different,” Joseph said. “Nobody can tell any individual what the value of their claim is without knowing all the facts of the case.”
- Lawsuit loans
When someone has been involved in a motor vehicle accident, some companies will loan money to injured victims that goes against their personal injury claim.
Joseph never encourages any of his clients to take out these types of loans. While legal in the State of Ohio, many of these companies obtain large profits at the cost of the injured victim.
“What happens is a small amount of money is given out, and there’s high interest on these loans,” he said. “People end up having to pay it back at two, three or even four times the amount on the back-end.”
Successful client-lawyer relationships rely on integrity
If an injured victim feels their lawyer has been unethical or violated a rule of professional conduct, they can break the relationship and go elsewhere.
“It’s the client’s choice who represents them,” Joseph said. “Just because I’ve entered into a relationship with a client doesn’t mean they can’t terminate that relationship and go elsewhere.”
Joseph says a client also has the option of reporting an attorney to their local bar association.
“Every city and county has a bar association, and then there’s the Supreme Court of Ohio. Those governing bodies do investigate these claims and takes them very serious.”
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