New York City Personal Injury Law Blog

The Common Negotiating Tactic of Ridiculing Your Initial Settlement Demand

Posted on Oct 27, 2014 in Car Accidents

The initial phase of your personal injury case will be your lawyer negotiating with the defense lawyer to obtain a reasonable settlement. It is in the best interests of both parties, if an early settlement is reached, since they can avoid the costs of lengthy trial and other related expenses. However, the defense lawyer will have his own agenda of settling the case for the minimal amount possible, whereas your lawyer will want to receive the maximum case value.

The Art of Negotiating

Car Accident Personal Injury

Defendants seldom pay too much respect to your initial settlement demands. 

Negotiations usually begin with the plaintiff’s lawyer asking for a particular settlement amount, which is usually turned down, and often ridiculed by the defendant’s attorney. This ridiculing is a common strategy of defense lawyers, and has actually nothing to do with what your case is really worth. It is a psychological ploy to try to make you believe that your case is never going to be worth that much. If you were at the negotiating table, you would probably be somewhat dejected with such ridicule and maybe start thinking that your case was not really worth that much.

However, your lawyer will know that this is the usual tactic used in negotiations, and in fact ask for a much higher amount than what the case is really worth, since he knows quite well that it will be turned down. It is therefore important for you to know what is going on behind the scenes. Your case, in fact has the potential to be settled for a reasonable amount at any time before or during the trial, and it will mainly depend on the strength of your case and the negotiating skills of your lawyer.

The Initial Phase of Negotiating

The initial phase in negotiating will usually be full of bravado and posturing. Your lawyer will be meeting the defense lawyer to work out a settlement. The defense lawyer will ask what settlement figure you are expecting, and when your lawyer quotes an amount, it will be rejected immediately. The defense lawyer is never going to agree to the initial settlement demand, and if the lawyers know each other, there will be deriding comment or question, whether the amount being asked is a joke.

Normal Financial Logic

Well, you need not worry about this ridicule, as this is the normal practice in negotiations. In fact, if you think about it, this is normal in any type of bargaining or negotiations. Have you seen the popular TV program Pawn Stars? You will find the exact same thing going on there. The person who wants to sell the item will be wanting the highest price for the item they brought in with them, whereas the pawnshop owner will want to buy it for the lowest price possible to earn a better profit when they turn around and sell it to someone else.

The pawnshop owner will usually ridicule the initial demand of the customer and quote one tenth of that amount, as a fair price. You can expect the same at your personal injury negotiations. Your initial demand will not only be ridiculed but you will be made a ridiculously low counter offer as well. These are usual negotiations tactics and you need not be worried about it, since an experienced lawyer will know how to defeat these methodologies and insure you receive the most money possible.

After all, what is better for you is better for your attorney as well.


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I referred Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff to a friend needing help with a birth injury & medical malpractice case. Having worked with founding partner Daniel Minc myself on a car accident case, I was sure they would be able to deliver results.

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