Could my lawyer accept my personal injury offer from a insurance company, and not tell me if we settled the case or not?

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Could my lawyer accept my personal injury offer from a insurance company, and not tell me if we settled the case or not?

In addition, making up lies, by telling me that the insurance company is still viewing files. He said he gave them a set date to come up with an offer, or we’ll go to court. 3 times that was said. 3 different dates. Also he knew that the insurance company does indeed have all info, files, etc needed. Is my lawyer allowed to have my money from the insurance and keep it, while making me believe there working still on on my case? My Lawyer is the owner of the firm; well known to major media/music entertainment industry.

Asked on February 11, 2011 under Personal Injury, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The lawyer works for you, not for himself; he is legally and ethically bound to represent your interests. He may not settle a case without  your knowledge and approval. Also, any settlement received in your lawsuit is yours (though if there is a contingency fee agreement, the lawyer is entitled to his share of it) and the lawyer can' simplhy keep the proceeds. What this lawyer is doing can give rise to ethics charges against him (contact the state office of the court which oversees lawyers); to a civil lawsuit by you against him, to recover your settlement and other damages (e.g. money you've paid him)--this could be either a fraud and/or malpractice suit; and possibly even criminal liability. Find a new lawyer--one who takes malpractice claims against other attorneys--and consult with him or her.


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