I have a car accident case but am in desperate need of money right now. Can I borrow money from my attorney and pay her back out of the settlement I know I am going to receive?
It is not uncommon for people who have been injured to have financial difficulties, but in Tennessee it is unethical for an attorney to loan you money while he or she is representing you in a case. This is true even if the attorney does not charge interest. (It is appropriate for the attorney to advance money for case-related expenses to help prepare your case.)
Rumor has it that some attorneys will promise potential clients that they will help them with living expenses and that some attorneys actually do it. However, this is wrong, and an attorney who promises to do so or actually does so should be reported to the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility at 800.486.5714. Loaning or giving money to clients or potential clients can result in discipline against the attorney, including the loss of his or her law license.
There are certain things that an experienced Tennessee automobile accident attorney can ethically do to help you when you are experiencing financial difficulties. For instance, some health care providers will stop bill collection efforts if you will promise (in writing) that they will get paid out of any settlement.