Interviewer: If I’m injured, does a lawsuit always have to be filed in order to receive a settlement?
Reuben J. Donig, Esq.: No, absolutely not. A lawsuit needs to be filed under certain circumstances. Number one, if you’re about to come to the end of the statutory period of time, the statute of limitations is about to expire, you have to file a lawsuit in order to preserve the claim. The other time when a lawsuit needs to be filed is when it becomes clear, it’s apparent that you and the other side are just simply not going to be able to settle this case, your opinion of what the case is worth, and how much your damages are. And the other side’s opinion of how much you should be paid, are just not even close enough to where you can compromise and settle.
You might say, I need at least $100,000, the other side for whatever reason is offering $20,000. That’s the kind of case it doesn’t matter if you’re 6 months into the case, or 1 year and 11 months into the case, that case isn’t gonna get resolved without there being some proactive pushing on your part. And that usually means filing a lawsuit. But in most cases, clients, and I realize this, would like to settle their cases without being involved in litigation. And I do what I can to accommodate the reasonable requests of my client to try to settle their case without involving them in a lawsuit.
I will try to obtain the necessary information to document and establish the issues regarding liability, injury, out-of-pocket expenses, and losses and future medical expenses and losses, and the adverse effects that the injury has had on the client in all aspects of his or her life. And try to convey that in a clear, coherent, well-documented manner to the other side to try to get the case settled without a lawsuit. Again, if the client’s injuries don’t resolve quickly enough, for whatever reason, then you’re getting close to that two-year period, or it’s just obvious you’re not gonna be able to convince the other side to pay the amount of money that you feel is necessary and appropriate to fully compensate you, then, under those circumstances, a lawsuit usually needs to be filed.