Clients often seek evaluations with personal injury attorneys and bring a variety of issues, problems and alleged causes of action to the table. It is common for an accident victim to want to pursue personal injury as well as workers’ compensation claims arising out of a single accident. It is important to be clear as to what specifically the attorney will represent the client for: workers’ compensation and/or tort and/or wrongful termination and/or discrimination.
For instance, if a delivery driver is rear ended in an accident while delivering something for his employer and is fired after the accident for an illegal reason (e.g., discrimination against age, sex, race or disability), the injured worker may have (1) a tort claim for personal injuries; (2) a workers’ compensation claim for being injured on the job; and, (3) a wrongful discharge/discrimination claim for being fired/discriminated against unlawfully. However, a single attorney may not want to handle all three claims, and it would be prudent for the injured delivery driver to seek representation from different attorneys to make sure he/she is represented for all of the actions he/she wishes to pursue.
Aggrieved parties should make sure that attorneys address specifically with them what claims the attorneys will pursue on behalf of their clients and which ones they will not. The Louisiana Rules of Professional Conduct allow attorneys to “limit the scope of the representation if the limitation is reasonable under the circumstances and the client gives informed consent.” See Rule 1.2(c). Thus, if a client wants an attorney to handle both his/her personal injury claim and workers’ compensation claim arising out of the same accident, the client needs to find an attorney willing to take responsibility for both claims. The attorney should agree to the dual representation in writing and have the client sign two separate contracts. This way the client can rest assured that both of his concerns will be addressed by the attorney.
Furthermore, attorneys have an ethical obligation to ensure that their clients are fully informed as to what aspects of their claims that they will receive representation for. See Spicer v. Gambel, 789 So. 2d 741, 744 (La. App. 4 Cir. 2001); Keller v. LeBlanc, 368 So. 2d 193 (La. App. 1 Cir. 1979); Weinstein v. Weinstein, 62 So. 3d 878, 882 (La. App. 3 Cir. 2011).
If you or a loved one has multiple claims (like workers’ compensation and personal injury), contact Law Office of Donald D’Aunoy Jr., LLC today for a free case evaluation. Donald D’Aunoy Jr. “Lawyer Don” has offices in Metairie (Eastbank of Jefferson Parish) and Harvey (Westbank of Jefferson Parish). Lawyer Don offers free house calls throughout Louisiana.