My attorney appears to have a very friendly relationship with the attorney representing the defendant's insurance company (and I gather the insurance company in general). While I think this can be beneficial, I also have concerns that it may not necessarily be in my best interest in the long term. I suspect that my attorney may be more inclined to push me to accept an early settlement rather than take the case to trial, even if the offer is low. I understand that both parties take a calculated risk whenever a case goes to trial, but if the genuine willingness to go to trial (if necessary to achieve a fair settlement) isn't there (and the defendant knows this), well, you get the idea. We've only done a few depositions so far, and are (realistically) at least 1-2 years away from a trial date, but the opposing attorney is already asking for a settlement demand, and I fully expect that my attorney is going to apply pressure to get me to consider a low ball offer.So my questions are: Am I wrong in thinking that the possibly' incestuous' relationship between attorneys may not be a good thing in the long run? How do I best approach the upcoming settlement demand conversation with my attorney, knowing that we will almost certainly not be on the same page?
Hi,My name is XXXXX XXXXX X'd be happy to answer your questions today. We have recently implemented a new rating and feedback system. Please be aware that you are rating my courtesy and service as a professional, and not necessarily whether you like the information that you are receiving. If you have any questions whatsoever, or there is anything I can clarify for you, please temporarily bypass the rating system by clicking “Continue the Conversation” or "Reply" Clicking either of the lowest two options reflects poorly on me (and not whether the law favored your situation), so please reply to me if there is anything else I can do to help before choosing those options. I appreciate your patience while we work out the kinks.1. Not necessarily. It is extremely common for attorneys who are perfectly genial and friendly outside of court to walk into court and tear each other to pieces. I've seen it happen. I've been on both ends of it. I once worked in an office with a DA who was married to someone from the public defender's office. Many attorneys understand that, while it's important to represent your client vigorously, that doesn't mean you can't at least be pleasant to opposing counsel outside the courtroom. There's a big difference between chatting outside the courtroom or discussing the Red Sox and going out for drinks every night. So, keep that in mind. Your lawyer has an ethical obligation to withdraw if he feels that he really can't represent you adequately in a given case. If you're really worried, ask him about it. But the simple fact that the attorneys appear to get along well doesn't necessarily have any impact on your case.2. Keep in mind that you are ultimately in charge of the case. Your attorney cannot settle without your consent. Before you go into the conversation, think long and hard about what you ultimately want to get out of the case. Keep in mind that you may have to repay your health insurance for any amounts you received to cover initial treatment. That's important, because you want something left over after you pay them and your lawyer. If you know the conversation is coming, you may want to ask your lawyer to do some research to show you jury verdicts and settlements from cases with similar injuries. That will help you get an idea of what you may be able to ask for, and you can take it over with your lawyer before the other side makes an offer.If you have any questions at all about what I've written, please click "continue conversation" or reply so that I may address them. It's important to me that you are 100% satisfied with the service I have provided you. Thank you.
I'm aware that attorneys can make nice with each other and still go for jugular in court. My attorney told me they have a friendly history (which is fine), but they were giggling at times during depositions, which struck a bad chord with me on a number of levels. I take some solace in knowing that my attorney has an incentive to get me the best settlement or judgment possible because the more I get, the more they take.
I realize that my insurance company will subrogate to recoup monies paid for medical bills out of any settlement I receive. Since I sustained a serious injury, and the defendant is 100% responsible, I'm looking for substantial compensation, not a quickie 'nuisance' settlement. I know that the decision to accept or decline any offer rests with me, but I could still use some words of wisdom regarding how to best handle the money conversation with my attorney
I think your suggestion about asking him to provide me with jury/settlement info for similar injuries is a good one. I was going to show him MY research, since he may hand-pick cases with lower verdict amounts. Is that a bad idea?
By the way: If my attorney and I end up locking horns over what's a reasonable settlement and I have to find another attorney, what kind of 'lien' (if any) can my present attorney levy against any monies I collect with a new attorney? I'm guessing he may be entitled to his out of pocket expenses, but would he negotiate a percentage deal of some kind with the new attorney, or is he just out of luck?
I really do understand your concerns. But I have sat and giggled with opposing counsel and then filed motions against them and argued against them in court. There's a big difference between "friendly history" and "actual friends".There's nothing wrong with showing the lawyer your own research, although you may want to see what he presents you with first. There really isn't one way to handle this type of conversation, especially when I don't know the personality types involved. Go into the meeting with a good idea of the type of settlement you want. See what the initial offer is (which I expect to be insultingly low, as most first offers are). See what your lawyer says about the offer. If he seems like he's pressuring you, you can ask him how long you have to consider it (if you'd prefer to send an email or something else to reject the offer firmly without the confrontation). Otherwise, just stand your ground. The most important thing really is to keep in mind that he can't make you settle. And, if he's really pushing you to take an offer that you absolutely don't want to accept, make him articulate why. It is possible that he'd have a reason related to proving the case or what he thinks a jury would award you. I would be surprised, though, if he put a lot of pressure on you with a first offer, because most lawyers automatically state that those will be denied.Another option is to talk to him before that, get an idea of how much you want to settle for, and send an email saying, "If you get an offer for below $X, just reject it upfront." ($X being less than the amount you're willing to settle for). That's based on facts I don't have, but it lets the attorney know upfront that you've thought about this and you have an idea of what your case is worth.If you wind up getting another attorney, your lawyer would be entitled to a percentage of your recovery based on the amount of work he did. But it's not a situation where your new lawyer would get 33% and the old lawyer would get 10%. It's a situation where the old lawyer and the new lawyer split the 33%, based on their own negotiations, or based on what a judge thinks is fair.
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