Here is a letter I recently wrote to a client who suffered a serious injury caused by the negligence of the State of New York. I’ll call my client “Joe”, though that’s not his real name:
You asked why the State of New York won’t settle your personal injury Claim since the State was so clearly at fault and since you are so seriously injured. In response, let me tell you about an interesting discussion I had with the assistant attorney general defending your case on behalf of the State of New York.
Before I get into that conversation, the thing to remember is that we are suing the government. Remember, the government is inefficient, not cost-effective. You probably already knew that!
Now here’s what the assistant attorney general says about settlement: For the assistant attorney general to settle this case, he would have to do a lengthy report to his superiors weighing all the strengths and weaknesses of the case, and estimating the probable amount of money a judge would give if you prevail. He would also have to get the approval of the agency that injured you in order to settle. In each step, he has a lot of explaining to do if he is giving away any serious money. With his huge caseload, he just does not have time to do this kind of detailed reporting and question answering. He says that, for him, it is a lot easier just to go to trial, even in a case that he knows he’s almost certainly going to lose. That way there will be no reports to write, no pointed questions to answer. The judge just orders a verdict after a trial. Everyone can blame the judge for the outcome instead of him. It makes his job a lot easier and no one can second-guess him.
Joe, I know this just crazy! What a waste of tax-payer money! But that’s the way the system works. I still think there’s a chance of settling after depositions are done. We’ll see. If we don’t settle, though, it is a lengthy process. Even after trial, the State usually appeals, and that process takes a year.
Joe, we will get justice for you eventually. Unfortunately, because the State of New York is the State of New York, this is not likely to be quick. Thanks for your trust in us and your patience.
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to hear from you!
Michael G. Bersani, Esq.