Let's say you sued two doctors.
For medical malpractice.
You claim they were both careless.
You claim their carelessness caused you harm.
You claim your injuries are permanent.
Both doctors disagree.
They say you're full of it.
They say they did nothing wrong.
They say that if they did something wrong, so did you.
They also say that whatever they did, didn't cause your injury.
They also argue that your injuries aren't that bad.
They fight your case every step of the way.
Through two years of litigation.
Both refuse to settle.
Both refuse to negotiate.
Your attorney prepares your case for trial.
He has no other choice.
A jury will have to decide if you're more likely right than wrong.
Six members of the community will have to decide if you deserve a verdict in your favor.
Six jurors will have to decide if your doctor violated the basic standards of medical care.
Six members of the community will have to decide if their wrongdoing caused your injury.
If the answers to those questions are yes and yes, these six people will have to decide how much money you are to receive.
Let's look at this scenario...
During jury selection one of the doctors whom you sued gives in.
He realizes he runs the risk a jury will find him responsible for your injuries.
He takes a calculated risk.
He decides he's better off to try and settle with you instead of waiting for a jury to decide this case.
He's willing to negotiate and try to get out of this case before it ever goes to a jury.
There's much uncertainty and risk by having a jury decide the issues involved in your case.
He understands there's much sympathy for you even though the judge will tell the jury they're not to consider sympathy in their decision.
He is able to successfully negotiate with your attorney to get out of your case.
You're happy that he settled with you.
However, that leaves the other doctor to deal with at trial.
The jury is not told anything about the settlement with that one doctor.
They are not told why he's no longer in the case.
They are not told how much he settled for.
They are not to concern themselves with why he's no longer in the case.
Trial lasts two weeks.
Two weeks of torture.
You go through the highs and lows of every trial.
Some days you're floating on cloud 9 knowing everything is going your way.
Other days you feel as if the earth has opened up and swallowed you and your case.
You feel like you're sinking.
This up and down emotional high and low is known to occur in every single trial.
It happens on both sides.
You've now reached the end of your trial.
All the witnesses have testified.
All the exhibits have been introduced as evidence.
There is no more testimony to be heard.
It's time for the attorneys to make closing arguments.
That's the time for your lawyer to show the jury why you're entitled to a verdict in your favor.
That's the time for your attorney's passion about your case to shine.
That's the time for your attorney to draw conclusions, or better yet, to let the jury draw their own conclusions that naturally lead to a verdict in your favor.
This is the time to connect the dots and show the jury you are entitled to a verdict in your favor.
"Plaintiff's counsel, you may begin your closing remarks..." the judge says.
Your attorney gets up and begins.
"Ladies and gentlemen, the only reason we're here now is because Dr. Nogoodnick failed to settle this case. He failed to settle before trial just like Dr. Doolittle did. At least Doolittle realized he had no chance by taking this case to verdict and settled out with us. But no. Not Dr. Nogoodnick. He wanted to take a risk and have you decide this case..."
This argument will get an immediate objection from Nogoodnick's trial attorney.
"OBJECTION JUDGE! THAT'S IMPROPER! Plaintiff's counsel cannot say that. I demand an immediate mistrial!" the defense lawyer yells.
At this point, the attorneys and the court have invested weeks into this case.
The trial judge will probably deny this request, knowing full well that this issue will be immediately appealed if Dr. Nogoodnick loses his trial.
Because it's legally inappropriate for your attorney to mention that Dr. Doolittle settled out.
It's legallly inappropriate for your lawyer to argue that the only reason the trial is till going on is because Dr. Nogoodnick hasn't settled this case.
The reality is that Nogoodnick has no legal obligation to settle at any point.
That's a tactical decision that can be made at any time.
Whether he chooses to settle or not is not an appropriate argument to make during closing arguments at your trial.
If your attorney does make that mistake, he has just guaranteed an immediate appeal if Nogoodnick loses.