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legalgems
legalgems, Lawyer
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Just Answer consultant at Self employed
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My personal injury case was settled through a mediation

Customer Question

Hello , my personal injury case was settled through a mediation over two months ago. I still have not been paid . I contacted my lawyers office and they told me that they have not received the money yet . In addition , my lawyer signed the release from the insurance company without my permission. The lawyers assistant told me last month that they revised the release information and sent it back to the insurance company because they didn't like how it was written. Is all of this normal ? I feel like my lawyer is not being honest but I do not want to jump to any conclusions and start accusing them of being dishonest . What should I do ?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  legalgems replied 1 year ago.
Normally an attorney will not sign a release until discussing the matter with the client. ules of Professional ConductRule 3-500 CommunicationA member shall keep a client reasonably informed about significant developments relating to the employment or representation, including promptly complying with reasonable requests for information and copies of significant documents when necessary to keep the client so informed. Please note the below requires the attorney to inform the client of all terms and conditions of settlement which would include a release:Rule 3-510 Communication of Settlement Offer(A) A member shall promptly communicate to the member's client:(1) All terms and conditions of any offer made to the client in a criminal matter; and(2) All amounts, terms, and conditions of any written offer of settlement made to the client in all other matters.(B) As used in this rule, "client" includes a person who possesses the authority to accept an offer of settlement or plea, or, in a class action, all the named representatives of the class. I would suggest talking to your attorney to find out why s/he signed the release and then decided it was inadequate; also an inquiry as to when payment is to be paid. Normally settlement offers specify a date by which payment should be received.
Expert:  legalgems replied 1 year ago.
A link to the professional rules of conduct here: http://rules.calbar.ca.gov/Rules/RulesofProfessionalConduct.aspx Thank you for using Just Answer.I hope the information I provided is useful. If you need further clarification please post here and I will reply as soon as I see it; otherwise, Kindly-Rate Positively-This does Not result in additional charges to the customer and allows the site to credit me for assisting you today.Thank you and take care!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Are these rules the law or is that the oath that they take when they become a lawyer ? Specifically Rule 3-510 . Can my lawyer be held legally responsible in a court of law for signing the release from the insurance company without my consent ? Should I be concerned because it has been over two months since the case was mediated and settled and I have not received a check ? It seems like I am not getting a clear answer from my lawyer . Interestingly , I never talk to the lawyer directly . I communicate with his assistant . I feel powerless!!! Is there a best time to contact the California bar association if I am able to get a direct answer from the lawyer or his assistants .
Expert:  legalgems replied 1 year ago.
They are rules of professional conduct that each attorney is bound by; they are used as a basis for attorney discipline with the state bar, and can be introduced as proof of negligence in a court of law (since attorneys are bound by them).It is also part of the oath:http://www.americanbar.org/groups/professional_responsibility/resources/professionalism/professionalism_codes.html Generally a settlement will set forth relevant dates, so correspondence should be reviewed to see if there are timelines that are not being complied with. It would really depend on the terms of the settlement- some have structured payments, others are paid within x business days, others are strung out for a future event (ie if it's dependent on an insurance payout it can delay it). Some firms will limit contact between the attorney and client; but if the client wishes to talk to the attorney directly that is customarily granted.And for contacting the bar association, once it becomes clear that an attorney is ignoring the client and/or not pursuing in good faith one's case, and attempts to reach the firm is futile, that is generally when one will contact the bar. The bar does have a fund to help pay for damages:http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Attorneys/LawyerRegulation/ClientSecurityFund.aspxThere is a statute of limitations for legal malpractice:http://www.clrc.ca.gov/pub/Misc-Report/TR-StatLimAttyMalprRevd.pdf
Expert:  legalgems replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for using Just Answer.I hope the information provided was useful.Here is a link to the bar association's legal referral site:http://apps.americanbar.org/legalservices/lris/directory/Should you have further questions please post here; otherwise kindly--- Rate Positively---so the site credits me for assisting you.Thank you and take care!