Church Alive Interview pt. 5
Attorney Jason Kessler discusses personal injury law with Rev. Dr. Timothy Birkett.
Rev. Dr. Timothy Birkett: We wanted to go back to an area of attorneys. I will give you some scenarios. I have this attorney the case has been going on for about two years. I got to call him he never calls me to find out where my case is. I want to get rid of him but he says you know I’m his attorney and I got to stick with him. Is that true?
Attorney Jason Kessler: That is not true at all; you are free to switch your attorney at any time in the case. If your attorney is not calling you back and you don’t believe that you’re getting the personalized service you deserve then you should seek other legal counsel. And the attorney should get back to you. We have an obligation to tell our clients important things during the case. If there is a deposition coming up, if there is a trial coming up and for sure if there is any sort of settlement offer regardless of how we may think of it, of the quality of the settlement offer from the insurance company or the city. We have an ethical obligation to tell our clients about that and have them make up their mind of whether or not they want to entertain that offer.
Rev. Dr. Timothy Birkett: Right now that brings up a point. My attorney calls me and says you know they offered a settlement and this is what the figure is and you’re going to get a check for this and I’m going to get a check for this, I’m going to send you some papers. All you have to do is sigh; is that a done deal?
Attorney Jason Kessler: Well no if you don’t believe that’s a fair settlement then you should enter into the settlement and the attorney should not enter into any settlement without the consent of his client. It was the client who was injured not the attorney.
Rev. Dr. Timothy Birkett: Suppose I say to the attorney I want some more money this is crazy, I am going to be injured for life and you’re telling me this is a good settlement. Can I negotiate for myself or is that the point where he won’t support me in that or should I just say look I’m not going to sigh.
Attorney Jason Kessler: The attorney should have explained to you what your judgments in this similar area are worth. He should have explained to you if you have problems with liability. Let’s say the city didn’t have notice but the city wanted to bring a settlement. The attorney should have explained this to you. Or your damages are worth x amount of y, well this is something the attorney should have explained to you. You know again an informed client is the best client and you should be fully informed and knowingly and intelligently enter into a settlement.
Rev. Dr. Timothy Birkett: Suppose my attorneys me now listen we better take this now because if we go back it might be less. I have heard that, is that a plod that I should take or should say look I’m not going to accept that, I’m still rejecting the offer.
Attorney Jason Kessler: Well there are no hard fastened rules but you should ask the attorney why he believes that. And if the attorney believes you have a strong case then why is he not bringing it to trial. There has to be a good reason, perhaps you were in a bad venue a hostile venue perhaps you have a sympathetic defendant. Sometimes in Westchester County for instances half of the jury works at Westchester medical center so it’s very hard to bring medical malpractice cases. If you are in the Bronx it may not be as hard. So there are many many different factors but you should have the attorney explain to you your satisfaction. You shouldn’t sign any documents or enter any type of settlement unless you believe it’s fair and just and it’s up to the attorney to convince you. If he can’t convince you then you should settle.
Rev. Dr. Timothy Birkett: Well we have come to closing of this program but there are a lot of unanswered questions yet to come. So we are going to have a second segment. I want you folks to realize there are questions; I can feel these questions coming from you right now and so well have a second segment give you a chance to ask some more questions from attorney Jason Kessler. But in the last few minutes why should we or why should anybody take you on as an attorney.
Attorney Jason Kessler: Alright Reverend well because I am capable, because I am compassionate and because I am caring. I care about my clients and I’m a person with integrity. And if I handle your case I will handle it confidently and I will make sure that you are informed every step of the way and to contact me you can contact me at the number you see at the bottom of the screen and the website you see at the bottom of the screen.
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