Q: Lawyer never filed suits and statute of limitations have expired and is offering $15,000 check seems hush money
My mom had a lawyer who was a friend of her friends, she hired him to file a few suits pertaining to personal injury and malpractice. He never filed the suits and now offered her a check for $15,000 along with a letter stating if she cashes the check it releases him from the fault of not processing the suits for her. The suits were in total worth hundreds of thousands potentially
The suits have since passed their statute of limitations because of his neglect
She also has proof he discussed her case with other people
Should she pursue suing him or cash the check
A: Based on what you have said $15K seems like a drop in the bucket on what you could get for the attorney missing the statute of limitations deadline. I suggest hiring a lawyer to try to either: 1) sue him for his malpractice or 2) hire a lawyer to try to negotiate a higher settlement as $15K seems like he is getting away with pennies on the dollar. Most of us lawyers offer a free consultation to discuss what can be done, I suggest that you set one up.
#1, it is unethical for a lawyer who blows a statute to try to settle with you without you being informed of your right to counsel and you obtaining an attorney. I strongly urge you not to accept any offer and cash the attorney's check without speaking with a personal injury lawyer who is Certified by the New Jersey Supreme Court as a Civil Trial Lawyer.
#2, the attorney that you consult will want a complete history of the cases and the damages suffered by the injured parties.
#3, there is a 6-year statute of limitations on legal malpractice claims, which starts from the date of the negligent act by the attorney.
#4, I hope that this attorney has legal malpractice insurance.
Law Offices Siegel & Siegel, P.C.
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