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There are plenty of reasons why someone else can, and should, represent you in a lawsuit, and it’s always best to get a lawyer’s advice before making such an important decision. Other than a class action lawsuit (where you could be one of many people represented on behalf of a law firm), there are times when you need a friend, family member or trusted advisor to open a lawsuit on your behalf.
According to the American Bar Association, Power of Attorney (POA) allows one or more people to act as an “agent” (also referred to as “attorney-in-fact”) on your behalf. This can be done by applying in writing to the agency in your state who can legally grant POA. In the State of California, for example, residents apply for POA through the Franchise Tax Board. However, the answer to, “Can I sue on behalf of someone else?” is complicated and the legal authority of someone with POA can vary from state to state.
To learn more about how POA works in your state, and to review the most common legal questions for other cases, contact a respected law firm like Avrek Law — they even offer potential clients a free injury lawyer consultation.
What Does it Mean to Give Power of Attorney to Someone?
Giving someone POA over you requires a lot of trust, but the intent is also to protect you. You can apply it in such a way as to limit someone’s power over you, and add clauses where it only becomes actionable if you are unable to make sound decisions on your own. That’s why it’s best to plan your POA in advance and long before you actually need one.
There are different kinds of POA, and they can last for a fixed amount of time or be permanent (referred to as a durable POA). No matter what kind of POA you choose, the person you do select will have a legal fiduciary responsibility to look after your best interests. If they don’t, you can sue your POA for violating this trust. Before this happens, however, you always have the choice of switching power of attorney by submitting the request in writing to the state.
What Are the Different Types of Power of Attorney?
General POA means a person can represent you to:
- View and sign confidential account information from organizations like the IRS
- Remove other POAs
- File and approve legal settlements
- Waive the statute of limitations on your case
- End the POA agreement
Can you have more than one POA? According to the Superior Court of Orange County, you can prescribe multiple people as decision makers and have alternates to fill-in if your first choice of POA is unavailable.
There is also the option to select a limited or special POA. These allow you to have multiple people represent you for specific purposes. You can assign certain people with limited powers to represent you for a specific legal matter or transaction (i.e., buying or selling a house). Think of it like an à la carte menu where instead of the full-meal deal (like the general POA), you pick and choose exactly how and when you want someone else to represent you.
In the case of a special POA, you can have someone else represent you for a specific situation or decision. For example, if you’re in a car accident and suffering from a head injury that makes it hard to focus and concentrate for long periods of time, you can assign a POA to help you specifically with only your medical insurance. If you need to escalate the insurance claim to include a lawsuit, you have the option of using that same POA, or identifying a new one, to represent you in court. In California, for example, you can even submit an Advanced Health Care Directive Form allowing others to make health-related decisions for you, including organ donation and even changing your primary physician.
Before completing any type of POA, it’s important to have a lawyer review your application form as it is a complex process that will give other people a lot of power to act on your behalf.
How Can I Plan My Power of Attorney in Advance?
Before filing for POA in your state, take the time to meet with an experienced lawyer to discuss which options will work best for your case. Working with a no win no fee car accident lawyers in advance of selecting someone to represent you could save you financial and mental stress. Too often, people will try to assign a POA after a major car accident or serious injury. That’s why it’s better to be proactive and find out the answers to questions like, “Can I sue on behalf of someone else?”
Avrek Law has more than 50 years of combined experience representing cases in several states and are experts in helping people establish a POA that’s right for them. The consultation is free and you’ll get advice from a law firm with more than $1 billion recovered in more than 45,000 cases. View one of our locations or contact us for a free consultation.