Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

RSD(S)-CRPS Advisory
Workers Compensation and Law

If I receive workers' compensation, can I also sue my employer in court?
Generally, no. The workers' compensation system was established as part of a legal
trade-off. In exchange for giving up the right to sue an employer in court, you get
workers' compensation benefits no matter who was at fault. Before the workers' comp
system was passed, if you went to court, you stood to recover a large amount of money,
but only if you could prove the injury was caused by your employer.

Today, you may be able to sue in court if your injury was caused by someone other than
your employer (a visitor or outside contractor, for example) or if it was caused by a
defective product (such as a flaw in the construction of the workplace equipment).

Your attorney should also file an immediate Review Petition, asking the judge to review the
medical issues and enter an Order regarding the denied medical treatment. Your attorney
should also file a Penalties Petition referencing your aggravated RSD/CRPS, which may
have occurred as a result of being denied medical treatment, and the increased stress and
resultant threat to your health from denied medical care.

"Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy is a system complex and patients do not have all the signs
and symptoms or clinical features.   A physician may consider RSD as a result of minor
trauma, inflammation following surgery, infection, lacerations, degenerative joint disease,
burns and any compression such as casting or swelling due to injury that may cause
prolonged pressure on peripheral nerves.    Peripheral neuropathies, nerve-entrapment,
neuromas, thoracic outlet syndrome and carpal or tarsal tunnel can coexist.   Many
physicians have a difficult time in going to the next step when they diagnose a disease.  It
is hard for some to believe that you can have a dual disease process and not just focus on
only one of the diseases.  Many other chronic pain disorders may be mistakenly diagnosed
as sympathetically maintained pain or RSD because of similarities in clinical
presentations.   Diagnosing RSD is very important so proper therapy can be applied.  A
wrong diagnosis is like having carburetor problems with the engine of your car and using
a tire pump to try to fix it."  

Nelson Hendler, MD;  Honorary Chairman for the RSDSA of California.
Lecture Remarks at the 1998 RSD Medical Conference, San Diego, California
Chapter 7, 1998 RSD Conference Journal,  RSDSA-CA ©

California Labor Code Section 3209.10

a) Medical treatment of a work-related injury required to cure or relieve the effects of the
injury may be provided by a state licensed physician assistant or nurse practitioner, acting
under the review or supervision of a physician and surgeon pursuant to standardized
procedures or protocols within their lawfully authorized scope of practice. The reviewing
or supervising physician and surgeon of the physician assistant or nurse practitioner shall
be deemed to be the treating physician. For the purposes of this section, "medical
treatment" includes the authority of the nurse practitioner or physician assistant to
authorize the patient to receive time off from work for a period not to exceed three
calendar days if that authority is included in a standardized procedure or protocol
approved by the supervising physician. The nurse practitioner or physician assistant may
cosign the Doctor's First Report of Occupational Injury or Illness. The treating physician
shall make any determination of temporary disability and shall sign the report.

(b) The provision of subdivision (a) that requires the cosignature of the treating physician
applies to this section only and it is not the intent of the Legislature that the requirement
apply to any other section of law or to any other statute or regulation. Nothing in this
section implies that a nurse practitioner or physician assistant is a physician as defined in
Section 3209.3.

Certified lawyer referral services. You could call a local State Bar-certified lawyer referral
service. This type of service refers potential clients to attorneys. After interviewing you,
the referral service staff will match you with a lawyer who is experienced in the
appropriate area of the law. (There is usually a small charge for the initial consultation
with a lawyer.)

For an online list of certified lawyer referral services, visit the State Bar's Web site at For a recorded message that can provide you with the phone
numbers of certified services in your county, call 1-866-44-ca-law (1-866-442-2529). If
you are out of state, you can call 415-538-2250 to hear the same recorded message. Or
check the Yellow Pages of your telephone directory for a listing under the heading
"Attorney Referral Service." (Keep in mind that the service's State Bar certification number
must appear in all advertising.)

