I received an initial offer and declined then received settlement agreement to sign with a new amount can they settle like this? 15 Answers as of February 01, 2013

Talked to lawyer after declining initial offer she asked how much I wanted? I said I don't know & said a ridiculous low amount sarcastically because I was frustrated she asked me anything like that because isn't that there job to know what to ask for? Isn’t that part of her job is to see how much money she needs to ask for the future of the betterment of my health & possible treatment, surgerys, etc I might need? I mean she's the one that's been looking at my medical records for the past 9months so why are you asking me what I need. To me it’s not about how much I would like it’s how much am I going to need for the future. I mean I was a pedestrian hit by a Saturn view in a crosswalk in a Wal-Mart parking lot and dude just left me there and went in the store to go buy groceries. It was because of the good citizens that called 911 and went in the store after him because I had no idea what was going on. It’s because of them I can get this taken care of. Anyways She then called & said she settled the case for the exact sarcastic ridiculous low amount I had said to her on the phone; Not a dollar more and sent the papers in mail for me to sign. I was shocked on what happened because if I asked for 4 $2billion would she of asked for that? No. My understanding was it’s her duty to communicate with me about new developments &other information pertaining my case such as the new settlement offers and I have to agree with that before she can accept. We went from initial offer to settlement agreement sign on dotted line and were done. I'm not signing papers because I'm not happy with this offer and how this has transpired. I don't know what to do or what my options are at this point since she went ahead and drew up the paperwork and is telling me to sign it. I know not to sign it but what am I suppose to say to her about this situation if anything. I feel stuck. She failed to obtain consent from me so I feel that a breach of a fiduciary has occurred. But maybe I'm wrong any advice would be a blessing.

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Law Office of Christian Menard
Law Office of Christian Menard | Christian Menard
There is no settlement until all the signatures are on the settlement agreement. You have every right to say no to the settlement amount at any time before signing the document. DO NOT SIGN IT! Simply, tell your attorney that you were being sarcastic with the number you threw out and that she apparently did not appreciate your sarcasm. Yes, you are right, the attorney should be the one who suggests what would be a reasonable settlement offer. Typically, this amount is a reduced amount from what a potential jury verdict amount would be. From that amount, deduct the strength of your case in establishing liability, further deduct the costs of bringing your case to trial which could be tens of thousands of dollars to get your experts to come to court and testify (I am assuming you have, or will need, experts. These are not the only factors but are important ones. Limits of insurance company's policy and the wealth, or lack thereof, of the defendant's wealth may come into play as well. Do not get hostile with your attorney, simply present it as a misunderstanding and now that such fact has been brought to light, it is time to get on with getting you a reasonable settlement offer, or be prepared to go to trial.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/1/2013
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
If you don't like or trust your lawyer, fire her and hire another. You obviously don't like and don't trust her. You talk about looking out for you for life, that is not going to happen. You did not say what your injuries were, how serious, how much your medicals are, whether there is permanency etc so I cant say anything about the value of your claim. It probably is not anywhere near what you think it is but you need a qualified lawyer you trust to review it all and recommend a course of action. Stop fussing and feeling sorry for yourself and set about to solve your problem.
