I just settled a Syracuse New York workplace injury case today for $1,000,000. It was a fair settlement. Because of some Labor Law violations, my client fell off a scaffold at a construction project in Syracuse. He landed on his feet, and his lower back suffered what is known in the medical community as a “spondylolysis” (a small fracture in the pars of the vertebrae) which later developed into a “spondylolystheisis” (the small fractures caused one of the discs to slide relative to the disc below, narrowing the spinal canal, and causing impingement).
Like I said, the settlement was fair. We used a mediator in Rochester. It took just about all day to hammer out the settlement. But in the end my clients were happy with it.
The case was scheduled for an Onondaga County personal injury jury trial in just a little over two weeks. For me that means that I was already prepared to try the case. I knew the case backward and forwards, and had my arguments all set to present to the jury.
When a case settles this close to trial, I always have mixed emotions. On the one hand, I am glad to have the case settled. On the other hand, I regret not being able to present the case to the jury.
Smart lawyers tell me that the best case is a settled case. It means there is no longer any risk of losing, or getting a bad result. Sure, there is always a chance you could have done better at trial. But trial is often a crap shoot.
Most of my clients don’t like crap shoots. They like the sure thing. Most my clients prefer to settle. They want certainty. They are risk-adverse. And who can blame them? Usually they are already strapped for money because their injury has put at least a dent in their earning capacity. Once a decent amount of money is on the table, it is hard for them not to grab it and call it a day.
The pot of money my client got was not only adequate, it was fair. So today was a good day. I made my client happy. I got a fair result. Now on to the next case!