Years after our case with Nationwide was settle it was brought to my attention again the reasoning behind some of Nationwide’s tactics. Namely the very aggressive attempts to settle the case in mediation and NOT going to trail. So the reasoning for this is because when this happens with an OUT OF COURT settlement, it is OFF the books. And it’s like nothing happened. The insurance company gets off the hook and they don’t have to admit their mistake on public record. So next time you are pressured by both lawyers (meaning yours as well) to settle with a mediator and you feel something is not right, trust you gut instinct. If you are not being treated right, take the extra steps and go to trail if needed. This is your right to have your day in court. The outcome of the case may not be much different, but their is a justice in knowing you have done the right thing and brought the accountable ones into the light.
Even after you have retained a personal injury lawyer, you are still the boss. After all, you are paying for their services one way or the other. Knowing your rights will keep you ahead of the game and will potentially allow for your case to bring a greater settlement. Most of the times, lawyers do not need to work for a greater settlement, because they are guaranteed a payment regardless of the settlement amount and the less time they invest and the less work they have to put into the case, the better for them.
If you see that your lawyer is attempting to use forceful tactics to make you settle this is unethical. They have sworn an oath to fight for their client and intimidation is not ethical. If you are a younger person you can be assured that your lawyer will entice you with a small quick amount hoping you will settle. But be aware that this is just another tactic and you have the right to not accept the first dollar figure that is presented to you.
You have the right to a second opinion.
You have the right to determine if you want to sign a document.
You have the right for a time of mediation.
You have the right to your day in court.
You have the right to fire your lawyer.
Therefore, if you let your lawyer know up front that you are not afraid to take your case to court they will see you are serious and perhaps fight hard to get you a larger out of court settlement. Remember that lawyers much prefer out of court settlements because this goes as a win on their record as opposed to a possible loss in court.
The truth is that your lawyer cannot tell you, but only advise you to do something.
Don’t be bullied into anything you don’t want to do, even if this includes signing a document that you are against. You have rights. If you think something is fishy about your lawyer’s conduct, then don’t hesitate to get a second opinion.