The Defense Offers to Settle
In a medical malpractice case, the defense thought, after the plaintiff gave their testimony at the deposition that he was inconsistent. The defense concluded that the plaintiff was lying, especially when he made certain statements. The deposition is a question and answer session that is held under oath much before the trial takes place.
Now as the trial is approaching, the plaintiff’s lawyer is trying to negotiate the case. During negotiations, the defense comes right out and says that they think the plaintiff was lying, and therefore the jury will not give any compensation. However, the defense goes ahead and offers a substantial settlement even though they feel the plaintiff was lying. Why would they do that?
The defense knew that if the case went to trial, and the jury believed the plaintiff’s version of what took place, there would be a decent likelihood of the jury awarding even more compensation than what the defense was offering as a settlement. If the plaintiff was able to prove that the was more likely right than wrong, the doctor was careless, and because of this carelessness he had suffered significant injuries, the jury was likely to award a solid amount as a compensation package that the defense would have to pay.
The defense is just playing the odds.
A Strategic Decision
Therefore, when the defense offered to settle with a significant amount that could be in the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars, they were making a calculated strategic decision. The defense strategized they would settle this case rather than rely on the jury in terms of believing their version of the events. You might be contemplating why does the defense not take the risk of going to trial and show the jury that the plaintiff was inconsistent and lying during the deposition?
Most of what happens in the deposition is going to play out in court. There is rarely a stark difference.
The defense was making a business decision, whether it is better to go ahead and settle this case for this amount of money (if that amount is accepted which it probably will be), rather than taking the risk of having to deal with a jury. They do not know what type of jury hand they will be dealt. No one wants to gamble when so much time and energy is at stake.
Ultimately, the plaintiff took the defense’s offer since it was a fair offer and they know their case is not resonating well. The defense were willing to part with this amount, even though they had found out at the deposition that the plaintiff was lying and whose inconsistent statements could be exploited.
These types of settlements happen in medical malpractice and other types of personal injury cases. Even though the defense finds out during the deposition that the plaintiff is lying, they might still go ahead with negotiations and offer a settlement amount. The defense does this because they know there is always the chance of the jury believing the plaintiff. There is a chance that with some practice, the plaintiff shores up their story by the time the court date rolls around.
Hence, it is mainly a question of calculating risks, and the chances of losing a much greater amount in the future. If the defense feels the risk of losing is too high for them to stomach, then they would be willing to offer a settlement they know the other side will bite down on.