Q: I went to a lawyer to help settle a dispute, but he's not returning my calls and I need to know the status of the case. What can I do?
A: Contact The Florida Bar for information about its Attorney Consumer Assistance Program (ACAP). Call toll free 866-352-0707 or click on Public Information at www.flabar.org.
ACAP helps consumers who are having problems with their attorneys although it can't intervene in a billing dispute ``unless the fee is illegal, prohibited or clearly excessive.''
Q: Is there a way to find out if a doctor has been sued for malpractice?
A: Yes. The Florida Department of Health provides that information on its website, www.doh.state.fl.us. From the drop down menu at the top of the page, select Licensure, Medical Professionals Lookup (not Licensure, Health Professionals).
Less is sometimes more in the search; use the last name and the county (note that the search uses Dade instead of Miami-Dade) and add other information if you need to narrow the results.
Actions taken against a doctor within Florida over the prior 10 years are available, but not actions taken in other states. Most of the information is supplied voluntarily and includes training, board certifications and whether the doctor has insurance.