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Is it Malpractice if a Personal Injury Attorney receives a settlement offer from Insurance Co., & NEVER reports it to client?

San Jose, CA |

Atty does not communicate with me. I've gotten used to this, as my case has been open for 17 months. Having grown frustrated with the lack of communication and UN-returned calls, I sent them a nasty letter on 11/12/09 where I threatened to change counsel. Finally, on 11/16/09, a paralegal on the case called to discuss my letter, and in the course of the conversation I find out the Insurance Co. made a settlement offer on 10/26/09. In other words they sat on the offer for 21 days, and NEVER REPORTED IT TO ME. It was my understanding that attorneys are supposed to report settlement offers to the client in a timely fashion. What should I do?

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Filed under: Professional ethics
Attorney answers 3


Communication of essential matters regarding a client matter is required. Call, make an appointment to go in, have a heart-to-heart conversation, and if you're still not happy switch. Settlements are usually reported right away because they represent potential income to all concerned.


Unless the settlement offer expired before you could accept, there has been no malpractice. There has been lousy communication. My colleague is correct, set an appointment with the attorney to correct the problem. If you are not satisfied, switch attorneys.

The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change.


If you accepted the officer and it was paid, then it is ok. If you want to accept the offer and its too late to obtain that offer, then you would have damages.

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