Q: I thinkmy lawyer cheated me out of a large portion of a malpractice settlement. He did not have me endorse the check .
He did not deposit the check into a trust account but into his law firms account. And the check he wrote me came from from his law firm account.
He would not allow me to be on the conference call during settlement negotiations . I think had a fake mediator.
A: All of those points are suspicious for potential lawyer misconduct. While there are portions of settlement conferences where a client may not attend, a case cannot be settled without a client's express consent. The client should be provided with a written breakdown showing the settlement amount, the amount of attorney fees and costs and the net amount to the client. The settlement check to the client must come from the attorney's trust account.
A: It's not uncommon for attorneys to conduct settlement conferences without the client present. They could include the client if there is still contention about certain facts or testimony. But by the time a settlement conference rolls around, it's largely a discussion of medical findings and percentages of disabilities. Checks can be deposited without client indorsement - it depends on how the carrier wrote the payee portion of the check. Good luck
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