The Personal Injury Lawsuit and The Insurance Company

Personal injury lawsuits are a threat to insurance companies because each represents the possibility the injured person will receive the compensation a jury believes the injured person deserves which is often more than the insurance company has offered. A New York Times study on cases that do not settle and go to trial reveals 61% of the time when the plaintiff turns down a settlement and takes the case to trial the plaintiff loses. The study finds  24% of the time when the defendant turns down settlement and proceeds to trial it loses. (15% of the time both sides were right in proceeding to trial meaning plaintiff beat defendant’s offer and defendant beat plaintiff’s offer -the in between result).

Interestingly when the plaintiff losses his average loss is $48,000. But when defendant refuses to settle and goes to trial the average loss is $1,100,000. This means it is the insurance company that is the party who significantly under values the case (at least 24% of the time). And it is the personal injury lawyer who calls the insurance company bluff and gets his client what a jury says is fair.

The New York Times Study presents the the obvious question: When do I have a 24% of the time lawsuit that the insurance company has undervalued. I believe the answer lies with the injured plaintiff and his or her story. As we have seen in prior posts the injured plaintiff must be true to life, realistic, totally honest, have injuries a jury can relate to, must attack the injuries, and the injuries must be too significant to overcome. Added to this must be a compelling story.

The problem the insurance company has with such a case is the problem they have with all cases. They are statistically driven. They are generally unable to appreciate a  hero type injured plaintiff who has a compelling true to life realistic story. Rather, they evaluate  cases systematically based on numbers and statistics. They ask what is the age and gender of the plaintiff? Where is the trial going to occur? What is the amount of the medical bills? Who are the medical providers? Do we have any type of liability or mechanism or injury argument? Who is the lawyer? They then analyze, evaluate and try the case based on their numbers and statistics.

When the case presents with an honest likable plaintiff, with legitimate permanent personal injuries, combined with a compelling story, the insurance company will likely fail to appreciate the case. This is a case that must be tried to get fairness. The personal injury lawyer is the one who can do this. When the trial is done and the injured plaintiff receives fairness it likely will be more compensation than the insurance company offered.


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