Why Haven’t I Heard From My Attorney?Posted on: March 17, 2022
Has your lawyer left you on “read”?
Here are a few (good and bad) reasons why you haven’t heard from your attorney.
Not hearing from your lawyer can be worrisome, especially if you’ve made an effort to contact them. According to the American Bar Association, a lawyer is required to keep a client informed in a prompt manner and adhere to reasonable requests. A similar comment is made in the Statement of Client Rights that you sign when you have a contingency contract in Florida.
Unfortunately your lawyer’s idea of “prompt” or “informed” may differ from yours.
To be fair, there are some valid reasons that your lawyer may not be getting back to you, but when there are time constraints with your case, those reasons may not be important to you. Read on for some of the common reasons that your lawyer may be “ghosting” you, and when it might be a red flag.
We pride ourselves on taking calls when we can, returning messages promptly, and responding promptly to emails. You need answers and deserve to have your questions handled. Your injury case should be personal to both you and your lawyer, and you should not feel like a number.
Why Haven’t I Heard From My Attorney?
1. There Are No Updates
There are a lot of factors that can influence a case. Sometimes, as diligent as your attorney is, they are at the mercy of the court system. While you might be waiting on your lawyer, s/he may be waiting on paperwork from the other party or a court date. The Court system can work very slowly, and your attorney should make you aware of these time frames and when you should expect to hear from them.
A good attorney will have more than one case they are handling at a time, each of them as important as the last. If there aren’t any updates on your case, it could be because they are working on other cases that are at a different stage.
Unfortunately, when it comes to personal injury cases, many insurance companies will intentionally create delays as a way of wearing you down until you are simply too tired to fight anymore. Expect for much of your case to be spent playing “the waiting game.”
2. Your Lawyer Is “Off the Clock”
Though we like to think of them with their noses in their law books and paperwork, the truth is that lawyers have responsibilities outside of their office as well.
Lawyers go home to their family or friends each night. They eat dinner, enjoy movies and live concerts, and go to theme parks just like everyone else. If you called on a Friday at 5 p.m., you might not hear back until Monday.
Your lawyer may also be at events that are important such as continuing education or events with judges and other attorneys. So, many times your attorney is not ignoring you but simply unavailable.
On the other hand, if it’s been weeks since you’ve heard from them, that’s a sign of bad communication skills.
3. You Haven’t Been Taking Their Advice
As unprofessional as it is, some attorneys have been known to dodge their clients’ calls if their professional advice isn’t being taken.
While your lawyer is an expert on legal matters, it is important to remember that you are ultimately the boss. You and your attorney may have a difference of opinion from time to time, but they cannot make you do anything you don’t want to do.
If you feel that your attorney hasn’t been giving you the best legal advice, you are always free to seek out a second opinion. However, if multiple attorneys are telling you the same thing, it may be a good idea to listen to them.
4. The Office Is Busy
This one would be unfortunate but not uncommon. Sometimes a message gets lost in the shuffle but if you’ve attempted to communicate more than a couple of times, it may be time for a trip to the office.
That’s a good thing, right? Sometimes. If you haven’t heard from the lawyer who took your case because they are constantly with other clients, constantly in court, or just unavailable, your lawyer may have taken on too many cases.
When a lawyer takes on so many cases that they have no room to breathe, it could impact your case in a negative way. We aren’t saying that being busy is bad, but too busy is definitely something to watch out for.
There are times where we are in trial for a week or two, During that time, our focus is doing the best for that client who is getting their day in Court. However, even during this time, we are checking messages and trying to communicate with our clients. If we cannot answer something during that time, we will let you know. You should know why your attorney cannot respond, especially if every time that you call they are “unavailable.”
5. They Have Bad News
Every so often, a personal injury case goes in an unfavorable direction. If your attorney is inexperienced, they may be nervous to be the bearer of bad news.
Additionally, a lot of lawyers operate small firms or even work solo. They’re afraid that an unhappy client could lead to negative reviews.
While unprofessional, this can happen. However, you always deserve the truth.
What Can You Do?
Remember that communication is a two way street and if you have not heard from your attorney, reach out and ask for an update. Don’t just wait for the attorney for an update if you have questions or need assistance. Make sure you give your attorney the opportunity to communicate.
If you’ve given your attorney more than a reasonable amount of time, exhausted all the avenues of communication and you still haven’t heard from them, your best bet is to send a certified letter to the lawyer’s office. This will ensure that your lawyer’s office has received the communication.
Once they’ve received it, they will either let you know they cannot continue with your case (possibly the reason for the silence) or begin communicating much more.
Remember, you are fully within your rights to fire your attorney if the communication is lacking and hire new representation if you so choose. The attorney you choose is arguably the biggest factor influencing the outcome of your case, and you deserve to give it the best chance of success.
You can only make the best decisions in your case when you have information. And that information will come from your attorney and communication you have.
There can be a number of valid reasons that your lawyer would not be communicating with you. However, when push comes to shove, you hired them, not the other way around. You are a team and should be able to discuss your case with your attorney.
Your case directly affects your life and you deserve timely communication regarding the details.
If you’re fed up with the way things are going in your case, give us a call. We are a small but mighty firm and we promise to always communicate with you. In addition to two Oviedo accident lawyers on the team, we have a highly skilled office staff that can answer most of your questions. One of them is also assigned to your case and knows what is going on and may just be able to answer most of your questions. And when they cannot, they can turn it over to the attorney. Give us a call today.