Visitor Question

My lawyer accepted a settlement without my consent…

Submitted By: Sandrine (Tampa, Florida, USA)

Recently my current lawyer settled my automobile accident claim without my accord. The accident happened over a year ago and for months now, I have tried to communicate with his law firm regarding issues and concerns: unpaid medical bills, no information regarding the claim progress and more…

I have emails proving my many attempts to communicate with his firm. About a month ago, the paralegal emailed me stating that my lawyer had presented a settlement plan. I replied that I was very surprised of the fact that he went ahead without letting me know and worst of all without showing me the document.

On Monday, my lawyer’s secretary called to let me know checks of my settlement were in and that i needed to come sign. i was speechless, told her to fax me the final statement.

I emailed the firm stating that I disagreed with the statement and that I would appreciate very much for my lawyer to contact me ASAP. I tried to contact them every day since. I never heard back from them.

My questions are: What should I do now? I am thinking of contacting the Hillsborough Bar Assoc. to file a complaint. Is this the best or only way to go at this point? Any help will be truly appreciated. Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Sandrine,

Rule Number One in personal injury law is that you NEVER accept a settlement without the client’s consent.

Even if the dollar figure is not what the client was hoping for, the client must still be advised of all facts including the gross settlement, prospective attorney’s fees, hard costs and medical bills. This is the only way a client can make an intelligent decision about whether to accept or reject a settlement.

When your attorney accepted the settlement without discussing the terms with you, he/she violated a fiduciary duty owed to you. This is when a person with superior knowledge and experience who is expected to exhibit trustworthy advice and counsel takes advantage of that position to their advantage.

It is also an ethical violation. In terms of your question, you can report your lawyer to the local bar association, however the State Bar is the only authority that can really discipline this person.

The state bar website will have downloadable forms for you to complete should you decide to report your lawyer’s conduct to them.

Furthermore, you have an accepted settlement that the insurance company believes is a “done deal” because they have already cut checks. You may need to intervene and advise them that you never agreed to the settlement, that it was accepted without your authorization and that the attorney no longer works for you.

This will cause the insurance adjuster to begin working with you directly or with your new attorney should you decide to hire one again.

Learn more here: What to Consider When Changing Attorneys

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


13 thoughts on “My lawyer accepted a settlement without my consent…

  1. DJ says:

    If you sign nothing agreeing to the settlement you or the lawyer get nothing. However if you go get a new lawyer, this original lawyer can strap a lien on the new case. So say your original lawyer got you $30k, but you say that is not enough considering the damage done etc, so you go get a better lawyer that wins you $100k.

    If the first lawyer has a lien on the new case they can still get paid, plus you pay the new lawyer. Now if you can get a release from the first lawyers, as you say you’re just not happy with their work, and they release you, then you are free to get another lawyer.

    This is what a lawyer told me but who the hell knows if he knows what he’s talking about. In closing, I am reminded of a wise friend’s words: The only people that win are the Lawyers.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I would like to know if I should sign my release before my medpay is paid to me. My insurance company owes me medpay and my lawyer is not trying to recover the money, nor did he recover my loss of wages.

    I’m wondering if I should sign and hope I receive the money or just wait until the pay me.

  3. Anonymous says:

    My P.I. attorney drummed up the most insane settlement agreement, that has no date, and no signature by him or me. My name is on it, but he took it off the POA document I signed under extreme duress.

    He screamed at me to sign it, or he cannot get the check.

    Why would anyone with 8 screws in their neck grant indemnity to the attorney and the drunk driver?

    Why would I agree to go to JAIL if MEDICARE is not paid back? He is supposed to pay off any LIENS or any doctors through letter of protection. It’s not up to me to pay the bills since HE made himself POA.

    I never said, “My attorney told me not to sign this, but I want to get the case settled.” It’s beyond stupid and the CT BAR ASSOCIATION seems to be figuring out ways to exonerate this puke.

    I wrote a negative review on YELP, so he sent a FEDERAL MARSHAL to our home. He kicked both front and side doors for 30 minutes, then he opened the side door and dropped a threatening letter off demanding I remove the review or he will put a lien on our home and sue me in court.

    If he had put that much effort into my case, I would not be writing this.

    CT BAR Association has his threatening letter and the undated settlement that we NEVER DISCUSSED or agreed to. Somehow, the “BAR” is blaming me for not leaving the firm!

    I was unable to move after (3) surgeries – 2007 – 2008 – 2010 and 1/18/16 I am having another.
    Connecticut has the most corrupt everything as far as my experience.

    Rogue trooper uses his power to set free a pretty drunk driver with attempts to date her following the burning crash. The first neurosurgeons messed up my fusion, and he did not care about that either!

