When you get a top offer from the insurance company, they draw a line in the sand, and you can accept the offer and try to make it work or file a lawsuit and go to court. When we get to that point, we bring you into our office, and we have a long discussion over the direction you want your case to go. Then we also do a cost-benefit analysis just because many people don’t like their offer and want to go to court, but they don’t realize precisely what that means. Our attorney fee increases because there’s just so much more work involved, probably 100 extra hours in preparing your case to take it to a jury trial. Also, we will incur more costs. Your treating physicians will want to be paid. So, depending on how far apart we are from the insurance company, we have to make sure that you will not end up worse than you are with the top offer, which is what we try to explain to people.
In some cases, we do have to sue on, but in some cases, we have to explain to people that after there is a cost-benefit analysis, you will end up in the same place or worse just in two years from now. So, we always want to get the client’s best result, but sometimes going to court might not be the best option for each client. There is more work for the client in that you’ve got to answer interrogatories. We file a lawsuit, and the insurance company hires an insurance attorney to represent the other driver and fight us. They will send over interrogatories, and those are legal questions that you must answer under oath. They get to ask you about your married life, your kids, your financial history, have if you have ever filed for bankruptcy.
For some people, it’s no problem; other people, these kinds of questions make them nervous. So, we want to make sure that before we file a lawsuit, we are not blindly dragging somebody into it and putting them in a situation they may be unhappy with later. After you answer their interrogatories, they’ll want to take your deposition. That’s how they report back to their insurance company how you are going to testify at trial. Their insurance attorney will size you up and see how you present as if you were presenting to a jury and then go back and report to the insurance company. Often, that is when the case settles because we’ve prepared our client very well. We know the kind of questions they are going to ask and the sort of things they are going to talk about that might trip you up.
Even in the cases we file lawsuits on, probably 75% to 80% of them settle right then because we’ve prepared our clients well for the deposition. It’s the first time that the insurance company has had a representative see our client in person and realize that they probably should go ahead and pay because the jury will like them. So, once we get to that point, it’s a very personal discussion about what the client is willing to commit to and what they are willing to risk. If you go to court, reject the offer, something happens, and you get a lower jury verdict, then you’ve thrown away not only money, but you’ve also spent a year fighting over something that you could have resolved for more money before you filed the lawsuit. So, going to court is a big commitment, a significant investment, and it’s something we will visit very seriously.
People understand that we don’t ever say we are suing an insurance company. We’ve got to sue the individual. Nobody can mention insurance at trial. It can turn into a sympathy contest. Still, you must file a lawsuit in some cases because the insurance company is just so egregiously trying to take advantage of an injured person. Those are the best cases to file lawsuits on because after we either force them into a settlement or get a jury verdict for our client, it makes it worth it. It’s very satisfying to take care of somebody who was being taken advantage of so badly.
For more information on Unreasonable Settlement Offers From Insurance, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (479) 337-7077 today.