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You Want to Settle Your Case. You're Pressuring Your Attorney to Start Negotiating. Is There a Danger to Initiating Settlement Discussions in Your Civil Lawsuit Here in New York?

The short answer is maybe.

Maybe yes.

Maybe no.

Let's say it's a medical malpractice case.

You have a valid case.

A case confirmed by a board certified medical expert.

You know you have a good case.

You really don't want to go to trial.

You tell your lawyer you want to settle as soon as you can.

You expect the defense will bow to your will.

You expect them to immediately throw themselves upon you and give you whatever you ask for.

Little do you know the medical malpractice insurance companies.

They don't roll over for anyone.

Ever.

They'd rather spend $100,000 fighting on behalf of their doctor than settle a case that has no merit.

You think your attorney should open up settlement discussions as soon as your lawsuit is started.

Your attorney says that's a bad idea.

He says it signals weakness.

Also, the defense will NOT begin negotiating at that early stage.

Why?

Because they're at a disadvantage.

They don't have the records they need to evaluate your case.

They don't have your current medical records.

They haven't taken any testimony.

They don't know yet exactly what your claims are.

If your attorney were to start negotiating, he's going to run into a wall.

He'll make a demand.

He'll throw out a number that he thinks your case is worth.

The defense will NOT negotiate at that point.

The defense attorney will tell him that he's not ready to evaluate your case.

The insurance company is not ready to evaluate yet.

Doesn't matter what his opening demand is.

Doesn't matter how badly you want to settle.

Doesn't matter how much you feel you have a valid case.

Now, if your case has generated a lot of publicity like in the Joan Rivers wrongful death case, there's a significant reason why the defense would want to settle early. 

They don't want the ongoing scrutiny and publicity.

However, that type of case with that type of notoriety does not happen often.

Here's another important tip to consider...

If your attorney tries to get settlement negotiations started too early, the defense may see this as a weakness.

They may view your lawyer and your case as weak.

They may look at this attempt to settle and see that your attorney doesn't have the stomach to go to trial.

The defense may see this tactic a simply a quick way to get some money.

In some cases, the defense may see this tactic and take advantage of it.

They might say "Let's negotiate and lowball him. If he's that desperate to settle, maybe we can get rid of this case for pennies on the dollar."

That's one risk of trying to settle your case too early.

To learn more about settlement negotiations, I invite you to watch the quick video below...

 


Gerry Oginski
NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer