In some of my prior blogs, we talked about the risks involved in going to trial instead of taking the top offer of the insurance company. But sometimes you have to reject the top $ offer.
That’s what happened to me in a case against Port Authority.
I represented 2 passengers who were hurt on a Port Authority bus. We first filed the case in arbitration.
Arbitration panels are for cases in which you are asking for less than $25,000 for your injuries.
The arbitration panel awarded each of my clients $7500 for their pain and suffering.
My clients’ injuries consisted of back and neck problems and leg contusions. One of the clients had an issue of lightheadedness and concussion symptoms.
I thought the award was a fair one and my clients were very happy with the award.
However, Port Authority was not happy with the award. They filed an appeal which automatically sent the case to a jury trial.
About 2 weeks later the attorney for Port Authority called me and said they would offer my clients $3500 per person for their injuries.
I told the attorney he was crazy for making that type of offer after an arbitration panel had given my clients $7500 each.
Next, I called my clients and told them about the $3500 offers on their cases. I told them that the offer was an insult and we should not accept it.
Silence on the phone.
What happened next stunned me.
They said they wanted to accept the $3500 offers.
So this is a dilemma a personal injury attorney faces.
The law is clear that you MUST follow the decision of the clients regarding whether to accept an offer or not.
But what do you do when you are absolutely convinced you can do better in a jury trial than what the offer is? Do you see the issue that sometimes an injury lawyer is faced with?
What would you have done?
I don’t know if this is the right answer but here is what I did.
I asked them if they could think about their decision for a day or two and then we could talk after that.
So I waited 2 days and called my clients.
I told them I thought long and hard about it and was absolutely convinced they would do better in a jury trial than taking the offer. I explained to them in great detail the reasons for my beliefs.
The clients then asked if I could guarantee that. Wow! Talk about a tough, loaded question.
I told them I couldn’t but I firmly believed it.
They took my advice and we went to trial and we got 4 times what the arbitration award was. Pittsburgh wrongful death, medical malpractice, auto accident and slip and fall attorney Bernie Tully believes sometimes the best advice comes from your gut.
Thanks for reading.
Bernie the attorney