What Is A Conflict Waiver?
If your case presents your attorney with a conflict of interest, most common when you are a passenger in a multi-car accident, there are two options to
address the conflict: Either (1) you or your attorney can find another firm to take over your case or (2) you can sign what is known as a conflict waiver, essentially giving up the right to seek recovery from the driver of the vehicle you were traveling in and seek recovery instead from only the driver of the other vehicle. While it may seem counterintuitive to voluntary waive a right, there may be compelling reasons to do so. The attorney-client relationship is one of total trust and confidence. If you do not want to change attorneys, it may be worth it to you to sign a conflict waiver. Depending on the facts and circumstances of your case, there may be little to gain by switching attorneys, such as where the driver of the vehicle in which you were a passenger is unlikely to bear much responsibility under the principle of comparative negligence. For example, suppose you are the passenger in your friend’s vehicle when it is struck in the middle of an intersection by another vehicle which ran a red light. While the driver of the other vehicle may bear, for example, 95% of the fault for the accident, you technically have a claim for the other 5% against your friend if, say, your friend failed to swerve quickly enough. It is not unreasonable in that example, particularly if you like and trust your current attorney, to waive your right to recover for your friend’s 5% negligence and proceed solely against the other driver. Lastly, you may have a moral problem with bringing a claim against your friend. Though a defendant’s personal assets are very rarely at risk, you may decide that you don’t feel right recovering money damages from your friend’s insurance. Whatever you decide, it is your attorney’s job to guide you through your options and help you make a fully-informed decision.