If a judge told someone to take a settlement after a car accident, is there still a chance of winning the case? 22 Answers as of April 01, 2013

My friend was in a bad wreck and her attorney and judge told her she should just take the settlement. She's a black girl, hit by a white man. They tried to make it a racial issue and to me this did not seem right. It caused her and her mother a lot of pain. She had no one to take care of her so her mother had to take off from work and even take from her retirement in order to survive after this happened. She was a very smart girl with a bright future (college, etc.) and I want someone to tell me if she hasn't signed the settlement papers is there a shot she could win?

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Durham Jones & Pinegar | Erven Nelson
Yes, there is still a chance. The Judge was probably a settlement judge or mediator, and just gave his or her opinion. I recommend that you contact another attorney for a second opinion.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 4/1/2013
Kelly & Soto Law
Kelly & Soto Law | Michael Kelly
Absolutely. Sometimes settling a case is not the decision most beneficial to the client. Unfortunately, some attorneys push their clients into settlement as a way to procure their contingency fees. From what you have described, and also considering the fact that a settlement offer has been made, it is likely there is a successful claim here.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 3/7/2013
Alison Elle Aleman, Attorney & Counselor at Law
Alison Elle Aleman, Attorney & Counselor at Law | Alison Elle Aleman
Judges are often good at determining what a case is worth. However, you can still go to trial to try and obtain an award from the court.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/7/2013
Gregory M Janks, PC
Gregory M Janks, PC | Gregory M Janks
Taking a settlement is NOT mandatory if a person believes any settlement offer is unfair. The injured person has a right to go to trial. That said, if the injured parties attorney recommends a settlement, then same could be in the person's best interests given whatever aspects of liability, damages, the assigned Judge's potential legal rulings, the local juries expected verdict, etc. Generally if someone has hired an attorney, they should take their attorneys advice; however, if there is some question about whether the advice makes legal/economic sense, the injured person can always seek a 2nd opinion from another personal injury attorney that has experience in the type of case @ issue.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 3/7/2013
Law Offices of Mark West
Law Offices of Mark West | Mark West
Unfortunately, given the very little information that is here it is impossible to say whether she would "win". "Winning" can be expensive, given the costs of going to trial, even if you get most of them back, they have to be paid up front. It sounds like you might be close to trial. If the attorney is saying it is a good settlement the attorney the attorney should be intimately familiar with the case and know whether to settle or not. Your friend can refuse to sign to the settlement agreement (but if she already agreed to it in court it might be too late) but she takes the gamble of going to trial and losing or getting less than she could get if she settles. There are no guarantees. You can be 100% right and still have a 50% chance of losing.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/7/2013
    Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
    It depends on the provable facts. If a jury could reasonably rule against the girl, then she should settle. You can't lose a settlement. You can lose a trial and you can lose an appeal to an appellate court. If her case is strong, then the settlement would be higher than if it was weak. But the facts control the outcome.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 3/7/2013
    Adler Law Group, LLC
    Adler Law Group, LLC | Lawrence Adler
    The judge is only giving an opinion and it isn't binding.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 3/6/2013
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    Everybody in the country, starting with Obama, is trying to make race an issue with everything. It is tearing this country apart (which is what Obama wants to do and is part of the progressive agenda) now, lets get past race. Usually your lawyer will have the right advice for your case. if the lawyer and a judge thought the settlement was the best thing to do it probably was. Any time you put your case in front of a jury you might get less, you might get more, you might get about the same. It is a crap shoot. Most lawyers and judges don't advise crap shoots but clients sometimes insist on crap shoots just because you have some type of injury is no guarantee tha't you will get a lot of money. Folks have been watching too much television and fantasizing. The real world is a lot different.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 3/6/2013
    Lydy & Moan | C. Gary Wilson
    It is difficult to advise someone about this unless they are the person directly involved in the suit.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 3/6/2013
    Angelo Marino, Jr. PA | Angelo Marino, Jr.
