When Your Client Lies

By Drew Smith

March 2015 Vol.1 Article 3

As a customer looking for insurance, you want to find the right coverage for the best possible price. You fill out your application, send it to the agency, and you wait for the company for to send you the quote. Applications must contain complete, accurate, and truthful information. Many claims are denied because of misinformation in an insurance application.

When it’s a client deceiving their attorney then it gets a bit complicated. As a general rule, the attorney takes what the client says as the truth. A case in Illinois in 2008, the client became the executor of a family estate because he told his attorney he was the sole benefactor of it claiming he was the sole surviving heir. When it came to light there were others, the attorney should have either refiled the affidavit or removed himself from the case. Instead, he went forward and used the false statements to get his client the money he fraudulently acquired. The consequences were that the attorney was disbarred for several months and his reputation was ruined.

There are two sides to how to deal with a client who provides false information. One side is confidentiality; attorneys are in the same category as doctors when it comes to their client’s privacy in that they have to maintain confidentiality. Should an attorney remain on a case despite knowing that the client has perjured themselves? The other, ethical option is for the attorney to immediately remove themselves from the case, which means violating your client’s right to privacy because you have to disclose the reason for leaving the case. So the question becomes, what does an attorney do when he loses either way?1

In short, there is no real answer. Attorneys are paid to defend their clients. If the attorney finds out that he has been lied to, he is in a no win situation for himself or his client. This is why before you move forward with a case, all information needs to be up front and in order. Otherwise more legal repercussions can occur.

The advice in this article is not to be taken as legal advice. Consult with your attorney before implementing any procedures.

1https://www.myazbar.org/AZAttorney/Archives/Aug-Sept98/89-98a1.htm-

About Axis Insurance Services, LLC

Axis Insurance Services, LLC (AIS) is a licensed professional liability insurance broker located in Franklin Lakes, NJ with agents licensed nationwide. They offer access to high-quality insurance products in the areas of Errors and Omissions insurance (E&O), Directors and Officers liability insurance (D&O), Crime, Fiduciary, and Privacy/Network security coverage for today’s professional service firms. AIS works with all company types including commercial real estate firms, real estate agents and brokers, property managers, insurance agents, medical groups, practice managers, third party administrators, lawyers, accountants, architects, engineers and many others.

Axis Insurance Services Inc., is not affiliated with Axis Insurance Company or its subsidiaries or affiliates in any way

For more information visit www.axisins.com or contact:
Mike Smith President
Axis Insurance Services
201-847-9175 ext. 105
msmith@axisins.com

Please note that the above information does not constitute any legal advice. You should consult your attorney prior to implementing any employment related policies and procedures for your company.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *