I saw this on another website, but thought it would be good for our readers too:
I hired a work comp firm in Illinois. He had me sign a power of attorney, I hesitated but signed anyway. He said that when the time came this gave him power to take a settlement that was really good, that he could grab a good deal if he couldn’t get a hold of me. I’m having second thoughts about this.  I have a back injury that may or may not prevent me from returning to the work that I was doing. The consequences could be devastating to me if he or someone else at the firm accepted something sub par or simply closed the case because there was too much work involved to get a better settlement. Is this usually how it works or should I be worried?
It’s not usual.  In fact, I’ve never head of a lawyer getting power of attorney that gives them the right to accept any settlement they want to take and I don’t think it is legal.  It’s very unlikely that this lawyer would take $50,000 to end the case if it was really worth something like $300,000 but why even risk it?
What this person needs to do is contact their lawyer and tell them they are revoking the power of attorney.  If he has a problem with it then they should find a new firm to work with too.
These cases are your life and nobody should make a final decision about your life but you.  Our job is to make recommendations to you as to what is best for you, but ultimately you need to decide.
We do ask our client to give us a power of attorney, but what we ask for is much different.  When the case is settled – based on YOU wanting that – and settlement contracts have been processed, typically a check will be mailed to our office for the settlement amount payable to us and you.  We are legally required to deposit this money in to our client trust account and then write you a check for your portion from that account.  Usually our clients will give us a limited power of attorney to endorse their name on the settlement check (not make them take a settlement).  This just allows us to pay you sooner without you having to come in to our office.  If we were to use this for any other purpose we’d lose our law license.
My guess is that this other lawyer got tired of working hard and having clients tell him that he wasn’t doing enough or getting them enough.  So he created a way to get around his obligation by this form.
Bottom line is that if you see your firm doing anything that seems unusual, get a 2nd opinion.  Sometimes it’s actually normal, other times, like this, it’s beyond strange.  Educate yourself and look out for yourself.

By Michael Helfand