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.
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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.
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
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.
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.
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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