    The CT STATE trooper, the drunk driver, the attorney(s) (2) neurosurgeons and the CT. BAR ASSOCIATION, all screwed me over, and there is no where else to turn…..except perhaps the media.

    That will be my next stop once I get thrown under the bus again, by the CT STATE BAR, and after I am healed from my 4th surgery. I will expose them all on local news.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I kept telling my attorney I want to sue for two years after I finished physical therapy. I found out my attorney settled anyway without my knowledge.

    I found out when I got a letter from medicare confirming a payment they received. When I confronted my attorney he rushed the phone to his assistant after I said I wanted $5000 and wasn’t signing anything.

    He agreed to pay me $5000 verbally so I signed and asked for a copy. They said they will mail a copy of the settlement and the $5000.

    They settled in June and I signed in late July. I have no proof of anything. I call and they keep giving me run around.

  5. Anonymous says:

    My attorney for my claim in an auto accident, that was not my fault and in which I received serious body injuries, accepted a settlement from the defendant’s insurance company without consulting me in any way.

    I signed nothing nor agreed to a settlement, as I wasn’t consulted, period. I was never told of it but my newer lawyer found out immediately.

    The lawyer’s association has offered me a settlement for his actions, and have conceded that he wrongly represented me.

  6. Anonymous says:

    How can you verify that the amount settled is the correct one? My lawyer has asked me to sign a settlement fee document but never asked me to sign a check. I just want to make sure that the Original Document from the Agency offering settlement was not Edited before getting to me.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I’ve read some of these cases here and wow, but what I’m searching is, is there a way to find if a lawyer or law firm has gotten compensation without my knowledge. I googled it and keep getting these types of pages.

    There has to be a quick way to find out if someone collected funds in my name without my knowledge or written consent. Thank You.

  8. Anonymous says:

    My attorney settled my case without my authorization. He also had his receptionist tell me that if I wasn’t satisfied with the way things were going that I could seek assistance elsewhere, even after having me turn in all kinds of copies that cost me $185 dollars of my own out of pocket money.

    Then come to find out he hadn’t reviewed any of the documents. He never even offered to provide me with a contract. I’m the one that took him my business to begin with. I compiled supporting documents that I have a winning case. My passenger was told that his offer is going to be much more.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The same happened with my case but the lawyer tricked us into signing an agreement which they stated wasn’t final. Now we are catching on that it might be a scam.

  10. Anonymous says:

    My attorney cancelled mediation and accepted an offer without my consent. He talked me into signing a document I could not read because I had just left hospital under medication. This was done Friday night, the document will be submitted to the judge on Monday morning. Do I have any legal right to intervene at this time?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Sometimes the limits of coverage are tendered. As such, the lawyer could not have recovered any more money.

  12. Angie O. says:

    About two months after my deposition I contacted my attorney for an update, at which time she told me an offer was made and she countered it.

    I thought my attorney was supposed to discuss the offer with me, then give her opinion about the counter offer, and ultimately it was my decision. I don’t know what to do now, can someone please help!

  13. Anonymous says:

    This recently happened to my friend, a settlement was accepted and he was told when he called the lawyer’s office. This was his second time calling the lawyer and he only called because the lawyer requested it. He thought the lawyer was going to tell him how the case was going but he was told that a settlement was accepted and that he needed to come to the office to sign papers, he was totally shocked.

    I’m doing research to see if there’s anything he can do. From what I’ve read I think it would be safe to tell my friend he can tell the lawyer he’s not going to accept the settlement, I just want to know as much as possible because the lawyer might try to convince my friend that it’s a done deal.

    My friend has a permanent neck injury that the doctor says could cause arthritis to set in at a early age, also this injury could worsen and cause many people not to be able to play sports and headaches usually come frequently with this type of injury. There’s really nothing the doctors can do so my friend has to manage his pain and he should go in for adjustments at least twice a year or more if needed.

    My friend could be out of big money with future doctor bills if his condition worsens, and I find it shocking that the lawyer would settle for such a low amount. My friend would receive $5,000 after the lawyer’s fee and this is nothing with the type of injury he has. I really don’t think my friend has anything to lose if this went to court, I really don’t believe a court would let him leave with less than $5,000 that the lawyer settled for. I don’t know if the lawyer did what was best for him or what, because it sure doesn’t seem he did what was best for my friend.

    I don’t know if the lawyer agreement said the lawyer could accept a settlement without the client’s consent but even if it did my friend should be able to refuse by not signing for the check.

    It’s like I said before, the lawyer never gave my friend any updates as to the amount being negotiated and this was my friend’s second time calling the lawyer (when he learned of a settlement being accepted) and he didn’t even talk to the lawyer then. I like to give good advice so hopefully I can find out much more with doing research on the internet and this article is one of the best I’ve seen.

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