Sneaky Settlement Tactics: “What’s Your Bottom Line Number?” Malpractice Attorney Explains

The defense wants to negotiate. They ask, “What’s your bottom line number on this case?” We give them our bottom line number. What happens though if they come back with less or slightly less than our bottom line number? Do you want to know the answer? Come join me as I share with you some great information. I’m a medical malpractice and personal injury trial lawyer practicing law. Now in your accident case or medical malpractice case or even wrongful death case, the defense finally comes to us and said, “Listen, we’d like to start negotiating. Tell me what your bottom line number.” If we tell them what our bottom line number is and they come back with less than our bottom line number, what options do we have? Let’s say, for example, we tell them our bottom line number is $1 million and they come back and say, “We’ll offer you $950,000.” What happens then? We told them what our bottom line number was.

Our demand might have been $3 million and now they turn around and offer $950,000. Do you take it or not? Well now you have a number of options to consider. We’ve already told them what our bottom line number is right? That technically means that we will not accept anything less than that. What if they came back with $990,000? Would you still reject it? There are some injured victims who would turn around and say, “No. I won’t take a penny less than this amount.” In that instance, they will fight tooth and nail just to get that bottom line number. This is a strategy by the defense and the insurance companies to try and low ball you each and every time. They ask for your bottom line number and then they’re going to come in with a number that approaches, doesn’t reach, but approaches the number that you told them.

Now, many of the attorneys that I deal with are very upfront and very straightforward. They will say, “Listen, if I can get you that bottom line number, will it settle the case?” If the answer is yes, then the straightforward attorneys, the ones who I respect, who are great trial attorneys, will come back. If they get authority from the insurance company they will come back and say, “OK, I got you $1 million. Case is settled. We’re done.” As opposed to somebody coming back and say, “OK. The best I could do is $950,000.” Now, I’m obligated to discuss this with my client and now I have to tell my client the risks associated with turning down such a significant offer. One of the key risks is is it worthwhile to fight over $50,000; to take your case all the way to trial over $50,000? It might be but then again it might not. That’s a significant conversation that has to take place when it happens. To come back and say, “OK. I’ll give you $975,000 or better yet, I’ll give you $995,000 or $997,500.” Approaching the bottom line number but not quite there.

Why do I share this information with you? I should, well just to give you a sense of what goes on in these types of civil law suit when the defense wants to negotiate and they ask for a bottom line number. I recognize you’re watching this because you’ve got questions or concerns about your own particular matter. If your matter did happen here and you’ve got legal questions, what I encourage you to do is pick up the phone and call me. I can answer your legal questions. This is something I do every single day and I’d love to talk to you.