How Does Having An Attorney Affect The Way Insurance Companies Evaluate A Plaintiff’s Claim?
There is a study which says that just speaking with a lawyer increases the settlement amount, and hiring a lawyer is certainly going to increase the settlement amount. Insurance companies spend millions of dollars on training their insurance adjusters on how to manipulate people and get them to accept less than what their case is worth. Insurance adjusters will tell plaintiffs that their case isn’t worth very much, and that if they hire a lawyer, the lawyer will take all of the money for themselves. Through manipulation, they create a scenario in the plaintiff’s mind that makes it seem like accepting a lowball offer and not hiring an attorney is the only sensible option.
When a plaintiff has an attorney on the file, the insurance company isn’t permitted to speak directly with the client, but instead has to go through the attorney. The attorney can see through all the noise and nonsense and really protect their clients. Once an attorney is on the file, a fair estimate usually increases by about 25 to 30 percent. Insurance companies spend millions of dollars defending themselves; shouldn’t every plaintiff have someone in their corner who is willing to do the same? Hiring a personal injury lawyer is critical.
What Factors Help You Determine Whether To Advise Your Client To Settle Or Move Forward To Trial?
We will know fairly early on in the negotiation process whether we can get a settlement for a full and fair amount. Usually, the initial offer is a very key indicator of whether a case is going to settle. If we value a case to be worth over $100,000 and the initial offer is $1,000, I think it’s probably safe to say that we’re not going to reach an agreement before a lawsuit is filed and litigation would be necessary.
Every insurance adjuster is different in terms of how much movement and renegotiation they are willing to engage in. Some insurance adjusters start low with small increments, and some will start out with a large amount from the beginning and not increase it. It really comes down to the insurance company and who is making the offers, but the initial offer and the trajectory of the negotiation will indicate whether there’s going to be an opportunity to settle the case for a fair amount.
The process begins with a proper evaluation of the case, which goes back to understanding the human story and putting ourselves in the shoes of our clients. It is essential for us to understand who they are and what they are going through in order to truly be their advocate.
In general, we consider three things when evaluating a case: liability (i.e. who’s at fault, and how much evidence there is to support it), the extent of the injuries (the greater the injuries, the higher the case value), and the amount of insurance coverage available (the higher the policy limits, the greater the potential for a high settlement).
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