The defense has decided it's time to make a settlement offer. They recognize that they bear responsibility for your injuries. They make an offer. The offer is insulting. The offer is inappropriate. The offer is something I would never recommend that you accept.

Nevertheless, I am obligated to discuss the offer with you. I'm obligated to have a conversation with you letting you know that the defense has made an offer to settle.

You should note that any time a settlement offer is made, I will discuss it with you. I will also give you my best recommendation as to whether I believe you should accept the offer or reject the offer. I will discuss with you the risks, benefits and alternatives to such a settlement offer.

You may have many options on the table. There may be a deadline associated with the settlement offer. There may be conditions that go along with a settlement offer. All of these need to be discussed.

My goal, as your attorney is to provide you with the best legal advice about your options once a settlement offer is made.

There may be an instance like this one where I turn around and tell you you should not accept a settlement offer. It may be extremely low. It may have conditions associated with it that are unacceptable. It may be the first offer you receive.

There are many reasons why a settlement offer would be ill advised to accept.

On the other hand, you are the client. This is your case. You are the one in control. You are the one to make the ultimate decision about whether to accept or reject any settlement offer. You however have an obligation to listen to my best legal advice and my recommendations before coming to a conclusion about whether to accept or reject this offer.

If, despite my best recommendation not to accept a settlement offer, you still decide it is in your best interests to take this offer, I will tell you you are doing so against my best legal advice. I will likely send you a confirming letter simply identifying the fact that this settlement offer is, in my legal opinion, inappropriate. You might think this is a cover your ass letter and you're partially right. If you choose to accept a lowball settlement offer despite my efforts to dissuade you from doing so, I want to make sure that you do not come back months or years later and blame me for the fact that you chose to voluntarily take a settlement offer that I felt was inappropriate.

You may have specific valid reasons for wanting to accept the offer at this time. You might be in desperate need of money. There may be other significant reasons for you to take the offer.

My goal, as your trusted advisor and legal counsel is to give you the best possible recommendation that I can. Ultimately, you are the one who's going to make the decision about whether to accept or reject a settlement offer.

Gerry Oginski
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NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer