"Defense Lawyers Share 'Trade Secrets' on How to Get Settlements," WorkCompCentral
On April 9, 2019, WorkCompCentral published an article by William Rabb covering a panel partner Mark Goodman took part in at the Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group 2019 Southeast Regional Conference. The panel comprised of defense attorneys discussed "trade secrets" and tips "to facilitate reasonable settlements and avoid prolonged litigation." Cultivating trust with opposing counsel, being forthcoming about demands and avoiding surprises are among the most important tactics suggested by the panel.
Panelists emphasized not scheduling mediation "until the client is ready to settle, discovery requests are completed, depositions are finished and a demand letter has been sent that includes a clean dollar amount."
“If you come to mediation and say, 'Well, my client now wants more surgery,' well, why are we here?” said Goodman. “If you come in and say you need $300,000 because there may be some medical treatment out there, then you're not ready to settle."
Goodman continued that mediations get complicated when either party is presented with an unexpected offer or demand. Claimants' attorneys should also inform the defense counsel ahead of time of outstanding legal issues as potential subrogation actions can motivate insurers to settle a case.
Other strategies noted include providing full medical reports, injury reports and other information to support claims so the insurance side can assess the validity of the settlement demands; selecting a mediator who knows the law well — often a former claimants' attorney; and refraining from speaking to opposing counsel during mediations.
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