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 2/1/2013
Gloria Smith-Grimes | Gloria Smith-Grimes
Once you have agreed to an amount, your attorney has the authority to act on your behalf and convey the offer of settlement to the opposing party. Once this has been accepted,you are bound by it. If your attorney knew or should have know that you were kidding, you may have a malpractice case against the attorney.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 2/1/2013
Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
Hey, guy, make an appointment to talk to your lawyer in person so you can each explain your position. Sometimes clients ask ridiculous amounts, so the lawyer may need to clarify with you.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 2/1/2013
Reade & Associates
Reade & Associates | R. Christopher Reade
If you did not agree to the settlement figure, then you need to immediately communicate to your Counsel that you are not and will not settle for the settlement sum. While your Counsel is your agent in settlement negotiations, most tribunals will not hold a client to a settlement erroneously entered by their Counsel to which the Client did not assent. You should also seek to terminate your representation with your present Counsel as quite clearly the attorney/client relationship has broken down.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 2/1/2013
    Mike Lewis Attorneys | Mike Lewis
    If you do not have confidence in the recommendation, get a second opinion.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 1/31/2013
    Curry, Roby & Mulvey Co., LLC
    Curry, Roby & Mulvey Co., LLC | Bruce A. Curry
    Although the final say is with you whether or not to accept a settlement offer, an attorney should provide you with his/her evaluation of your case and then make a recommendation to you. It definitely sounds like you and your attorney have some communication issues. The best thing you can probably do now is to write to your attorney advising her that she entered in to settlement without your authority. Chances are that will cause the defendant to move the court to enforce the original settlement. If the court denies the motion, you are free to continue litigating. If the court enforces the motion, then it may be time to evaluate a potential suit against your attorney. Note: if the court denies the motion to enforce settlement, consider replacing your attorney now.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 1/31/2013
    Law Office of Lisa Hurtado McDonnell | Lisa Hurtado McDonnell
    You don't have to accept any settlement offer. Just draw a line thru the offer and write rejected and date it. I usually look at medical bills and get an estimate of future medicals expenses from a doctor, look at loss of wages and future loss of wages, and then I ask three time that amount unless their insurance policy limit for less and then I request total policy limit.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 1/31/2013
    James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C.
    James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C. | Jim Hasser
    If you gave your lawyer permission to settle for a certain amount of money, there is a good chance you can be held to the settlement. Unless you can prove that there was a misunderstanding or miscommunication as between you and your lawyer, the other side could possibly force the issue with a lawsuit to enforce the agreement. You put your lawyer between a rock and a hard place by giving her authorization to settle for an amount certain and she did. If you decide not to live up to it, she may have to withdraw as your lawyer, which may or may not be good for you for a variety of different reasons. My guess is that you will have a difficult time finding a new one because of the amount of water under the bridge with your old lawyer. My suggestion is that you sit down with your current lawyer and discuss your options as she sees it. You can always seek the second opinion of another lawyer if you don't like what you hear. If you do, look for a lawyer familiar with Alabama accident law.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 1/31/2013
    Durham Jones & Pinegar | Erven Nelson
    Thank goodness you have not signed anything. Don't sign a settlement offer unless you are convinced it is a good idea. You have a few options. First, you could tell your lawyer that you were not serious and want a much better settlement after a full analysis of the defendant's liability for leaving the scene and your injuries, damages, bills, rehabilitation, disability, lost work, future damages, pain, suffering, etc. Or, you can hire a new lawyer to take over who will analyze all of those factors properly. It sounds like you have lost confidence in your current lawyer, so I recommend that you get a new one. The two lawyers can work out how to split the fees.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 1/31/2013
    Adler Law Group, LLC
    Adler Law Group, LLC | Lawrence Adler
    The insurance adjuster's job is to save her company money. She is not there to help you get more money. If you had an attorney he would properly value the claim, get proper medical reports and look after your interests. Don't sign and get a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 1/31/2013
    Pingelton Law Firm | Dan Pingelton
    Don't sign it. Talk to another lawyer. One who will be straight with you and tell you how much she/he thinks the case is worth.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 1/31/2013
    David F. Stoddard
    David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
    An attorney should not accept settlement offers without discussing the offer with the client. A case is not settled until settlement documents are signed. A client can terminate his/her attorney's representation and get another attorney. Normally, this is not a good idea unless you discuss your concerns with the attorney first. Often, when a client switches attorneys, things get worse.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 1/31/2013
    Gregory S. Shurman, LLC
    Gregory S. Shurman, LLC | Gregory S Shurman
    If you agreed to make a settlement offer for a specific amount, and if your attorney makes that offer to the Defendant, and the Defendant accepts that offer, you may be bound by that agreement. If the amount the defendant wants to settle for is not the amount you previously demanded, then you have no obligation to accept their offer.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 1/31/2013
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