What is a Limited Power of Attorney?

A Limited Power of Attorney (LPOA)

Just as different knives have special purposes, a limited Power of Attorney has the special purpose of enabling counsel to negotiate with the insurance company in good faith and a clear understanding of the minimum settlement authority to compromise the claim on behalf of their injured client

A lawyer who has been given a limited Power of Attorney, also known as an attorney-in-fact, is given precise, limited legal ability to act on behalf of the client in certain circumstances. At ABRAMS LANDAU, we use LIMITED Powers of Attorney to be able to negotiate with insurance companies and defense lawyers in good faith, because it gives us “Sum Certain” authority. In other words, we KNOW what our “marching orders” are, and above which amount we need to be in order to get our clients the results that they want to achieve for their cases.  We are unafraid of having the sometimes hard talk with clients about what the realistic value of their case may be, well before their all-important day in court.

There are instances when a client has an unrealistic view of the value of their case or the speed at which it should be concluded. In other cases, the client may have liens (legal “IOUs” on their case), for unpaid medical bills, experts’ fees or insurance subrogation (payback) amounts. The signing of a LIMITED Power of Attorney (“lPOA”) does NOT give Franklin Farms Injury Attorney Doug Landau legal rights to a client’s kidneys or kids. A lPOA grants Lawyer Landau limited authority to manage financial matters so that the client does not have to go back and forth in the negotiation process, or be bothered with notifications of offers well below the lPOA “basement” amount.

What does this mean?

In order to handle negotiations and settlement discussions, an lPOA provides Doug Landau and his team to speak with the worker’s compensation insurance provider, car accident carrier, or other liability insurance company on behalf of their injured client. In Mediations, Landau can put the lPOA in an envelope for the judge to open at the end of the case (if this form of Alternate Dispute Resolution is successful), and he can truthfully represent to the decision-maker, that he has “sum-certain, written authority.” This is something that the other side often does not have and will not disclose. The client will not always need to appear in settlement negotiations, or the latter stages of Mediation, because Landau will have the numbers he discussed with the client in advance. Lawyer Landau can negotiate in good faith with the employer or insurance provider, to reach a settlement for the injured victim or their family, in the case of fatal injury cases.

Why don’t all lawyers do it?

Just like this specialty boat that cuts the weeds that can harm a fresh water lake, a limited Power of Attorney has the special function of reducing stress and anxiety in personal injury cases. By having the hard talk about the value of the case well BEFORE settlement negotiations, Mediation, a Workers Comp Hearing or Trial, counsel and client can be more focused on their preparations for court.

Other lawyers and law firms do not use the Limited Power of Attorney, because: it takes too much time, they are afraid of the hard conversations, or they simply have no idea what cases are worth. Other times, law firms are unable to walk away from a case where the client has unrealistic expectations. Sometimes a client may expect a $4 million deal for a broken finger when Virginia law does not call for that level of reimbursement. These tough conversations may cause the attorney and client to part ways. It’ is crucial for the client to understand what losses and harms CAN be claimed, and what types of damages are not covered by the applicable laws. At ABRAMS LANDAU, the trial team will frequently give the clients a copy of the jury instruction that lists what elements of damages can be claimed, so that they know early on in the case what can be covered, and what is not allowed under the law.  Likewise, in Workers Compensation claims,  Landau will explain that the injured client’s: physical pain, lost raises & bonuses, lifetime wages, inconvenience, emotional distress and disruption of their family are not elements of a Virginia Workers Comp case.

If you or someone you know have been in an accident, sustained a permanent injury in a workplace event or have a personal injury claim, and have any questions about the applicable laws, please contact us at 703–796–9055, or email frontdesk@landaulawshop.com.