Settlements can be Tricky

Even lawyers that have mastered Indianapolis law can make rookie mistakes. Lawyers in any state can make costly mistakes that cost the client millions of dollars. This was what happened in a personal injury case that took place late in April of 2012 in the state of California. The lawyer made a settlement for the client without the authority or permission from the client and cost the victim and the family more than $8 million and almost a mistrial as well.

 

A Disaster

The client is mentally and developmentally disabled after falling out of an ambulance. After a quick deliberation by the jury, the plaintiffs’ lawyer mistakenly assumed this meant a decision on behalf of the defendant and quickly tried to reach a settlement that ended up being less than $400,000. Within minutes this lawyer learned the jury had decided for the plaintiff for a sum of $9 million, the lawyer quickly tried to nullify the previous settlement leading to immediate chaos in the courtroom. This almost lead to a mistrial and has sullied the lawyer’s reputation for some time most likely.

 

The Best Intensions

Even though the lawyer had the best interests for the client in mind, he had made the honest mistake of making decisions without the authority from the victim or his family. These types of mistakes are not necessarily uncommon considering the vast amount of personal injury cases that are filed throughout the different states each month. In order to avoid these types of catastrophes, it is almost always important have clear and decisive open communications between the clients and the lawyers.

 

Clients should never be dissuaded or hesitant to communicate their desires or beliefs with their own counsel, if the client feels like decisions are being made without their authority they should always be aggressive and assertive in speaking up for themselves. These mistakes cannot always be avoided but by establishing a solid relationship of open communication before trial, the likelihood is significantly less.