Discovered in 2008, for at least 3 years, attorney Stephen Conrad, in Prince William County, Virginia, settled at least 250 auto accident and worker’s compensation cases for his clients, mostly Hispanics, who “trusted” him.  He settled the cases without their permission, got the checks, forged their names, and deposited the money, calculated to be in excess of $4 Million into his own accounts. Hundreds of clients later found out their medical bills were not paid, and that there was no money for them to reimburse lost wages or to compensate them for their suffering from the accidents. To make matters worse, the cheated clients had no claims against the drivers because the Statute of Limitations barred their claims. To make matters even more worse, if there is such an expression, there was no claim against Conrad, because he committed a crime, stealing, and his malpractice insurance, correctly, like all such insurance policies, only covers negligence. Conrad was obviously disbarred and is now in jail on an 11 year Federal sentence.

Morale of this story: Check with your attorney regularly, insist on knowing when “settlement” is being considered, ask the attorney to explain the settlement proposal, and insist on seeing the settlement check when and if settlement is reached. Once the settlement check is signed it should routinely be deposited the same or the next day. Your bills should be paid within a week or so, and you should get your money at about the same time. If all of this doesn’t happen and your lawyer can’t give you a satisfactory explanation as to why not, consult the Bar Association.

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