State Bar-certified lawyer referral services must meet minimum standards established by
the California Supreme Court. And because the State Bar enforces those standards, you
could turn to the State Bar if you have a problem with the service. And if you were to file
a complaint, the State Bar would look into it. There are other advantages as well. For
example, a certified referral service:

Can refer you to a lawyer who specializes in the field of law that relates to your case.
Will refer you to attorneys who are insured. All lawyers who participate in certified lawyer
referral services must carry malpractice insurance to protect their clients. This means that
if your lawyer does something wrong, and you successfully sue for malpractice, the
lawyer will have the ability to pay.
Will screen your call to determine whether you have a legal problem - or need some other
type of assistance. And if you do need another type of assistance, the referral service can
refer you to government agencies or other organizations that may be better suited to assist
you. For example, you might have a problem that could be handled, without charge, by a
rent control board or community mediation program.
Will only refer you to an attorney who has met certain standards of experience and is a
State Bar member in good standing.
Will only refer you to an attorney who has agreed to do fee arbitration in the event of a fee
May be able to provide an attorney at a reduced rate. Lawyer referral services are required
to make arrangements to serve people with limited means.
May be able to provide you with a bilingual attorney.
For more information on State Bar-certified lawyer referral services, see the State Bar's
consumer education pamphlet What Can a Lawyer Referral Service Do for Me? To find
out how to order a complimentary copy of this or any other State Bar consumer education
pamphlet, see the contact information at the end of #16 (page 17).

Advertisements. You also could check the Yellow Pages, newspaper advertisements or the
Internet in your search for an attorney.

Most lawyers choose not to advertise, other than to list their names, addresses and
telephone numbers in the Yellow Pages. But lawyers are allowed to advertise in the Yellow
Pages, in newspapers and magazines, on the radio and television, on billboards, on the
Internet or any place else - as long as the ad does not contain false or misleading
information. Lawyers may use ads to list their fields of law. They also may post their fees.

If you decide to call a lawyer featured in an advertisement, keep the ad for reference. If
the ad was aired on the radio or television, make notes for your records.

Joint advertising groups. Sometimes lawyers join together and advertise their services as a
group. Often a group of lawyers will share an 800 telephone number and/or a Web site.
State law requires that joint advertising groups identify by name the participating lawyers.

Public interest groups. Non-profit public interest organizations, such as groups concerned
with civil liberties and housing discrimination, may be able to help you. Such groups
sometimes have staff lawyers who might be able to handle your case. Others provide legal
help solely to groups of people rather than to individuals. For example, they might help
you and your neighbors convince your city council to install a traffic light at a busy

There is no one best way to find public interest organizations. A local bar association,
State Bar-certified lawyer referral service or government agency might be able to assist
you. Suppose you believe a landlord is discriminating against you. You could call your city
or county housing office for the names of groups that are concerned with your problem.
Or, the organization you need may be accessible on the Internet or listed in the Yellow
Pages under "Associations," "Consumer Protection Organizations," "Social Service and
Welfare Organizations" or a similar listing.

Free legal aid agencies. What if you can't afford a lawyer? Depending on your income and
the nature of your legal problem, you may be able to get free or low-cost legal help in
non-criminal cases from a legal services program. Check the white pages of your
telephone book to see if such an organization is located in your area.

A State Bar-certified lawyer referral service or local bar association may be able to refer
you to a legal services program. California's statewide legal services Web site - - also could help you locate a local program and provide you
with other resources as well. Or, maybe a law school clinic could assist you.

Suppose you are accused of committing a crime. If you cannot afford a lawyer, you
might qualify for free help from the public defender's office. Look in the white pages of
the telephone book under your county's listings. What if there isn't a public defender in
your area? In such an instance, a judge would typically appoint a private attorney to
represent you free of charge.

Dispute resolution programs. In addition, many communities have "dispute resolution"
programs. These programs can help you and another person "mediate" or work out
problems instead of going to trial. For more information, see the State Bar pamphlet How
Can I Resolve My Dispute Without a Trial? For instructions on ordering, see the contact
information at the end of #16 (page 17).

Prepaid legal services plans. Perhaps you belong to a "legal insurance" plan through your
employer, labor union, credit union, credit card company - or as an individual. Your plan
may cover the kind of legal work you need - just as medical insurance plans pay certain
medical costs. Generally, the premiums you pay entitle you to a certain amount of a
lawyer's time or to a lawyer's services at a reduced rate.

3. Do lawyers specialize?

Some do. And the State Bar has a program designed to help you find skilled specialists.
Lawyers can become State Bar-certified specialists (and advertise themselves as such) by
showing that they have extensive experience and tested ability in their field of law.
Currently, the State Bar certifies lawyers in eight specialties: appellate law; criminal law;
estate planning, trust and probate law; family law (divorce, custody, support and related
issues); immigration and nationality law; bankruptcy law; taxation law; and workers'
compensation law.

The State Bar also accredits the certification programs of private certifying organizations
in: civil trial advocacy, criminal trial advocacy, family law trial advocacy, business
bankruptcy law, consumer bankruptcy law, creditors' rights law, elder law, accounting,
legal and medical malpractice, and juvenile law (child welfare). Lawyers certified by these
organizations may also advertise as "certified" specialists.

Keep in mind, however, that there are lawyers with experience and expertise in all of these
legal areas who simply do not seek certification.

For an online list of State Bar-certified specialists, visit and
go to Specialist Search. Or contact the State Bar's Office of Certification at 415-538-2120.

4. What should I do if a lawyer asks for my business?

Be very cautious. Certain unsolicited communications from an attorney could violate the
legal profession's code of ethics. Suppose you have been injured in an automobile accident
and a lawyer or lawyer's representative visits you in the hospital and asks to handle your
case. This kind of behavior is called soliciting and is not permitted under the code of legal
ethics. If you think you've been solicited, you can report the lawyer to the State Bar by
calling 1-800-843-9053.

5. How will I know which lawyer is best for me?

Before you meet with any lawyers, do some "comparison shopping." Make a list of several
lawyers. Call each lawyer and ask questions that might help you make your decision.
(Some lawyers may prefer to meet with you briefly in person.)

Ask about the lawyer's experience and when he or she last handled a similar case. Ask if
he or she will meet with you once free of charge before you make your hiring decision. If
there is a fee for such a consultation, find out how much it will be. In any case, do not
expect a long first meeting; 15 minutes to a half-hour is average.

Write down everything that the lawyers have to say. Take time to think it over. Then
make another appointment with the lawyer who seems right for you.

6. Should I hire the lawyer?

It depends on how you feel after your first meeting with the lawyer. Before the meeting,
jot down key points in your case to share with the lawyer. Bring the names, addresses and
telephone numbers of everyone connected with the case. In addition, bring all papers
related to the case. Some lawyers may want to review the papers before your meeting.

Ask about any similar cases that the lawyer has handled. And keep in mind that age may
have nothing to do with the lawyer's ability to help you. A lawyer who has practiced 20
years may have less experience with your type of problem than a lawyer who is three
years out of law school.

In addition, find out if the lawyer will handle your case personally. If the lawyer intends to
have another member of the law firm handle any part of the case, you might want to talk
to the second lawyer as well.

Be wary of any attorney who guarantees results. Most lawsuits and other legal work are
not "sure things." However, a lawyer should be able to point out the strengths and
weaknesses of your case.

Find out how long the lawyer expects your case to take, what steps will be involved, and
what and how you will be charged. If you don't understand something, ask for a simpler

In addition, you can check the State Bar's Web site ( to find out if the
lawyer has ever been publicly disciplined by the bar. Simply go to Attorney Search and
Attorney/Member Search, then type in the attorney's name or bar number.

You may decide to hire the lawyer after your first meeting, or you may want some time to
think about it. Ask yourself a few questions:

Will you be comfortable working closely with the lawyer?
Do you think the lawyer has the experience and skill to handle your case?
Do you understand the lawyer's explanation of what your case involves?
Does the fee seem reasonable?
If your answer to one or more of these questions is "no" you probably should talk to
another lawyer. If all of your answers are "yes," you may have found the right lawyer for

7. How closely will I be involved in my lawyer's work?

It will depend on your particular arrangement. You may be able to help by gathering
papers and other evidence and by lining up witnesses. In any case, you should tell the
lawyer everything you can about your problem and report any new developments
immediately. To do a good job, the lawyer must know everything you know - including
information that could be damaging to your case or that may seem unimportant to you.

Ask the lawyer to explain the various steps involved in handling your problem. You also
could request copies of all letters and documents prepared for your case. And you may
want to know how often the lawyer will update you. Depending on your situation, the
lawyer may be able to provide a timetable that lays out the steps in the case. However, this
may not always be possible. If you are involved in a lawsuit, for example, the court's
schedule and backlog will influence how long your case will take.

If you have any questions as your case moves along, call the lawyer. However, keep in
mind that, depending on the fee arrangement, you could be charged for the lawyer's time
during the phone call.

8. Can I hire a lawyer to just handle certain parts of my legal matter?

Yes, in some cases. Limited representation - hiring an attorney who will assist you at
particular stages of your case - may be appropriate for you. Whether it is a good option in
your case could depend on the complexity of your legal matter and your financial
situation. Generally, limited representation involves less cost.

