There are some lawyers who will tell you never to admit a weakness. They think that by admitting a weakness, you're giving away secrets the defense would never have learned of and never use to their advantage.

In my opinion, that type of thinking simply does not work.

Experienced defense attorneys go through the same analysis that we do when deciding whether or not this is a case to take to trial and whether it is defensible. They will utilize their experts to come up with their strong points as well as their weaknesses.

When settlement negotiations are taking place, the defense attorneys will always point to our weaknesses in an attempt to get us to reduce the value of our case.

During settlement negotiations, an attorney who represents an injured victim has a number of strategic choices.

  1. He can acknowledge the weakness,
  2. He can ignore it,
  3. He can put his head in the sand and pretend it does not exist,
  4. He can discuss it and workshop it, among other strategies, of course.

The reality is that by admitting a weakness it allows you to move on and discuss those strengths which clearly establish not just the wrongdoing and carelessness but also the strength of your damages.

Settlement negotiations involve straightforward conversations with the defense lawyers.

On a personal note, you gain much more credibility by recognizing and admitting there is a weakness in your case. Your goal is to minimize that weakness and then stress the strong points that obviously support your claim for significant compensation.

When negotiating with the judge in court, you also gain significant credibility by admitting a weakness.

There is absolutely no way to hide weakness during settlement negotiations. If you refuse to acknowledge and recognize that there are some types of weaknesses in your case, you will lose credibility with your adversary and with the court. You cannot ever pretend a weakness does not exist because every case, no matter how strong, has weaknesses.

Many injured victims do not want to hear about weaknesses in their case when you have a heart to heart discussion about the value of their case. Instead, they mostly focus on the wrongdoing that occurred without giving any thought to the possibility that there are weaknesses in the case and strategies that can be used by the defense to minimize the value of what you perceive your case to be worth.


By the way, this specific strategy works very well not just when negotiating a medical malpractice case, an accident case, or even a wrongful death case. This works well when discussing issues with friends, family, coworkers, colleagues, and when disputes arise with our friends and loved ones.

By admitting a fault or weakness, the other side immediately recognizes that you acknowledge there is weakness. Their defenses immediately go down and now they become much more receptive to the likelihood that your case has significant settlement potential and are working in good faith to try and resolve this matter.

The key strategies for learning how to make this work is to accept, recognize and admit a weakness and then focus on your strengths. It makes a huge difference.

Gerry Oginski
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NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer