Injury lawyer settled without me knowing

Asked over 1 year ago - Chicago, IL

He showed no settlment docs and when i asked for the money he sent me a personal check.

Attorney answers (9)

  1. Joseph Andrew Brabender IV

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

    9

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Lawyers are not allowed to settle a claim without authority from the client. Most of us want confirmation in writing, though oral is sufficient.

    Moreover, assuming there was an insurance company or a lawyer on the other side, there would have been a settlement agreement and release. If the defendant didn't have insurance or a lawyer, there may not have been one.

    A personal check is unusual. A check would normally come from the lawyer's trust (IOLTA) account.

    Given these unusual factors, I would demand a full accounting and explanation from the lawyer.

    Though we strive to provide accurate legal information in our answers on AVVO, our answer should not be construed... more
  2. Myron Wayne Tucker

    Pro

    Contributor Level 12

    8

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You should get a complete itemization of the settlement. It should tell you how the money was distributed. If you did not consent to the settlement, write to the insurance company or the person you are suing and let them know you did not agree to the settlement.

  3. Howard M Lewis

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    2

    Lawyers agree

    11

    Answered . In most cases you would need to sign a release or give him or her authority to sign the release for you, your attorney should provide you a copy of the release, the original check showing the settlement amount and a copy of the check he wrote to himself, this doesn't sound right, take care.

    Legal disclaimer: The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to... more
  4. Daniel Nelson Deasy

    Contributor Level 20

    7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . That is a no-no!!

    You had better get an explanation right away. I am certain that Illinois has a Bar Association or a disciplinary counsel that would be quite concerned with this conduct.

    Demand a sit down with the attorney as a starting place.

    Good luck!

    In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship.... more
  5. Merry Melinda Fountain

    Pro

    Contributor Level 15

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I agree with Attorney Deasey. You should have received detailed documentation to review and sign regarding the total amount of the settlement, medical bills and or liens paid, and expenses. The check you received should have been from the law firm, not a personal check. You don't mention signing a Release. A Release for the amount of the settlement signed by you would have been required by the insurance company before issuing the settlement check. If you did not sign any Release, that is another serious ethical issue. If you did sign a Release for the settlement amount, then you have agreed to the amount of the settlement as far as the insurance company is concerned, and the problem here involves your attorney accounting for what happened to the rest of the monies.

    Merry Fountain is licensed to practice law in Indiana. She can be contacted at 1-888-242-HURT. This is not legal... more
  6. Clifford Horwitz

    Pro

    Contributor Level 11

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Your attorney is not authorized to resolve a claim without your authority. However, the settlement he entered into may still be binding upon you. I agree with the other comments. Get an accounting and determine if you agree with the terms of the settlement. If you don't, I suggest you contact another lawyer and the Illinois Disciplinary Commission. Note that it is also improper for the attorney to place the settlement funds into his personal account.

  7. Michael R Crosner

    Contributor Level 20

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Was this settlement related to accident claim (auto/premises etc) or was it related to a different type of civil matter. Was this settlement made with an insurance company or was it perhaps with a private individual defendant or private company/corporation. Did you sign a Release? You should immediately contact a local attorney to review all the facts of this matter.

    This is not intended to be legal advise or as legal representation. I am a California personal injury attorney .... more
  8. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Something is fishy in Denmark. Call the disciplinary board to investigate.

  9. Mark A. Brown

    Contributor Level 1

    Answered . All attorneys are required to receive consent from the client in order to settle a case. The attorney is also required to show you the settlement documents, especially since you'll need to sign a release for the insurance company. Further, if you do not agree with the settlement amount, did not give your consent to the settlement, and never signed a release, you may have grounds to invalidate the "settlement" that your attorney agreed to without your permission. You may also have grounds for a legal malpractice claim if you were damaged by the attorney's settlement compared to the real value of the case. However, I caution that this may be difficult.

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