My stepson passed away last November in an automobile accident. The insurance companies have sent us checks in excess of 300k. We have a very high profile attorney that has advised us not to cash these checks. He says that cashing them would affect our case and cause the case to need to be tried on a Federal level instead of state. I'm at a loss. We are not suing an individual. We are suing the vehicle's manafacturer for a seat belt failure. We pay for insurance for this reason, please explain to me how and why we should not cash these checks because I really don't understand.
2 Answers from Attorneys
Your attorney is concerned about diversity of jurisdicition. If you sue a person or entity for more than 75K, and they are not a citizen or corporation of your state, the case will go to Federal court. See www.FloridaPersonalInjuryTrialLawyer.com.
Your attorney may be right for 2 reasons. First, if you are accepting money from someone, say the driver of the other vehicle, that is a settlement and you may create a situation where the manufacturer can be successful in pointing the finger at someone who is no longer in the lawsuit. Second, to keep the case in state court you need a defendant who is a resident of the state. As an aside, I think you should sit down with your attorney and discuss the case with him and try to develop a level of confidence in his or her decisions. The two of you are in a business relationship and each needs to trust the other to make it as beneficial as possible. Good luck with your case.