While some attorneys will not work solely on portions of a case, others will agree to
provide limited representation. These attorneys may be referred to as consulting attorneys,
coaches or providers of unbundled legal services. Such attorneys do not take on the full
responsibility for overseeing or handling your case. The limits of the representation are set
by agreement. If you choose such representation, make sure you understand the extent of
the attorney's services. Such services might include, for example, assistance with a
negotiation strategy, representation at a particular court hearing or the attorney's "sign-off"
on any legal agreement.

Another alternative would be to hire a collaborative attorney. In this process, those on
both sides of the case and their collaborative attorneys meet to work out their differences
through an out-of-court process. If the dispute is not settled, however, those involved
would have to hire new attorneys if they want legal help in preparing for a trial.

9. Is it important to have a fee agreement?

Yes. You and your lawyer should agree on what you will pay the lawyer and what
services will be provided. This way, both of you will know what to expect from each

By law, fee agreements must be in writing when the lawyer expects the fees and costs to
total $1,000 or more. But even if the lawyer fails to draw up a written fee agreement, you
may still have to pay the lawyer a reasonable fee for any work done. In any case, it is
always a good idea to have a written record of the agreement. If there is a written
agreement, keep a copy for your records; if you have an oral agreement, make a written
note of it.

10. What should be in the fee agreement?

The fee agreement should list the services that the lawyer will perform for you, and the
type and amount of fees that you will be expected to pay. The agreement should also
explain how the costs (the other expenses of your case) will be handled and billed. And if
the lawyer is going to add interest or other charges to unpaid amounts, the agreement
should make this clear as well.

A fee agreement may also include your obligations as a client - to be truthful, for example,
and to cooperate and pay your bills on time.

In forming an agreement with your lawyer, make sure that you understand all of his or her
terms. If you are not sure what to ask, you might want to bring a friend or relative along
with you when you meet with the lawyer.

Here are a few key questions:

How will the lawyer bill for his or her time? (See the section on page 11 describing lawyer
Who else will be working on the case - associate lawyer, legal assistant, paralegal? How
will their work be billed?
What can be done to reduce fees and costs?
What is the lawyer's estimate of the total charges?
How will costs as opposed to fees be paid?
Keep in mind that an estimate is just that - a calculated guess as to how much the fees and
costs will be. The amount could change as circumstances change.

The lawyer may have a pre-printed fee agreement. If you don't like any part of the
agreement, ask the lawyer to make revisions or to draw up a new agreement better suited
to your case.

For more information on fee agreements, along with some sample fee agreement forms,
visit the State Bar's Web site at (Go to Public Services in the left
menu, then Addressing a fee dispute with an attorney.) If you do not have access to the
Internet, call 415-538-2020.

Make sure you understand the agreement before you sign it. If you are not comfortable
with any of the terms, don't sign it. And if you can't work out your disagreement, you
may want to find a new lawyer.

11. How does a lawyer decide what to charge?

Lawyers consider various factors when setting their fees. A lawyer who is well-known in
a certain area of the law might charge more than someone who is not. If so, you will need
to consider whether the lawyer's special skills and experience will actually lead to a better
or faster solution to your problem.

A lawyer also might consider the complexity of the case and the amount of time your
matter could take. For example, the hearing or trial in your lawsuit may take just a few
hours. But the lawyer may have spent days, weeks or even longer preparing for it -
researching the law, finding and interviewing witnesses, and preparing documents and
arguments for that hearing or trial.

12. Do all lawyers charge the same kind of fee?

No. There are several types of fee arrangements. And most of them must be put in writing.

If the fee arrangement is for a contingency fee - which means the attorney will get a
percentage of the settlement if you win the case - the agreement must be in writing. And it
must include, among other things, the agreed-upon percentage.

With non-contingency arrangements, the fee agreement must include the lawyer's hourly
rate and other standard rates, fees and charges that would apply to your case. It also must
explain the general nature of the services that the lawyer will provide for you.

Sometimes it is impossible for a lawyer to know exactly how much time your case will
take. You can, however, ask the lawyer to include an estimate of the time and costs in a
written fee agreement or letter. But do not forget that many unexpected factors could
drive up the cost. For example, your case might involve a cross complaint. This means
that the person you are suing is also suing you. A cross complaint could affect the type
and amount of the lawyer's fee.

Apart from any fee you may pay for your first meeting with a lawyer, you probably will
be charged either a fixed, hourly, retainer, contingency or statutory fee.

