California Law: Your Lawyer Needs Your Approval to Settle Your Case (GJEL Accident Attorneys)

  • Client Makes Final Decision: You Control Settlement, Not Your Attorney.
  • Ethical Obligation: Transparent Communication & Respecting Your Wishes (GJEL Protects Your Rights).

Read the full article for a California personal injury attorney’s in-depth explanation of the client’s role in settlement decisions. Learn how GJEL Accident Attorneys prioritizes clear communication and works collaboratively with you to achieve your desired outcome.

No, an attorney cannot settle your case without your consent.

It’s an ethical violation if your attorney settles 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 We Maximize Personal Injury Settlements

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.

Insights on Legal Representation and Settlement Consent

Understanding the dynamics of client-lawyer interactions and the specifics of case settlements is crucial. Here’s a compilation of articles offering valuable perspectives:

  • Choosing Your Legal Partner Wisely – Highlights the importance of asking the right questions before hiring a personal injury lawyer, ensuring clarity on case handling and settlement authority.
  • Navigating Lawyer Fees and Rights – Discusses how contingency fees work and what rights you have, shedding light on the financial aspects of legal representation.
  • Timing Matters in Legal Actions – Explains the statute of limitations in California personal injury cases, a crucial factor that impacts the timeline and settlement of your case.
  • Ethical Boundaries in Personal Injury Law – Offers insights into the ethical considerations lawyers must adhere to, including respect for client consent in settlements.
  • Tax Implications on Settlements Demystified – Provides an overview of how personal injury settlements are treated tax-wise in California, adding a financial perspective to your settlement decisions.
  • Understanding Different Case Types – Breaks down the various types of personal injury cases, helping you understand where your case fits and how consent for settlement might vary.
  • The Power of Evidence in Your Case – Highlights the critical role of gathering and presenting evidence, a process that requires close collaboration between lawyer and client.
  • Setting Expectations for Your Lawsuit – Outlines what clients should anticipate during the lawsuit process, including discussions on settlement agreements and consent.
  • Strategies for Settlement Negotiations – Offers advice on negotiating personal injury settlements, emphasizing the importance of client involvement and approval.
  • Leveraging Expert Opinions – Details how expert witnesses can influence your case, a decision that should be made with full client awareness and consent.

Written by Andy Gillin. Last Updated 04/15/2024