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Is It the Right Time to Settle Your Case?

Burdine & Brown Oct. 28, 2019

Everyone has heard that a settlement ends a case. But is it right or said another way, is it the right thing to do at the right time.

Just the other day, I received a letter from Nationwide Insurance Company to settle my client's case for $6,000. My client is in the middle of medical treatment for a low back automobile injury. So, NO, the settlement of her case is not right, at least not now. Certainly not for the amount of $6,000 when her medical treatment cost is well over $12,000 now.

But the bigger picture is when you know in your heart that settlement is not the right thing now. Then to have your lawyer “push you” or persuade you and try to convince you to settle your case, that is worrisome. Your lawyer is your counselor, the person in whom you should have confidence. Yet, too many times I hear folks talk about how their lawyer was persuading them to settle prematurely. The lawyer tells the client “you could lose your case” or “the insurance company will withdraw the settlement offer.”

I listened to a great sermon last Sunday by Andy Stanley. The title was “How not to be your own worst enemy”. Essentially he said that we need to pause, quit selling ourselves on a decision that could be a very bad decision and start listening to the still small voice inside of us because it may be the whispering of God. When there is a tension that deserves your attention, says Andy, it might be a way to avoid a bad decision.

Your lawyer may not be the only source of wisdom when the tension exists. If you have a tension, pay attention which may lead to a better decision.

Your lawyer should be in your corner. Yes, the lawyer needs to be perfectly frank with you, telling you the whole truth. But the lawyer must be looking out for your best interest, not the lawyer's best interests. Quick settlements and undervalued settlements are accepted far too often. Have the courage to speak cordially but firmly with your lawyer about ALL the positives and negatives of your case. And if you cannot have that conversation with your lawyer because he/she is always “in court” or too busy, then you are not getting the full counsel of that lawyer. It is time to move on.