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High Expectations of PI Attorneys When Advising Clients During Settlement

A recent case from Louisiana illustrates the high expectations that the personal injury attorney must live up to when advising clients regarding settlements. In the recent case of Jones v. ABC Ins. Co., 2013 WL 6504323 (La.App. 5 Cir. Dec. 12. 2013), Plaintiff, individually and on behalf of her minor daughter, filed a legal malpractice action against two law firms that represented them in settlement of a medical malpractice and products liability action for injuries related to the minor daughter’s heart surgery. Plaintiff and her ex-husband entered into an aggregate settlement for all claims for $8,250,000. The trial court later required a third party trustee to administer a trust for the daughter’s needs. The trial court also allocated to the Plaintiff $65,000 for loss of consortium but denied her individual claims for medical expenses, mental anguish (a claim allowed in Louisiana), and lost wages. The mother initiated malpractice claims against her attorneys, claiming that her counsel (she hired and fired a number of attorneys) did not inform her of how the settlement would be allocated and did not inform her that a third party trustee would be used to manage her daughter’s trust; she took issue that trustee’s fees would be deducted from the settlement funds used to establish the trust.

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