The other day I had a pleasant conversation with a woman for an opinion on the settlement she was offered on her case. She had two knee surgeries and was cleared to return to work as a teacher. The problem is that no job was available for her to return to. She had been offered a good settlement (around $60,000), but all she really wanted was here job back. In fact, she told her lawyer that she’d take half the settlement offer if he could get her job back.
The lawyer was dismissive of her request because of course it would mean less money for him. It’s not typical that a settlement is based on getting re-employed and in this case the woman would be better off going through her union rep to try and get re-hired. But I found it sad that her attorney wouldn’t even make the request of the other side for this to happen. In life, you never know what you can get if you don’t ask for it.
When it comes to settling your case, a lawyer can lay out your best, worst and most likely options if you go to trial as well as the high and low range of settlement. In the end, while we can make recommendations, you have to be the one that lives with the result. If your expectations are unrealistic (e.g. you want to get a million dollars) then the lawyer shouldn’t waste their time with demands to the insurance company that would hurt your case. But if you are worried about future medical care or want to make a request for your job, your lawyer owes it to you to at least try and get the result that will satisfy you.
For an attorney, we want to help people, but of course we are also in business and want to make money for ourselves. In most cases that means fighting for the highest settlement possible. But lawyers can never lose sight of the fact that we represent people and we need to look out for what people want to make themselves happy. If we don’t do that then we are just sellouts and not worthy of this job.
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