It’s hard to anticipate every potential attorney/client conflict. Plaintiffs often have different ideas and expectations about what will happen during their case. They might be surprised to find out that litigation can take years, or that certain pieces of crucial evidence can be excluded at trial. They might assume that their case is open-and-shut, and they cannot possibly lose—only to find that an insurance company, judge, jury and their lawyer disagree.
Settlements can spark attorney/client conflicts, too. Sometimes a lawyer believes that a settlement is the best course of action, while the client is adamantly against the idea. What can you do if your lawyer strongly suggests settling? Should you accept their advice or insist on letting a jury decide?
Who Decides Whether to Settle?
Lawyers work on their client’s behalf. They have an agent/principal relationship. Ultimately, the client makes major decisions, such as whether to accept a settlement offer or move toward trial.
If your attorney suggests that you accept a settlement offer, don’t reject it without giving it some serious thought. Ask your attorney why they feel it’s a reasonable deal, whether you could do better and why. Although you’re the principal in this working relationship, your lawyer has the benefit of specialized training, and years of experience with similar cases.
After considering the advice, you may still wish to reject the settlement offer. You are always free to do so—but make sure you understand the potential consequences.
Why Would an Attorney Suggest a Client Settle?
There are many reasons you might be better off accepting a settlement offer. Some common reasons include:
- Your case is too weak for trial: Sometimes the cost of going to trial far outweighs the benefits you stand to gain. Litigation is costly and time-consuming. If you’re unlikely to receive enough compensation to pay for your damages and attorneys’ contingency fees, even a low settlement offer is better.
- You aren’t a sympathetic plaintiff: Juries can be quite harsh when evaluating plaintiffs, even when their cases are rock-solid. If your lawyer believes that you wouldn’t appear sympathetic to a jury of your peers, settling may be prudent.
- The settlement is more than you’d get at trial: Sometimes an insurance company or defendant settlement offer is so generous that it far exceeds what a jury is likely to award. In that case, it’s smart to take the deal.
Remember, you’re always entitled to get a second opinion. If you feel pressured to settle, it’s worth finding out if other experienced lawyers agree.
Talk to an Ohio Personal Injury Lawyer Today
When you’re injured in an accident, I’ll Make Them Pay!® Let’s work together to get the best compensation possible. If you don’t want to settle, we’ll discuss your options and find out what’s right for you. Call me today at 877.944.4373 for a consultation.