WHEN IS BRINGING A LAWSUIT THE RIGHT THING TO DO?
June 3, 2017
We are as concerned as anyone about "frivolous lawsuits." They hurt the image of good trial lawyers and sometimes make it more difficult for us to get the best possible result for our clients. For that reason, we screen our cases carefully so we are confident that the people we represent have legitimate claims and the kind of injury that justifies the time and expense associated with litigating a case properly.
When we bring a lawsuit, we know it is the right thing to do for our clients and that a jury will not think the claim is frivolous.
Bringing a lawsuit is the right thing to do when someone has suffered a serious injury, one that affects his or her quality of life, and the party responsible for causing the injury refuses to do the right thing by being accountable for the damages he or she has caused by being careless or negligent. The law says that when someone is negligent or careless and causes injury and losses, that the person responsible for the harms and losses must be held accountable. It is always preferable for people to work these things out, if they can, without a lawyer and very often this is what occurs.
When it does not, it is often because an insurance company makes the decision to fight a legitimate claim and make it as hard as possible for the injured party to get a fair recovery. This may come as a surprise to someone who has never made a claim before and only wants what is fair — to recover the medical bills, lost earnings and what is appropriate for the pain, inconvenience and loss of quality of life that a physical injury may cause.
It is in the best interest of the insurance company not to pay claims — whether they are legitimate or not. It is also in the best interest of the insurance company to discourage people from making claims and so making the process as difficult as possible actually makes business sense. For those reasons, insurance carriers would rather spend $15,000 defending a case than spend $10,000 to settle it. By making it difficult for people who really are injured and deserve compensation for those injuries, the companies are sending a message to lawyers that they should think twice about filing a lawsuit - no matter how well-justified it may be.
If an insurance company has to pay a claim, it wants to pay as little as possible. That is why you need a good, reputable and experienced trial lawyer to help you if you can't work things out with the party responsible for your injury. Insurance companies know when a claim is made by a lawyer on behalf of a client, whether the lawyer is someone who can and will take the case to trial rather than settle for less than the case may be worth. Hiring a lawyer who does not spend a good deal of time working in a courtroom trying cases is not in your best interest. For the same reason you would not accept $500 to repair damage to your car if the actual cost of repairs was $1,800, you do not want to hire a lawyer who is not prepared to take your case to trial, if necessary. A lawyer unable or unwilling to go to trial might be inclined to settle for substantially less than a fair and reasonable amount, given all of the circumstances.
Rice & Bloomfield has over 40 years of trial experience. Because we focus our work on substantial cases with significant injuries, we handle every case as if it is going to go to trial, even though the vast majority of our cases do settle. This is not the approach that many lawyers take because it requires a lot of time and attention to detail during the litigation process.
It is, however, the only way to make sure our clients get the best deal they can when it comes time to discuss settlement. If the insurance company will not pay a fair and reasonable amount in light of the injuries and losses to our client, then we take the case to trial. Knowing that we can and will do this is what motivates carriers to settle most of the claims we make on behalf of clients like you.