Can my spouses lawyer say I have a separate claim in a auto wreck and then exclude me and have my wife settle

Her lawyer told both of us that I have
a claim and at the mediation say that
it’s just her and settle the case

Asked on March 11, 2017 under Accident Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If he was your attorney as well as your wife's (he was representing both of you), he could not settle without your consent or agreement. If you agreed to the settlement, even if reluctantly, it is legal; but  if you did not, while the other side may be able to rely on the settlement since it *appeared* to have authority (the norm is that an attorney has the authority to settle for his clients), if it was done without your agreement, you potentially have an ethics complaint and/or malpractice complaint against the attorney.
If the lawyer was not representing you as well as your wife (and it was known to the other side he did not represent you; i.e. there was no reason for him to appear that he represented you), he could not settle any claim you have for you--you should be able to bring your claim still if you want, and may have an ethics complaint vs. the attorney.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If he was your attorney as well as your wife's (he was representing both of you), he could not settle without your consent or agreement. If you agreed to the settlement, even if reluctantly, it is legal; but  if you did not, while the other side may be able to rely on the settlement since it *appeared* to have authority (the norm is that an attorney has the authority to settle for his clients), if it was done without your agreement, you potentially have an ethics complaint and/or malpractice complaint against the attorney.
If the lawyer was not representing you as well as your wife (and it was known to the other side he did not represent you; i.e. there was no reason for him to appear that he represented you), he could not settle any claim you have for you--you should be able to bring your claim still if you want, and may have an ethics complaint vs. the attorney.


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