Do I have any recourse against my Lawyer or the person who hit me?

Asked about 1 year ago - Sarasota, FL

MY 2 DAUGHTERS AND I WERE INVOLVED IN A ACCIDENT HIT FROM BEHIND AT A STOP LIGHT. ALL 3 OF US HAD SURGERY WE ALL USED THE SAME LAYER, THE DEFENDENTS INSURANCE CO OFFERED $7500.00 FOR EACH SHE HAD $100,000 COVERAGE i FOUND OUT OUR LAWYER GOT 50,00 FOR EACH DAUGHTER THEY HAD THEIR SURGERY FIRST LEAVING ME OUT, I DID NOT KNOW THIS TILL I RECEIVED MY SETTLEMENT, MY QUESTION IS THIS NORMAL TO DO AND NOT DIVIDE THE AMOUNT
EQUAL ? AND WHAT ABOUT THE LADY THAT HIT ME, I NEVER SIGNED OFF COULD I SUE HER? HER INSURANCE KNEW THERE WERE 3 WHY WOULD THEY SETTLE WITHOUT INCLUDING ALL 3? WHY DID MY LAWYER NOT INCLUDE ALL 3 ?

Attorney answers (11)

  1. Tanya Marie Bachand

    Contributor Level 15

    14

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Your facts are a bit confusing, if you didn't receive anything, what do you mean by "I received my settlement?" To answer what I think is your question directly, no, you don't just divide amounts equally, settlements depend on severity of injuries and a number of other factors Your daughters may have gotten more because they have a longer life expectancy. And to answer your other question, your lawyer cannot and should not settle your case without your express permission, and doing so would not only be malpractice, but unethical.

    This is general advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.
  2. Kevin Coluccio

    Contributor Level 20

    11

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I would sit down with you lawyer and ask for the details of the settlements and I would ask him the questions you have outlined.

  3. Michael R Crosner

    Contributor Level 20

    10

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Not sure I understand your question - schedule a face to face meeting with your attorney & ask him/her all these questions

    This is not intended to be legal advise or as legal representation. I am a California personal injury attorney .... more
  4. Jeffrey Ira Schwimmer

    Contributor Level 19

    10

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Your post is confusing and contradictory. If the other driver only had $100,000.00 and your 2 daughters each received $50,000.00, how do you have a settlement of your claim? Secondly, if you did not "sign off" on the settlement, and more particularly did not sign a General Release in return for being paid money, even if only $1, then you don't have a settlement of your claim. If that is the case, then you can still sue so long as the statute of limitations has not run, or continue the lawsuit for your particular claim if already commenced. Third, if either or both of your daughters are minors (under the age of 18) then any legal claim brought in their behalf would have had to have been pursued by a Legal Guardian; typically one of the parents of the injured child. Accordingly, it is difficult to understand how you say the attorney settled their claims without you knowing, if he would have had to have discussed it with you or your husban in order to get approval and go through the steps needed to "compromise" a claim for a minor through the courts. Lastly, particularly where there are multiple claimants and an insufficient amount of insurance coverage, it arguably presents a "conflict of interest" for an attorney to represent all the claimants because of the very situtation you are describing - at least not without first discussing any potential conflict with the clients and having them waive that conflict so as to allow the attorney to represent all. Discuss this with your attorney.

  5. David John Zappitell

    Pro

    Contributor Level 4

    7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I am assuming your daughters are not minors? If I am correct, the lawyer would need to have a signed conflict of waiver agreement signed by all 3 claimants, depending on the full policy limit and/or an agreement as to how to divide a policy limit that is insufficient to compensate all claimants. Depending upon all of the specifics (full damages, liability, etc) along with the available policy limits of each injury victim; if you did not receive a recovery or received far less than your pro-rata share you may have a claim against your lawyer or the insurance company.

  6. Angelo Marino Jr.

    Pro

    Contributor Level 14

    7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Anytime one lawyer represents more than one plaintiff in an accident, especially when there is limited insurance, creates a conflict of interest. If you were not included in how the money was divided, they you have a question about his representation.

    However, I am not sure if the facts you stated are accurate. If there was 100K, which mean generally there is 100/200 or 100/300K of insurance, unless you are saying was 50/100 K of insurance. There appears to be pleanty of insurance if it was 100/200 K or more. You need to speak to your lawyer and pin him/her down on the facts.

    Good luck.

  7. Clifford M. Miller

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Please clarify the facts. As recited, they are incomplete and contradictory.

    This is a summary based on incomplete facts. You should not rely on it as legal advise. No attorney-client... more
  8. Christopher Robert Dillingham II

    Contributor Level 19

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You need to ask your attorney these questions. There are far too many details lacking for any attorney to answer such a fact-intensive question with any specificity. (Please also avoid typing in "ALL CAPS" in the future since it makes your question difficult to read and understand. I, at first, missed the part stating you, too, had surgery.)

    Insurance settlements, in partial answer to your question, are predicated upon the severity of injuries, number of parties involved, and the available liability policy limits. You appear to be describing what is called a "global settlement" in which the insurance company settles the worst injuries first in order to protect its insured parties. The insurance company has an affirmative duty to do precisely that. Settlements are not predicated upon equal payments.

    Lastly, the tortfeasor would likely not have had just $100,000 in bodily injury coverage (if it was a Florida insurance policy). She would have far more likely have had $100,000 per person and $200,000 per loss, meaning the most any one injured person could get is $100,000, and the most all could get as a group (aggregate clams) is $200,000. In other words, if you add the amounts each person obtains for their injuries, the total would not be more than $200,000.

    Insofar as the rest of your questions go, you must ask your attorney about how the claims were settled. If you signed a release for $7500, in all but the most exigent circumstances, you have entered into a legally-binding contract for that amount, and you have released the parties involved.

  9. David Ian Schoen

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . It was probably was a conflict of interest for him to represent all 3 of you under those circumstances. You may have a legal malpractice claim. You should consult with a lawyer that does legal malpractice claims.

  10. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The facts don't add up. Call one of the above lawyers in your state to sort out

  11. Glenn Jay Holzberg

    Contributor Level 13

    Answered . In Florida and those states that recognize common law Bad Faith causes of action, the insurance company that settled with 2 of 3 injured parties, for policy limits without considering the interests of the 3rd is arguably in bad faith and responsible for your damages regardless of coverage limits. You also may have a claim of egalitarian malpractice against your lawyer who 1) never should have represented all 3 of you as there were inherent conflicts of interest from the beginning and 2) once you were jointly represented he had to take into account your separate interests especially given the $100,0000 limits of coverage. Fire this lawyer hire a good personal injury. Lawyer who understands bad faith cases and find out what really happened. You may want to write your current lawyer for a detailed explanation as to the circumstances of the settlements without Protecting your interests, as 1st to have surgery is not a reasonable explanation.

    LEGAL ADVICE: Unless you have retained me as your attorney, and I am currently engaged by you and providing you... more

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