Not infrequently, both the driver and passenger(s) involved in a motor vehicle crash will consider hiring the same personal injury lawyer. Because of conflict of interest concerns, lawyers must be exceedingly cautious in taking on dual representation in these circumstances. The concerns arise in various fact situations, including the following:
1. The driver and passenger prospective clients are both injured and liability isclearly with the third party driver. There are no claims of comparative negligenceor fault against the plaintiff driver.2. The driver and passenger prospective clients are both injured and liability liesmostly with the third party driver. However, the third party’s insurance companyis alleging comparative fault by the plaintiff driver.3. Driver and passenger prospective clients are members of the same family andboth are injured in an auto accident. While the plaintiff driver may have beenpartly at fault, the driver was uninsured and has no assets to satisfy an adversejudgment.4. The driver and passenger prospective clients are both injured and evidenceshows that the plaintiff driver was definitely at fault as well as the third partydriver of the other vehicle.5. The driver and passengers, who are members of the same immediate family,are all injured and the third party tortfeasor is claiming some fault on the partof the driver. The driver is the wife/mother of the passengers. Her liability policyhas denied coverage for the other family members due to a “family exclusion”clause in the policy; she has no significant assets. The driver has uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.