What are my rights if my lawyer negotiated a settlement without consulting me?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What are my rights if my lawyer negotiated a settlement without consulting me?

At the time of my last meeting with my lawyer, he instructed me to follow my doctor’s instructions and that he would keep in touch. Earlier this week, he called with the insurance adjuster’s “final offer” and indicated that I had to get back to him by today with a decision about this offer. I did not participate in the process and my lawyer never requested current information from me. Is it a common practice to negotiate without all of the information and to pressure people into a settlement?

Asked on June 17, 2011 under Personal Injury, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It is common for an attorney to negotiate with constant input from his or her client--in fact, it's essentially necessary in many cases, since having to keep the client fully in the loop may make the process unworkable. Also, in a situation where the facts (e.g. injuries, damages, etc.) are not changing quickly, there is less need for consultation during negotiation. However, the lawyer may not *agree* to the settlement without his or her client's input, unless the client had previously authorized the attorney to do so on his or her behalf. That means that before everything is finalized, the client has a chance to review it and see if  he or she is happy with the settlement, wants to push for more, etc.  Note that the above is predicated on the lawyer and the client having had some discussions to lay out generally what might be acceptable; the attorney is the client's agent, and needs to at least know approximately what the client might agree to or want.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption