Trial or settlement: my broken foot lawsuit

There is no form of belief stronger than that which the ordinary English gentleman has in the discretion and honesty of his own family lawyer. What his lawyer tells him to do, he does. What his lawyer tells him to sign, he signs. He buys and sells in obedience to the same direction, and feels perfectly comfortable in the possession of a guide who is responsible and all but divine. – Anthony Trollope, The Eustace Diamonds

As I told you last week, my Foot Lawyer made an appointment to see me today. I sort of thought it might be to discuss a settlement offer. I was right.

Marc did a good job in getting immediately to the point. And the point was, um, sort of dis-ap-point-ing. Thirty thou, in total.

Marc summarized the back-and-forth discussions with the defendant’s insurance company. It was fairly entertaining to hear their arguments about why it really really wasn’t their fault that their sidewalk broke a bone in my foot (the missing piece of stone kept getting stolen because it was valuable), and it was Landmark’s fault (blame the government) and maybe it was my fault, too. Sure, blame the victim.

Marc felt that 30 thou was a good offer. I told him I thought it was a little low. He described what would happen if we didn’t accept it now. We’d inform the court we were ready for trial, would have to get on the court calendar, that would take who knows how long … and it’s my guess that after maybe ten months we’d settle for maybe five grand more. And I bet I’m being overly optimistic.

As Marc pointed out, it would have been a different story if my broken bone was a femur. But a metatarsal? Nyah.

I must confess: I told you I had no financial expectations. That was true. I had no conscious financial expectations. But I now realize that it’s impossible to inform your unconscious of what your sensible conscious brain is telling you. I had not developed a conscious money figure but when I heard thirty thousand, my unconscious got a little ruffled.

But I’d gone to Marc’s office assuming I would accept the offer. So I silently negotiated my own private settlement between my conscious and unconscious and signed the already prepared papers. (Marc must have had a route into my intentions.)

As Marc walked me out, he let on that he is reading this blog (thanks, Marc!) and offered a good humored warning that I shouldn’t really have mentioned settlement discussions here. Uh-oh. What trouble could I get into by saying in Sidebar that I was going to see my lawyer about a settlement?

“A lot of unsolicited phone calls,” he said. I assured him I was invulnerable. So if you’re calling me with wonderful investment opportunities for my big settlement, I never answer my phone unless I know who’s calling. And I handle my own investments.


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