Failing to Inform Clients of Settlement Offers

Legal Malpractice

Trust is the foundation of the attorney-client relationship. You hire a lawyer to not only understand the law but also to competently advocate on your behalf. Yet, what happens when that trust is broken by an attorney’s negligence? If you feel your attorney has made significant errors that cost you money or opportunity, you could potentially have a legal malpractice claim. One such form of negligence is failing to inform clients about settlement offers.

Ethical Duties of an Attorney

Attorneys uphold several fundamental ethical duties towards their clients. These duties form the core principles of the attorney-client relationship and ensure clients receive fair and competent representation. Here’s a deeper look into those that pertain to communication and settlement offers:

Duty of Communication

Lawyers must communicate with their clients in a clear, regular, and timely manner. This encompasses several aspects:

1. Case Updates: Attorneys should keep clients informed of all significant developments in the case, such as court dates, new filings, or legal strategies.

2. Explaining Processes: Lawyers have a duty to explain legal processes and concepts understandable by the client, ensuring they make informed decisions about their case.

3. Responding to Inquiries: Attorneys should respond to client inquiries and concerns within a reasonable timeframe.

Duty to Inform on Settlement Offers

Attorneys are ethically obligated to inform clients of all settlement offers, regardless if the lawyer personally believes they are insufficient or unreasonable. Failing to do so is a serious breach of professional responsibility.

Authority to Settle Rests with the Client

The decision to accept or reject a settlement offer ultimately falls upon the client. While attorneys may provide guidance or recommendations, they cannot make this decision without the client’s express consent. Pressuring a client into a settlement, or rejecting a settlement without informing the client, violates the attorney’s ethical and fiduciary duties.

By adhering to these ethical duties, attorneys foster trust, transparency, and respect within the attorney-client relationship. Conversely, when these duties are breached, it undermines the very foundation of legal representation.

5 Consequences of Withholding Settlement Offers

When an attorney fails to disclose a settlement agreement, the consequences can be far-reaching and have lasting effects on the client’s financial, emotional, and legal well-being:

1. Loss of a Favourable Settlement: The client may never know the full extent of their options. They might miss out on a settlement that would’ve been financially beneficial, saving time and stress in the process. Even if the initial offer was low, it could have been the basis for negotiation.

2. Prolonging Litigation: Without access to all the information, the client might unwittingly continue pursuing a case in court. This leads to prolonged legal battles, mounting expenses, and further delays in resolving the matter.

3. Additional Damages: The negligence stemming from nondisclosure can compound existing damages. Lost wages, increased expert fees, and court costs could accumulate rapidly while the client remains unaware of potential resolution paths.

4. Emotional Distress: Lawsuits are often emotionally draining. The added uncertainty and anxiety caused by an attorney’s lack of transparency can exacerbate feelings of stress, frustration, and a sense of betrayal.

5. Loss of Trust in the Legal System: This type of malpractice can undermine public trust in attorneys and the legal process. These feelings may linger long after the specific case is resolved.

Holding Attorneys Accountable

If you believe your attorney’s negligence caused you harm, you have the right to pursue a legal malpractice claim. These cases are complex, requiring you to prove that an attorney-client relationship existed, your attorney breached their duty of care, their negligence directly caused you harm, and that you suffered quantifiable losses.

Calculating damages in a malpractice claim can be intricate, potentially including compensation for a lost settlement, prolonged legal expenses, and emotional distress. Texas, like many states, has a statute of limitations on legal malpractice lawsuits, making it critical to consult a legal malpractice attorney promptly to protect your rights.

Legal malpractice cases often require you to prove the merits of the underlying case, in addition to demonstrating how your attorney’s actions fell below professional standards. Experienced legal malpractice lawyers have the knowledge to build a strong case, understand the relevant statutes of limitations, and fight for the compensation you deserve.

They can help you navigate the complexities of holding an attorney accountable for their negligence. If you suspect legal malpractice, seeking guidance from a qualified legal malpractice lawyer in Texas can help you pursue justice and obtain the compensation you are entitled to.

Seeking Justice After a Breach of Trust: Legal Malpractice

The relationship between an attorney and client is built on trust and communication. When that trust is eroded by negligence, such as failing to inform clients about settlement offers, it can lead to significant losses. If your legal rights have been compromised due to this form of legal malpractice, do not hesitate to seek justice. Contact The Kassab Law Firm today for a consultation to discuss the specific details of your case.