Can a lawyer cheat his client ?
I was in a car accident got hit from the back, I hired a lawyer and agreed
On everything.My lawyer was suing the insurance company on my behalf and Asking to get &50,000 , then 6 months later he went to mediation and called me and said would you accept $20,000? Or otherwise you'll have to wait another year. So I accepted the offer and he issued me a PERSONAL CHECK of $12,000 after subtracting his cut. Now the question is could this attorney has lied to me? And get a full amount of &50,000 since he gave me a personal check? Keep in mind he did not let me see or hear the defendant's lawyer at the mediation! How would I find out the truth?
6 attorney answers
Claimants almost always have to sign a release, acknowledging that they are giving up their claim against the other person in exchange for a certain amount of money. The release will state the settlement amount. If you don't remember signing a release, ask the lawyer for a copy of it. Releases usually require the persons signature to be notarized, so a lawyer usually can't sign for a client.
A lawyer is not likely to jeopardize his license over $30,000. You are entitled to a complete accounting of the settlement proceeds. If your attorney will not give you full disclosure you can file a Bar grievance v
This simply has the hackles up on the back of my neck. There should be NO CIRCUMSTANCE where an injury lawyer provides you a "personal check" of any type. Settlement funds are required to be handled through a trust account and as such you would have received a TRUST ACCOUNT check for your net proceeds which is NOT a personal check. Sadly, I just got done explaining to a colleague yesterday about some recent shenanigans that are being used by unethical lawyers to scam thier clients.....its shameful. If this is accurate this needs to be reported to the Florida Bar and you need to retain counsel ASAP to review the settlement before you sign anything.
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To answer your question, yes it is possible. It is not ethical or legal, but unfortunately every profession has its bad apples. Its concerning to hear that a mediation occurred the way you are describing. Having the client present is usually required. The personal check is also a troubling sign. You should receive a closing statement that identifies to the penny where all the money goes. This is required in these type of cases. If you want to find out the truth, demand to see this. If there are questions you have on that form, ask them of your attorney. If you don't receive a full answer, you may wish to contact the Florida Bar
Not bringing a client to a mediation is not completely uncommon as the emotional aspect of what a client is dealing wit as a result of the case, can be a detriment to the negotiations during the mediation and their case overall. Sometimes additional information such as medical records, bills and evidence may come forward prior to a mediation that could increase the value of a case significantly above an initial offer, or an offer in the early stages of a case.
As others have said, the attorney could not have legally resolved your case and disbursed to you without you first signing a release agreeing to accept X amount from the insurnace company. That amount is then used to cover whatever your retainer agreement with your attorney states. You are entitled to a full accounting of your case to see where every penny of the settlement proceeds went. You should ask your attorney for that accounting and perhaps a copy of the retainer agreement.
You should not have been paid by a personal check. You should have received a check from the lawyer's trust account. You also should have signed, and been provided with, a closing statement which detailed where every penny from the settlement was going.