Monday, April 1, 2013

Why Lawyers File Lawsuits

   Few people are excited by the fact that of having a lawsuit.  Every Client asks whether it will be necessary for their case "to go to court."  After the lawsuit is filed , Client ask whether their case will "settle" before trial.  Why, then, when clients want to avoid lawsuits, do lawyers file lawsuits?  The answer is that lawsuits (and trials)  are often required before insurance companies treat clients fairly.  Even then, there is no guarantee.

   Because clients do not like lawsuits or trials, it is my policy before filing a lawsuit for a client to give insurance companies the opportunity to treat clients fairly.  If the insurer does not treat the client fairly, the client decides on the next step. Unfortunately, more often than not, the insurance companies miss out on this opportunities.    
    In my most recent example, a friend had a small motor vehicle accident in which she was injured but, fortunately, after 6 months of chiropractic care at a cost of $7,500, she recovered.  She called me after the motor vehicle insurer, an insurer known for advertising its low rates,  offered to settle her claim by paying $7,500 to the chiropractor and the small sum of $1,500 to the client for the interruption of her life. After the filing of suit and the passage of 1 year, the motor vehicle insurer offered to settle her case by paying the chiropractor and paying the client $10,000 for the interruption of her life.  This shows how insurance companies treat clients that file lawsuits more fairly than clients that do not. 

    I have had other similar experiences in other contexts:   One example is the vessel insurer that represented that, with "a little more medical information," it would be in a position to treat a client fairly only to have 12 months pass with no action. Another example is the airline insurer that represented that, if medical and tax records were provided, it would treat my client fairly in valuing losses only to advise after the records were provided that its lawyer would have to obtain the same medical records a second time directly from the physicians.   

   One wonders whether the insurance companies appreciate their missed opportunities.  You have to play your hand smartly.  See