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Auto accident Attorney apparently accepted the first low ball offer from Ins. Co. without my consent and did not...

Orlando, FL |

... and did not even bother to tell me about this for at least 6 months . I just got a letter stating that the ridiculous settlement check was cashed by him and is in his trust account even though I hand delivered a letter to his office demanding disclosure of his negotiations with Ins.Co. and stating very clearly I would not accept any offers until I saw the contents of my file. I also sent a copy of this letter to the Ins Co's Attorney. I believe he had no right to accept this offer without my consent much less cash the check without my knowledge.He did nothing on the case for nearly a year. Never returned my calls or emails during this time and his office refused to show me my case file. I want to fire him but is it too late? Am I somehow stuck with his agreement with Ins.

If I am stuck with what he did then on what legal grounds?Why would a neglectful, unethical Attorney be successful against my removing him as counsel for cause? I did not cause an accident and I have payed for it. This lame duck Attorney should get removed not paid, in fact he should be punished for exacerbating this already negative situation.I want him gone so someone else can do this right and from square one. He had no right to accept an offer or cash a check

Attorney Answers 7

Posted

It was unethical for the lawyer to act as you described. It is also criminal. Report him to the Florida Bar and the Sheriff or local law enforcement. Sue him.
Hire a new lawyer to pursue your original case. You will have an issue regarding whether the lawyer had the apparent authority to settle the case and bind you. I am not sure how this will play out.

This is a summary based on incomplete facts. You should not rely on it as legal advise. No attorney-client relationship is intended to be formed. You may call me 772-562-4570; email me vblawyer@bellsouth.net, or visit my website http://www.millerlawoffices.us

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Posted

I would send the lawyer a certified letter advising him that you never gave authority to settle your claims and demand a complete copy of your entire paper and electronic file be sent to you within ten days. If you receive the file, meet with a reputable injury lawyer not associated with the first lawyer for advice. If you do not receive the file after ten days, file a bar complaint.

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1 comment

Clifford M. Miller

Clifford M. Miller

Posted

If what the asker said was true, that the lawyer "settled" the case with no authority six months ago, that means the lawyer acted unethically, without authority, that the client's signature to the release was forged, and probably forged to the settlement draft also. It also means the lawyer deposited the settlement funds in his trust account without a correct entry in his trust ledger (best case), or just kept the money until the client asked about it. If the asker's statements are true, his lawyer is a thief and the lawyer's actions bring disrepute to the rest of us. Negotiating with such a person does a disservice to the profession. We had someone like that in Vero Beach. He still owes me $800 for a case I mediated for him. He was disbarred and is now in prison. A similar fate should await this asker's former lawyer. I would report him myself if I had his name and I was sure of the facts.

Posted

The case can not be settled without your signing the settlement documents, so you still have options. Fire that lawyer and hire a new one.

Attorney Stacy E. Pepper is licensed in all State and Federal Courts in Mississippi. He is a founding Partner in the law firm of Pepper & Odom, P.C. Nothing posted here constitutes any attorney client relationship and is meant for educational purposes only. Office hours are 8:00 a.m till 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Phone: 601-914-9219 Facsimile: 888-456-2160 www.pepperodom.com

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Posted

Report this to the disciplinary board, and have a new lawyer pick up the ball.

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Posted

If you did not authorize the acceptance of the offer - you are not stuck with it. Your attorney had no authority to accept the offer. Speak with your attorney about this fact and put your position in writing. OF course you will have to prove that your claim is worth more than the current offer. If you get no response from your lawyer you can contact a local legal malpractice lawyer.

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Posted

If you didn't authorize the settlement or sign a release, you are probably not bound by his actions. You'd need to fire the attorney in writing and hire a new experienced lawyer to try to unravel this mess and give you a second opinion on your case as a whole.

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Posted

As long as you have not executed any release you should be okay. It's possible the money represents the limits of the insurance proceeds and the two of you need a meeting to discuss.

I'd sit down with the lawyer and then decide if you want to switch lawyers. Switching lawyers is a big deal and not something to do on a whim.

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Riccardo Dominic Arcaro

Riccardo Dominic Arcaro

Posted

Report him to the disciplinary board, and find a new attorney to undertake case. If you didn't sign a Release you should be in the clear! Riccardo Arcaro, Esq. Sarasota, FL

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