One question that some people ask me just when they’re hiring me is, “Can you settle my case without my consent?” The answer to this question is simply no, an attorney cannot settle your case without your consent.
A lawyer is not allowed to settle your case without your consent as it would be an ethical violation. It is up to you whether or not to settle your case or go to trial, not up to your lawyer. In fact, according to the California state bar “An attorney who has not been specifically authorized by a client to settle a claim has no implied or apparent authority to bind a client to any settlement.”
Even if the amount is what you were expecting you are required to be advised of all the details of the settlement. In some of these cases, the insurance company may reach out to you directly and try to send a check. In this case, you should advise them that you did not consent to this decision.
If your lawyer settled your case without your direct consent, you may consider reporting him or her to the state bar organization.
How Does GJEL Settle a Case?
What happens at GJEL is, when we get a case to the point that we have a good sense of what it’s worth, we bring the client in, we confer with them, we tell them what we think the trial value is, and then we start negotiating. When we get our last and best offer we communicate it to the client with a recommendation. Sometimes the recommendation is to turn down the offer and go to trial.
Sometimes the recommendation is to take the offer, and it just depends on what the offer is and if we think it’s in our client’s interest. But I always tell my clients that just because I make a recommendation doesn’t mean the client has to take it.
We cheerfully do whatever the client wants to do. A recommendation is just that, a recommendation.
I’d say ninety percent of the people follow our recommendation, but for the ten percent who don’t, that’s their right, and we just respectfully go ahead and pursue it the way the client wants to.