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Speaking with the Judge during Settlement Discussions

During a pretrial settlement conference, what is the likelihood that you will be able to speak to the judge, who is supervising these settlement discussions? As your medical malpractice or personal injury case gets up to the point of trial, pretrial settlement discussion will be held.

Your lawyer will call you to court during these discussions, since there is the likelihood of the defense actually making an offer. In such an eventuality, your lawyer will want to speak to you about it and discuss with you the risks and benefits of accepting or rejecting the offer.

Can the Injured Victim Speak to the Judge?

There may be instances when you might want to speak to the judge before you decide to accept or reject the offer. How likely is it for you to speak to the judge who is supervising these settlement discussions? The answer is that in most cases you will not be able to speak with the judge. However, there are certain instances when the judge might agree to speak to you.

There are many reasons for the judge not wanting to speak to the injured victim. If the victim's lawyer believes that his client speaking to the judge is going to be a key component in getting the client to agree or disagree with the settlement offer, then the lawyer could approach the judge and explain to him why he believes it is important for the judge to speak with his client.

Hence, in a few instances, it is possible for the court to allow you to go and speak to the judge. When this happens, the judge is going to be very straightforward and blunt with you, the injured victim. The judge will most likely come right out and say that in this court and in this type of case, this is what I have seen in the past.

Unappealing Alternatives

The judge might even advise you that if you do not accept this settlement, then the case will go to trial and you are most likely to lose the case, and will not receive anything in the end. He could even tell you that there might be chances of ultimately winning the case, but you will have to go to appeal and that will take you many years to obtain a decision, which might be in your favor.

The Judge Usually does not Speak with the Injured Victim

On the other hand, the judge could even say that he might be able to get you a little more money after speaking to the defense attorney. The judge will speak to the defense and see whether there is possibility of obtaining or securing more compensation for you. You will be asked to leave the room for a while, and when the judge is done discussing this topic with the defense lawyer, you will be called back in, and the judge will tell you whether he was successful or not.

However, in majority of the cases, the judge will not want to speak to the litigant. It will mainly be the job of your lawyer to explain to you the risks or benefits of accepting the offer made by the defense. The judge's job is to put pressure on both parties to try and reach a settlement prior to walking down the avenue that leads to trial.

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