What You Can Expect When You Refera Personal Injury Case to The Law Office of Dakota Low
You may currently be a referring attorney, or I hope you will soon become a referring attorney to our personal injury litigation firm. Our previous article has explained what to look for in a referring attorney.
Over the years, there have been many cases where we felt that a client referred to us was in the client’s best interests. To ensure that our trusted personal injury referral partners never become frustrated in how we treat their clients, we provide our standards you can count on as a referring attorney of cases to The Law Office of Dakota Low.
As a result, we have developed written guidelines for our expectations when we receive a personal injury referral case from another lawyer. These expectations are by no means challenging to fulfill. Instead, they represent a minimum level of expectation, and we adhere to them faithfully.
However, by writing them down and providing them to potential referring attorneys, they know what we expect in return for their personal injury referral.
The Law Office of Dakota Low will vigorously fight for our personal injury referral clients and keep them and you, as the referring lawyer, fully informed in a timely way.
All Clients Referred to The Law Office of Dakota Low Shall Be Contacted Within 24 Hours
We do not want to lose a potential case because we fail to contact the client upon the personal injury referral. For example, many years ago, we sought to refer a medical malpractice case. Unfortunately, the lawyer did not contact our client promptly, and the client hired another lawyer.
The case settled for seven figures, and we never saw a dime because the lawyer we tried to refer the client to did not contact the client promptly. We vow never to let that happen within our personal injury referral network.
The Law Office of Dakota Low shall notify that they either:
- Contacted the client and declined;
- Contacted the client and made an appointment; or
- Unable to contact.
If Unable To Contact The Client
We request you to assist and ensure that a personal injury referral is not lost.
Contacting back is a result of the first expectation. We will let you know if we choose to decline the case. If we schedule an appointment, we will let you know. If we can’t contact the potential personal injury referral, we will let you know. All of these expectations ensure that we handle the potential personal injury referral immediately.
If We Decline The Client
We will send written correspondence (letter or e-mail) stating we decline to pursue the case.
We send an actual decline letter to the potential personal injury referral. We all know that even a phone call can create an attorney-client relationship and disengagement letters are essential. Not only do we provide the referring lawyer a decline letter, but we also want them to include our firm name so that the client doesn’t mistakenly think we represent them.
Of course, that letter is our proof of the disengagement.
If We Accept the Personal Injury Referral
We shall enter into a retainer agreement with the client which complies with the Model Rules of Professional Responsibility.
A retainer substantially similar to the attached is acceptable. However, The Law Office of Dakota Low must approve any retainer agreement used by referring attorney or firm for the client referred.
We have previously discussed that the division of fees and the referral relationship must be included in the retainer agreement and signed by the client. To ensure there is no confusion, we can provide an example of our contract, which satisfies the Model Rules of Professional Responsibility.
You may utilize your own, but we must approve the contract to document the referral relationship and obtain client consent.
The referring attorney or firm shall provide a copy of their malpractice insurance to us, and we will provide a copy of our malpractice coverage to you.
Although we carry our malpractice insurance, we require any referring attorney likewise to have malpractice insurance. Asking for a copy is not an invasion of your privacy or unduly intrusive. Just forward us a copy for our records.
When The Law Office of Dakota Low receives a personal injury referral client, we will be the primary channel to communicate with the client. The client may, but should not have to, contact your office for status on their case.
When we receive a personal injury referral case, we will be the only person to handle the case and contact the client, so they are aware of the case assignment and make sure they know what is happening in their case.
Upon filing a complaint, we will provide you a complaint copy filed by us
We know that all our referring attorneys want is a copy of the filed complaint in many cases. That way, they can mark the statute of limitations complete on their file. It also allows them to track the case electronically since most courts have electronic dockets.
If the client is referred to us because your firm has been unable to settle the case, i.e., for litigation, we will file the complaint within 30 days of the referral.
If you have tried to settle the case and refer it to The Law Office of Dakota Low for litigation, you may expect that we will file the case within 30 days. However, if the case doesn’t get any better or worse, we will move quickly to file the complaint.
The Law Office of Dakota Low shall contact you before finalizing the settlement to confirm expenses and liens.
As referring attorney or law firm, if you have expenses on the file, even though you may have provided them when you made the personal injury referral, we always contact the referring lawyer to confirm our expenses. So you can get them back through reimbursement.
There are times that you may incur additional expenses after the referral. Although you may have provided all liens, we expect to contact you, the referring lawyer, to double-check regarding liens before we settle a case. Once again, sometimes liens come in after you make the referral.
A copy of a Settlement Sheet signed by the client approving the settlement’s distribution shall accompany the referral check upon settlement.
The Settlement Sheet shall reflect attorney fees, expenses, liens, and net to the client.
Finally, we will send you a copy of the settlement sheet signed by the client showing all the disbursements. We provide this for your records. It confirms the liens were paid, the expenses were reimbursed, and most importantly, the amount of the attorney fees since you are receiving 1/3 of them.
Those Are Our Expectations for Personal Injury Referrals
If a lawyer feels they are inadequate, please notify us of any additional items you may desire. The Law Office of Dakota Low abides by these expectations and wants others to do as well.
In fact, we go beyond these expectations. For example, our intake coordinator contacts personal injury referrals immediately within 24 hours. We also provide quarterly updates on all attorney referrals and always provide excellent client service.
Thanks for your past and future personal injury referrals. Please let us know immediately if we ever fail to live up to our expectations.
Contact the Law Office of Dakota Low to learn more about our personal injury referral services and what to expect when referring personal injury cases to us for litigation.