    It is impossible to give a recommendation without knowing all the facts, but it would seem to me that a judge who has seen probably 100s if not 1000s of these cases would be wrong in his/her assessment.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 3/6/2013
    Curry, Roby & Mulvey Co., LLC
    Curry, Roby & Mulvey Co., LLC | Bruce A. Curry
    Your friend obviously trusted her attorney when she hired him, so unless something has changed, it sounds like both the attorney and the judge are giving your friend their best advice. With that said, your friend ultimately needs to be satisfied with the settlement, and if she is not satisfied, she needs to tell her attorney that she wishes to take the case to trial. After all, the attorney works for your friend, not the other way around. The attorney can and should only give his best advice on the value of the case, warn your friend that she could get less if the case goes to trial, and then try the case.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 3/6/2013
    Law Office of Christian Menard
    Law Office of Christian Menard | Christian Menard
    You have not given enough information relating to the nature of the accident, who was at fault, the full nature and extent of your friend's injuries. You have not said anything about the amount of her medical bills nor the amount of the settlement offer. Therefore it is impossible to say whether she should take the settlement. As to the fact that her attorney and some judge at a settlement conference advise her to take the settlement, that is something that is often done. It may be done because it is a good/fair offer. It may be done because they just want to dump the case and be done with it. From what you have said, it is impossible to give you any meaningful answer.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/6/2013
    Laurence H. Margolis PC
    Laurence H. Margolis PC | Laurence Margolis
    Nothing is done until papers are signed. With that being said, since she is represented by counsel I would not venture to give her any legal advice. Some attorneys would consult with her. I would not do that unless she was unrepresented.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 3/6/2013
    Law Office of Lisa Hurtado McDonnell | Lisa Hurtado McDonnell
    Well it sounds like a judge believe the settlement is reasonable, I don't have enough facts to tell you otherwise. What were her medical bills and does she have a impairment rating? What was the insurance policy limit?
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 3/6/2013
    Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
    There are many reasons why we should sometimes settle for less than we think we should get. In recent years juries have been awarding far less than in earlier years, perhaps because many people who sit on juries are themselves victims of the economy. The cost of going to trial is substantial, as the treating doctors get paid (typically) $3000 to $5000 to go to court. And yes, sometimes there is some prejudice on the part of some jurors, whether or not they admit it, even to themselves. We cannot evaluate your case, but you've had a judge and a lawyer do so.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/6/2013
    James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C.
    James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C. | Jim Hasser
    Yes, there is still a chance of winning, but there is also a chance of losing. Judges see a lot and are usually pretty smart. Your friend might be unwise to ignore his advice.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 3/6/2013
    David P. Slater, esq.
    David P. Slater, esq. | David P. Slater
    Without knowing all the facts no one can answer that.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 3/6/2013
    John Russo | John Russo
    Win what? Her case at trial maybe, but according to you she may get a racist jury or judge if it's a bench trial and she will get nothing, since you are not disclosing the offer how can anyone tell you whether or not it may be fair, what are her medicals, what were her injuries, instead of claiming the matter is fixed see what she ends up with before you attack everyone else.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 3/6/2013
    Geneva Yourse | Geneva Yourse
    It's impossible to tell if she can win with the few facts that you gave. Although, if both a judge and her own attorney say settle, it may be best to settle.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 3/6/2013
    Kram & Wooster, P.S. | Richard H. Wooster
    Unfortunately, your question does not provide enough information to answer. The issues involve liability and damages. It sounds like liability is not in dispute, but without a description of the events leading up to the accident it is hard to tell Was the injured person also driving or was she a passenger or a pedestrian? What were her injuries, what wage loss was suffered, is there any permanent injury. You sound like she is represented by her own attorney. You also sound like there was a settlement conference and the judge suggested the offer made was reasonable and her own attorney also agreed she should take the offer. Attorneys are usually paid on a contingency basis meaning, the more the client gets, the more the attorney gets. Attorneys will not advise their clients to accept a low ball offer if they think they could get more at trial. Your friend should listen to her attorney, particularly if the attorney is experienced in this area of the law.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 3/6/2013
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    Often individuals think they will make out big if it goes to trial. Sorry, that is not the case and, often the plaintiff gets less than the settlement offer. It would appear you need to take the settlement.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 3/6/2013
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    Getting something is winning.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/6/2013
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