Can my attorney accept a personal injury settlement without my consent?
By Greg Kaminsky – Staff Writer
If you’ve got a personal injury case, chances are the defendant or the defendant’s insurance company is going to want you to settle the case before it goes to court to avoid paying you for things such as lost wages, future medical expenses, etc.
In fact, it is likely that the insurance company will try to get you to accept a low ball settlement offer whether or not you are represented by an attorney.
However, if an attorney is representing you in your case, the insurance company is required to present the settlement offer to your lawyer and your lawyer is ethically obligated to present the offer to you. Whether or not you should accept a settlement depends on a few things, but the decision to settle is ultimately yours to make. Your attorney is ethically prohibited from accepting any settlements on your behalf without your permission. Doing so would be professional malpractice, and if you find yourself in that situation then you may need additional legal guidance to determine if you have a claim against your original attorney.
If you are offered a settlement however, your personal injury attorney should be able to advise you on your best options. Taking the case to a jury will add to the time and cost and there is no guaranty that you will get more than the settlement offer. One thing you should guard against is taking an inadequate settlement offer because you feel pressured to accept due to the timing and your financial needs. If this is the case, you should discuss the situation with your attorney. Your attorney may have some options for you to consider.
Either way, this is why it’s extremely important to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer with positive reviews from other happy clients. You should be able to trust your attorney to help you make the right decisions. Make sure to research the attorney you hire beforehand so you can feel confident giving them the keys to your case.