When it comes to choosing an attorney to handle your catastrophic injury claim, it can be daunting to figure out where to look. Most people don’t personally know any lawyers—much less one who has the expertise and experience required to properly prosecute a serious injury case. There are plenty of lawyers in radio and TV ads, billboards, and bus posters offering their services with catchy marketing grabs or the promise of instant riches. But the number one thing that maximizes the amount of money an insurance company will pay on a personal injury case isn’t fancy advertising. What makes insurance companies pay the full value of a claim is knowing that if they don’t, the attorney handling the case will take the case to a jury.
The Seventh Amendment to the United States Constitution (and adopted by each state) guarantees all Americans the right to a jury trial in a civil lawsuit. At the time the Bill of Rights was enacted, this was a radical notion because it placed the power of judging evidence and administering justice squarely in the hands of one’s fellow citizens, and not in the hands of a powerful few. The civil jury system is the ultimate equalizer. It is a safeguard against corruption and a check on corporate greed by allowing the people to compensate the powerless among them who have been wronged by the powerful. As great as that system is though, it only works for you if you have an attorney who knows how to use it.
To illustrate the importance of trying cases, let’s first consider how insurance companies adjust claims. Insurance companies are like any other business: their goal is to make as much money as possible, as quickly as possible. The less money they pay out to injured people, the more money they get to keep and invest, and the bigger the profits for their directors and shareholders. Adjusters earn bonuses by keeping payouts below certain thresholds. Therefore, they evaluate claims not based on what the claim is actually worth, but rather, what they can get away with paying.
Various insurance companies have different procedures, but generally they all use some combination of the following factors when deciding how much to offer to settle a personal injury claim:
- Strength of liability (whether anyone was cited for a car crash, etc.)
- Total dollar amount of medical bills (adjusted down significantly to account for “unreasonable” bills)
- Total dollar amount of property damage to the vehicles
- Venue (the court where the case would be tried—e.g., which county in which state)
- Medical billing codes for the injuries claimed
- Amounts claimants have accepted in similar cases
Insurance companies collect this data and plug it into an insurance industry computer program, like Colossus. The program runs a series of algorithms and spits out a figure. That figure is the offer the adjuster presents to the claimant.
There is however another critical factor insurance companies consider when adjusting claims: whether the claimant’s attorney is a capable and proven trial lawyer. They maintain extensive databases on every lawyer and law firm, so they know who is willing to accept a poor offer, and who won’t. The only incentive for an insurance company to pay more than they want to pay is the possibility that a jury will award a much larger amount of money. Every injury attorney postures and warns the insurance company they’ll try the case if they don’t get a reasonable offer. Most of those lawyers have no intention of actually doing so. By maintaining these databases, insurance companies know which lawyers are bluffing, and which ones really will try the case to a jury. They also know which ones get exceptional results in those trials, and which ones don’t.
Once the case goes into suit and the insurance company’s lawyers get involved, the importance of having an actual trial lawyer on your side skyrockets. The defense attorneys know even better than the insurance adjusters do which plaintiff’s lawyers are lazy, and which ones work tirelessly; which ones try cases and which don’t. Our clients and the lawyers we go up against know which side we stand on. Take a look at our case results to see for yourself.
Whether it’s an automobile accident, trucking accident, shooting or assault at an apartment complex or other business, medical malpractice case, or some other serious injury, if you don’t have an attorney who tries cases (and tries them successfully), you will never get top dollar for your case. Call us today at 404-800-9933 (or by clicking here) for a free consultation to hear how the trial lawyers at Rafi Law Firm can work for you.