Recently, I settled a couple of FTCA cases.
Neither were particularly sticky matters. Both were ones with straightforward and relatively easy liability determinations. Both had damage/valuation issues.
In both instances, my personal relationship with the client made the process a lot smoother.
Our FTCA medical malpractice work is nationwide. If we have not represented someone in all 50 states, we’re probably only missing three or four venues. Often, the client relationship is purely by email and telephone. We don’t have the luxury of visiting everyone we represent. Many of these cases are not high dollar matters. Keeping costs down is critical.
One of these recent settlements involved a family In Arizona. The VA missed a cancer diagnosis. How much difference it made was a hard question. When I was there in February for a conference, I took some time to meet with them. We settled the case for $250,000. Understandably, the widow had mixed feelings.
The other settlement arose out of care provided in Minnesota. However, the veteran had moved to southwest Virginia, so a meeting was not hard to make happen. The medication error was a big problem for the VA and there was a definite cosmetic injury. The other damages were relatively mild, but also quite real and permanent. That makes a big difference when the client is young. We got her case done for $500,000.
I almost always enjoy such client encounters. I wish I could do more of them.
When I travel, I try to see clients and/or referring lawyers in the area.
The level of client trust/confidence is typically much higher when I have actually met with them. If nothing else, having gone to the effort of doing so builds great goodwill.
Make the effort to meet with your clients. That personal relationship will pay off, especially when cases take unexpected turns - and in this business, that happens.
And it’s fun too.