Abuse of the power of attorney: Lawyer more expensive than the compensation

Sarajevo taxi driver Nijaz Dževlan will be left without a car, after a traffic accident that he did not cause, but due to which the costs of the insurance company, lawyers, experts and all collection processes were so high that they exceeded the amount of damages awarded to him.

Written by: Andrijana Pisarević (eTrafika.net) /Cover photo: Pixabay

As he himself said, he was sued by lawyer Nedim Begović, who first represented him in the case of compensation, and then sued him for a bill of 2,300 KM for services, for which he has to pay more than 700 KM in court costs.

The background of everything, he claims, is a blank power of attorney that he signed due to the haste that enabled the agent of the “Gazela” insurance company from Visoko, Zlatko Kozlić, and his associates, including the aforementioned lawyer, to take advantage of him and earn more than he received compensation for actual damage suffered. Because of this, he will now be left without a car, the basic means of work on which he lives.

He told the eTrafika portal that the sale of his car was scheduled for October 4, and that to settle the remaining debt of 1,576 KM for the lawyer who represented him in the compensation collection process, and who, as he claims, on his behalf, based on blank power of attorney was hired by this insurance company, which was recently closed.

He says that he is now looking for a good lawyer who will help him write a lawsuit and sue both the lawyer and the insurance company, which he claims defrauded him and threatened his livelihood. Dževlan says that he had two traffic accidents, one in 2015, and the other two years later, but that he didn’t hide any of them. After the first, acquaintances recommended to him the insurance company “Gazela” from Visoko for damage assessment and collection. They told him that they charge a commission of 15 per cent of the estimated amount.

“We agreed on everything in no time and Kozlić started working on getting compensation. Afterwards, he brought me a blank power of attorney to sign. He told me that he didn’t have time to write the power of attorney because he was in a hurry, so he would fill it out later. He said that it is necessary to authorize the person who will lead the compensation and collection procedure. I thought there were no problems. I signed, but I didn’t give the ID number, I didn’t have full trust. And I was right, because later they gave me hell,” says Dževlan.

After that, he called him and asked for 500 KM for expert testimony, which Dževlan, he says, paid. At the time, he says, he had no knowledge of the lawyer, nor did he know that someone had been hired.

“One day, Kozlić called me and said that a decision had arrived for compensation in the amount of 1,400 KM. I gave him 400 KM of that in a cafe where we met, and I have witnesses to that. Then I also gave him 500 KM for the expert testimony. He said that he would continue to “chase” an even higher amount. Later he called me to tell me that he had paid me 3,100 KM and asked me if I was satisfied. I said yes and we said goodbye”, our interlocutor recounts his experience.

He adds that a few days later the lawyer called him to tell him that our interlocutor owed him 1,300 KM for legal services.

“Until then, I didn’t even know that a lawyer was involved. I said that I had nothing to do with his lawyer and that I had been making arrangements directly with him and that he had never mentioned any lawyer until then. After that, I received a lawsuit from that lawyer Begović, and little by little, I am now on the road to losing my car and the basic means of living,” says Dževlan, adding that now he first had an accident that prevented him from working, and all the money was collected by the lawyers and the insurance company and that he did not settle in terms of compensation for damages.

The taxi driver says that Kozlić claimed at the court in Visoko that he introduced him to a lawyer even though he had never seen him before and even though he really didn’t need a lawyer in Visoko besides the ones from Sarajevo. However, the judge did not accept his defence, nor the lawyer’s complaint. Two months later, the Cantonal Court in Zenica ordered him to pay slightly more than 3,000 KM in attorney’s and court costs or his car would be confiscated. He says he had no idea about the trial, and that the notices sent by the court were addressed incorrectly.

“I complained about that, but they refused me everything. In the end, I still had to pay, but since I didn’t manage to pay everything, now they want to confiscate my car. All this made me sick. I can’t believe what they do to people. It’s not that much money and I don’t think so much about money, but I can’t stand it when someone makes a fool of me and makes money from someone else’s misfortune,” he says.

Dževlan says that while the compensation was being settled, before he realized that the blank power of attorney cost him much more than the damage to the car, he had another minor accident, which, again, he did not hide, and that he left this case as well to the same insurance house to solve everything together.

“They made me sign a blank power of attorney again, because they were in a hurry, they didn’t have time to fill it in and so on. That’s when it became clear to me that they do it all the time and that they are not doing their job. I then and there revoked their power of attorney and later received a bill for 2,300 KM, plus court costs of about 700 KM. There were various expenses, such as 120 KM for leaving the office, 240 KM for going to court plus daily allowance, and 50 KM for travel expenses from Visoko to Sarajevo. I went to the Bar Association to complain, but I didn’t get any answers there,” says Dževlan.

Unfortunately, we did not receive answers to the questions from the Bar Association of FBiH. The lady who answered the phone said she didn’t know when it would be.

“Your questions have arrived, but the Bar Association will answer them when they have something to say,” she said.

The owner of “Gazela” Zlatko Kozlić did not answer our calls either. We sent him messages in several ways (SMS, Viber) that we were trying to contact him because of the statement and accusations made against him by Dževlan, but he did not answer our messages or answer the phone until the end of this text.

The only one who answered was lawyer Nedim Begović, who confirmed that he is in a dispute with Dževlan, and he also says that he does not understand why he is protesting so much, because it is about the most ordinary collection of attorney’s fees.

“Believe me, there is no secret. Everything that the court awarded, he is required to pay. He received the full amount of money, the agreed commission and attorney’s fees, and when he had to pay his bill, he refused. The court decided that he had to, he didn’t pay again and now the debt is being enforced. He paid part of it, the other part didn’t,” he says.

Attorney Begović told us that he was personally with him when he signed the power of attorney and that it was not true that he signed a blank document.

“I did three subjects for him. The first and second went well, everything was fine. When the third case came to the main hearing, he cancelled my power of attorney, brought in another lawyer who damaged him and asked for a smaller amount for the costs of the proceedings. And there I sued him again because he cancelled my power of attorney, but I’m just asking for what is mine. He obviously has problems with himself,” says Begović.

Every lawyer, says Begović, charges for services according to tariffs and the dispute values.

“Even if we are suing for one KM, the lawyer’s fee is prescribed and it is charged. I paid fuel and taxes for him, he had no obligations, he just signed a power of attorney and waited for the money. When he got it, he just refused to pay what he owed. Every penny was paid to him, more than he should have received, but when the invoice appeared, he said I could forget it,” said Begović.

The lawyer says that he gave the case to a colleague to represent him and that he will not deal with it. For Kozlić, he said that they are no longer cooperating.


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