Your lawyer may not settle your personal injury claim without your consent. As the injured party, you have the final say on whether you accept or reject any offer made by the opposing party. Your attorney also has an obligation to communicate settlement offers to you regardless of whether they think the offer is fair or not.
While settling your injury claim is your decision, a personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles can have a significant impact on the success of your case. They could negotiate the best settlement offer possible while advising you on what to expect from the litigation process.
The right to accept or reject settlements
The right to reject or accept a settlement lies with the injured party. Further, settling your case without your consent is a serious ethical breach that can result in the loss of a law license. Your attorney owes you a fiduciary duty and has an obligation to put your wishes and needs above all else while handling your claim.
While your legal counsel has an obligation to inform you of any settlement offer, you have the right to set specific guidelines on when an attorney can reject an offer on their own. For example, you could give your attorney a minimum amount. This means your counsel could have the authority to reject any offer below that amount out of hand without the need to communicate it to you first. Again, this is entirely your decision to make.
Fraud related to settlement offers
Personal injury or slip and fall settlements are not completed on a handshake. To finalize the settlement, you would need to sign off on the release to finalize it. Without your signature, it is not official. Fraud related to signatures on a settlement agreement is uncommon.
Another form of fraud that is more common involves attorneys not being forthright about settlement offers. This could include failing to communicate an offer to you if the attorney feels it is too low. Alternatively, your attorney could fail to act in your best interest to push you into a low settlement offer. This might be good for your attorney, but it is not always in your best interest. This is especially true if you are still treating your injuries following an accident.
Understanding the settlement process
The settlement process can be long and drawn-out. Alternatively, your attorney could secure a fair settlement offer shortly after you hire them. Every case is different, but it is helpful to understand that a settlement could occur at any time.
Many settlements are negotiated before a lawsuit ever becomes necessary. However, in other cases, your attorney might only resolve your case in the moments before the trial is set to begin. Knowing this, it is best to keep an open mind about the possibility of a negotiated settlement during every stage of the process.
Contact our team of Los Angeles personal injury lawyers
Given what is at stake, it is vital that you rely on legal counsel you can trust. The attorneys of Salamati Law respect your rights as an injury victim and will always proceed in accordance with your decisions. To learn more, schedule your free consultation as soon as possible.