Fixed fee. This type of fee, sometimes called a standard fee, is commonly used in routine
legal matters. For example, a lawyer may charge all clients the same amount to draw up a
simple will or handle an uncontested divorce. Legal clinics often use this kind of fee
arrangement. Before agreeing to a fixed fee, find out what it does and does not include.
You also should find out if any other charges might be added to the bill.

Hourly fee. Some lawyers charge by the hour, and the amount can vary from lawyer to
lawyer. Ask the lawyer to estimate the amount of time your case will take. Suppose you
contact three lawyers, and one charges more per hour than the others. You will need to
decide whether this lawyer has the skills or experience that could bring your case to a
faster solution. Also, remember that circumstances may change, and your case may take
longer to handle than the lawyer initially expected.

Retainer fee. This kind of fee can mean different things to different people; make sure you
understand your particular fee agreement.

A retainer fee can be used to guarantee that the lawyer will be available to take a particular
case. This could mean that the lawyer would have to turn down other cases in order to
remain available. With this kind of retainer fee agreement, the client would be billed
additionally for the legal work that is done. If the fee agreement is a true non-refundable
retainer agreement, you may not be able to get your money back - even if the lawyer does
not handle your case or complete the work.

A retainer fee also can mean that the lawyer is "on call" to handle the client's legal
problems over a period of time. Certain kinds of legal work might be covered by the
retainer fee while other legal services would be billed separately to the client.

In addition, a retainer fee sometimes is considered a "down payment" on any legal services
that the client will need. This means that the legal fees will be subtracted from the retainer
until the retainer is used up. The lawyer would then bill you for any additional time spent
on your case or ask you to replace the retainer.

Contingency fee. This kind of fee is often used in accident, personal injury or other types
of cases in which someone is being sued for money. It means that you will pay the lawyer
a certain percentage of the money you receive if you win the case or settle the matter out
of court. If you lose, the lawyer does not receive a fee. Either way, though, you will have
to pay the court costs and certain other expenses. And, depending on the circumstances,
these charges could be quite high. Ask the lawyer for an estimate of such costs. In some
cases, the lawyer may pay some of these costs for you when they are due, using money
that you receive from the case.

If you agree to a contingency fee, make sure that the written fee agreement spells out the
lawyer's percentage and whether his or her share will be figured before or after other
costs are deducted. This can make a big difference. Suppose, for example, you were
awarded $20,000 in a personal injury case and your lawyer was entitled to 40 percent.
Court costs and other expenses amount to $2,000. If your lawyer's share is figured after
the $2,000 is deducted, the lawyer will receive 40 percent of $18,000 - or $7,200; you
will receive $10,800. But, if the lawyer's share is figured before costs are deducted, the
lawyer will receive 40 percent of $20,000 - or $8,000; then, after the $2,000 in costs is
deducted from the remaining amount, you will receive $10,000.

Contingency fee agreements must state, among other things, whether you will be required
to pay the lawyer for related matters (matters not specifically covered in the written fee
agreement) that might come up as a result of your case. In many cases, the agreement
also must note that the attorney's fee is set by the attorney and the client - not by any legal
statute or law.

Statutory fee. The cost of some probate and other legal work is set by statute or law. For
certain other legal problems, the court either sets or must approve the fee you will pay.

13. What additional out-of-pocket costs will I have to pay?

The lawyer will charge you for the costs of your case as well as the fees. You will be
responsible for paying these costs even if your case is not successful. Costs can add up
quickly. It is a good idea to ask the lawyer for a written estimate of what the costs will be.
You can tell your lawyer that costs over a certain amount have to be approved by you in

Here are some typical costs:

Certified shorthand reporters' charges for taking down testimony at depositions and trials
and for providing written transcripts of that testimony.
Copying and facsimile (fax) costs. These are usually charged on a per page basis.
Lawyers also may charge for secretarial time spent on these tasks and telephone charges.
Experts and consultants' charges. These costs generally relate to any time spent evaluating
the case and testifying in court
Filing fees, which are required by courts before they will accept legal papers.
Investigators' bills. Investigators may help gather facts related to the case. They usually
charge by the hour and may bill for expenses such as mileage, meals and lodging as well.
Jury fees and mileage costs. These are paid to jurors in civil cases in amounts set by law.
The party requesting the jury must pay these expenses in advance.
Postage, courier and messenger costs for mailing, shipping or personally delivering
documents to you or others involved in your case.
Service of process fees charged by individuals who locate parties and witnesses and
deliver legal papers to them.
Staff time for secretarial services, including overtime, word-processing time, etc.
Telephone bills for long distance calls.
Travel expenses for the lawyer when he or she travels on the client's behalf. These
charges can include gasoline, mileage, parking fees, meals, airfare and lodging.
Witness fees and mileage charges. The individuals who testify at depositions and trials
receive fees in amounts set by law. You also may need to pay travel expenses if a witness
must be brought in from far away.
Your lawyer may charge you for other costs as well. Make sure you understand all of the
costs for which you will be responsible. Ask the lawyer if you will have to pay such costs
directly or if you will be reimbursing the lawyer for such costs paid on your behalf.

14. When is my lawyer's bill due?

Unless you have a contingency fee agreement, you probably will be billed monthly.

If you are paying by the hour, you may want the lawyer to get your permission before
spending more than a certain amount of time on your case. You also can ask for itemized
bills detailing how the lawyer spent time on your case. In addition, you have a right to an
itemized bill that lists expenses such as photocopying, telephone calls and travel costs. In
fact, a lawyer must provide the bill within 10 days of the date that you request it.

15. What if I can't pay?

If you cannot afford to pay your lawyer's bill, try to work out a payment plan or other
arrangement with the lawyer. If you cannot reach an agreement on how to handle the
problem, the lawyer may be entitled to stop working on your case or even withdraw as
your lawyer. You might ask if the work could be temporarily postponed to allow you to
lower the bill.

If you think your lawyer's bill contains an error or an unauthorized charge, contact the
lawyer immediately and try to resolve the problem.

16. What do I need to do to have a successful lawyer-client team?

You could, for example, make sure that:

You and your lawyer have the same goals.

You understand and are comfortable with the lawyer's working style. Get a clear picture
of the expected timetable in your case - when you can expect significant developments,
and when and how often the lawyer intends to contact you.
You provide the lawyer with the information and documents necessary to understand your
You understand and agree with the lawyer's billing practices.
If you have questions or concerns about your legal matter, you express them to the
lawyer and listen to his or her responses.
These simple tips should help you develop a positive, productive working relationship with
your lawyer. However, problems could still arise even if you do follow these suggestions.
And in such instances, help is available. Many local bar associations, for example, have
client relations programs that assist clients with non-responsive lawyers.

Many of them also have fee arbitration programs to help clients resolve fee disputes with
lawyers. The State Bar's Mandatory Fee Arbitration (MFA) Program, conducted through
the local bar associations, is available to help resolve attorney-client fee disputes without
litigation. Attorneys are required to participate in such arbitration if a client requests it. If
there is no local program to handle your fee dispute or if a conflict of interest exists with
the local program in your case, contact the State Bar's MFA Program.

To locate a program in your area, contact your local bar association. Or visit the State
Bar's Web site (go to Public Services), or call the State Bar's MFA Program at

You may believe your lawyer intentionally mishandled your case. Maybe he or she told
you that a will was filed for probate when it was not. Perhaps the lawyer settled your
personal injury case without your approval. Or maybe you think your lawyer misused or
stole your money. As an arm of the California Supreme Court, the State Bar investigates
complaints about attorney conduct that could involve violations of legal ethics rules. If an
attorney is found guilty of ethical misconduct, he or she could be disciplined. To file a
complaint against an attorney in California, call 1-800-843-9053 or go to Attorney
Complaints on the bar's Web site.

You also might qualify for the bar's Client Security Fund, which compensates eligible
clients up to $50,000 for some losses caused by an attorney's misconduct. (The fund is
supported by all practicing California attorneys.)

If you believe that you're eligible for such a payment, call the State Bar at 213-765-1140.
A complaint must be filed against the attorney in order to pursue a Client Security Fund

For more information, see the State Bar pamphlet What Can I Do if I Have a Problem with
My Lawyer? To find out how to order a free copy of this pamphlet and other State Bar
consumer education pamphlets, call 1-888-875-LAWS (5297) or send an e-mail to Or, visit the State Bar's Web site - - where
you'll find the bar's consumer education pamphlets, as well as information on ordering

The purpose of this pamphlet is to provide general information on the law, which is
subject to change. If you have a specific legal problem, you may want to consult a lawyer.

The State Bar of California
Office of Office of Media and Information Services
180 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1639
Publications: 1-888-875-LAWS (5297)