Settlement Talks – Prepare to Be Insulted

Transcript: Hi, I’m Indiana personal injury attorney David Holub. When it’s time to start talking settlement about your case, you also have to be prepared to be insulted. I don’t think I’ve ever had a first offer in a case that was not insulting. Sometimes a client will get mad at his or her attorney when that attorney tells them about an offer that is low. That shouldn’t happen because the attorney is obligated under the law and ethical rules to tell you or to tell the client about every offer — whether it is small or large. So the attorney is only reporting what is required. Attorneys also have to give their opinions as to whether they think the offer has merit or the offer is out of line. Low offers and high demands are just ways that the parties communicate, or what you might call telegraph, to each other what they think about the value of a particular claim. So don’t worry about the first offers. The second and third offers are the ones that are more important because those offers are reflective of what the parties really think about the value of the case compared to going to trial, and it will give you a better determination as to whether you have an offer that should be accepted. Keep in mind, either party can change their settlement posture at any time before the case is decided by the jury. One of the things that we do when we present offers is we talk about the risks and benefits of accepting an offer versus risks and benefits of going to trial, and we try to document this either in writing or we ask if we can record our conversation so that everybody is on the same page about the decision that is ultimately being made about the particular offer. We hope this information has been helpful and useful. Direct others to our website if you find that it has been a help to you and, please, if you have questions, give us a call.