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Asker
Posted about 1 year ago.

I am an adult. My father has done things like forging my signature in the past and hence have not had much contact with him. I don't want and never needed an advance. I was furious when I found out my attorney sent out a check without my consent/confirmation to my father and never followed up. I don't feel this incident should just go unnoticed. The lawyer said the $600 won't be deducted from my settlement if my father did indeed sign the check and kept it for himself. I don't want to let the lawyer off the hook in regards to this situation. How do I deal with the lawyer? I don't trust him anymore.

Robert Bruce Kopelson
Robert Bruce Kopelson, Personal Injury Lawyer - San Jose, CA
Posted about 1 year ago.

It sounds like the lawyer is agreeing to replace the 600 he deducted. What evidence is he requesting that your father signed the check and you didnt get the money? If you have lost faith in atty, you can fire him and hire a new one. If he doesnt refund the money, you can make a complaint to the state bar. Your first post said they gave my father the check, and my father "signed on my behalf." Now you are saying that the atty sent out a check. Your facts seem inconsistent. Do you live with your father? Did they mail a check payable to you to the address you gave the atty as yours? You best have your facts and proof in order before taking action against the lawyer. You say your dad has forged your signature before, and you havent had much contact with him. If that is true, how did he know who your atty is?

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Asker
Posted about 1 year ago.

There are two checks I'm talking about and I apologize for confusion. The check my attorney issued and my dad signed "on my behalf" is an advance my attorney gave my dad because my dad asked for it. They did NOT notify me nor did they confirm with me if it's ok that they lend out an advance with my name on it ...AND no matter who requested on my behalf, the check should have been sent to me, not my father.

My father does not live with me. He and my mother had been divorced for many years; he has done things like this to me before (ruined my credit because he opened up credit cards under my name, forged fake checks, etc.). So, my dad met with a paralegal who was involved in the paperwork process for filing my auto accident case. He asked the paralegal for an advance from my settlement money, paralegal put in request to attorney saying I requested, lawyer wrote check out to my name and handed it to paralegal, paralegal gave the check to my dad. This is what I was told by a secretary who works at the firm. They knew my dad "signed on my behalf" as the secretary stated, and she added that this was a "Korean style" or way of dealing in business. She laughed it off, I was furious and felt like their way of practice was very wrong.

The other check I'm talking about is my portion of the settlement. In California, as well as stated in the contract I signed, my attorney receives 1/3 of the settlement, I receive 1/3 of the settlement, and my chiropractor receives 1/3 of the settlement.

So, I did not know my father had received and signed a check for an advance that was made out to me which was dated back in August of 2012. I found out about this yesterday, when I received a call from my attorney telling me that the insurance company wrote out three checks for my settlement.

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Asker
Posted about 1 year ago.

And to answer your question about how my dad new my attorney... let me begin by saying my life "story" is quite complicated all thanks to my father.

My father in the past, has forged my signatures, opened up credit cards under my name without my approval/consent, has gone to jail several times for it. I have gone through a lot with my father doing these things. I decided not to have anything to do with him; this was 10 years ago. I moved back home 1.5 years ago to help my mother. Then I was involved in an auto accident July 2012. My mom told my dad I was involved in an accident and that I was injured. I felt my dad was reaching out to me out of concern and he has helped in finding me an attorney for my accident (the paralegal that works for my attorney turned out to be a friend of my dad's friend). So, that is how my dad knows the paralegal, not my attorney. I did not even hear from my attorney until recently when talks of settlement surfaced. I have never even met my attorney. I only met with the paralegal to sign paper work.

Robert Bruce Kopelson
Robert Bruce Kopelson, Personal Injury Lawyer - San Jose, CA
Posted about 1 year ago.

No offense, but the Korean style referred to is not in my opinion, the proper way to conduct business. You can check with the state bar to see what it thinks about these practices. The atty is responsible for managing his staff. It is also unusual in my experience for an ins co to issue 3 separate checks like you describe. Id ask to see copies of all of them. While it can sometimes turn out that the settlement goes 1/3 for atty, one third for medical treatment, and 1/3 for client, I think it is suspect to have such an agreement in advance. Im not accusing anyone in this case of fraudulent/improper practices, but there are attys and chiropractors who do operate this way as a standard business practice. Sometimes they do include fraudulent /padded claims, or fraudulent records/billing. Ins cos generally know who these people are, and evaluate the claims differently (usually at less money) because of the atty or doctor involved. Good luck.

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Asker
Posted about 1 year ago.

I told the paralegal that I knew of no such "Korean style" practice.

I didn't know the chiropractor would receive 1/3 to cover for medical treatments. I thought that medical bills would be paid by insurance, the settlement would be given where 1/3 goes to lawyer. I regret not knowing what I signed on contracts for lawyer as well as chiro. I realized that Chiro plays with their numbers when it came to billing my treatments. Let's say med bills came out to be $7000...but according to 1/3 agreement, the Chiro would only get $4700...so, the atty said Chiro will have to discount the $7000 in bills and settle for lesser amount of $4700. I don't understand how this works out. Of the three checks, my check was the least amount. In the end, I would have gotten the short end of the stick because of a filing fee and the advance. So, for now, settlement is placed on hold because I want to address why the check was issued in my name in the first place. The paralegals are awful for what they concealed and did without my consent.

Thank you for your input in this matter. I really just wanted to hear from different lawyers of their opinions/advice.