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Question for P.I. Practitioners

Hi all, I wanted to see what you guys do in a regular mon ambulancechaser201303/06/17
My firm focuses heavily on PI/WC. Like you, most of my work mrtor03/07/17
What's the definition of a sketchy insurance company? I lik ambulancechaser201303/07/17
Obviously it varies, but single state/small regional insurer mrtor03/07/17
See this page -http://clarkelaw.ca/news-release/ exblylgl12103/07/17
When renewing my auto license yesterday and looking at the w jd4hire03/07/17
Let the paralegals run the mill and call insurance companies mnjd03/07/17
It took me a while to figure this out, but the point of liti trickydick03/07/17
ambulancechaser2013 (Mar 6, 2017 - 11:21 pm)

Hi all,

I wanted to see what you guys do in a regular month of plaintiffs' personal injury practice.

Most of my work is pre-litigation (writing demand letters, letters to adjusters, negotiating with adjusters, reviewing medicals), and settling cases pre-litigation. When I do litigation is it mostly filing a complaint, responding to discovery, propounding discovery, defending depositions, and some very rare motion work. Do any of you actually take cases of trial? Do any of you do heavy law and motion work? I mostly do auto and premises liability.

Thanks.

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mrtor (Mar 7, 2017 - 9:31 am)

My firm focuses heavily on PI/WC. Like you, most of my work concerns discovery followed by pre-trial motions and negotiations. I've only taken one case to a jury trial and it demonstrates why most of these cases settle out. My insurer, Insurer A, was sued by Insurer B for a disputed motor vehicle accident. Insurer B demanded excessive damages and we decided that our trial exposure (liability/damages) was worth the risk. On a whim, we also counterclaimed against Insurer B for their driver's negligence in an effort to reduce any jury award. It went to trial and we actually won. Our driver's likability and credibility trumped that of the other driver. So we not only avoided paying damages, we also recovered for Insurer A.

The unpredictability of trials is enough to scare most insurers into settlement. With decent attorneys on both sides, everyone knows the value of a given claim. Trials are usually a last resort for frivolous claims and/or stubborn clients.

Unless you work for a sketchy insurance company, auto and premise liability claims are never going to be trial intensive. Your time will be spent in discovery and pre-trial litigation.

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ambulancechaser2013 (Mar 7, 2017 - 2:04 pm)

What's the definition of a sketchy insurance company? I like the sound of that.

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mrtor (Mar 7, 2017 - 3:22 pm)

Obviously it varies, but single state/small regional insurers can be suspect as well as those specializing in high risk drivers. They're usually not sufficiently capitalized to pay out on all of their claims. One of the frequent fliers around here routinely denies coverage to its insureds on technical grounds. Once coverage is established, its assigned counsel is not responsive until the eve of trial and then vigorously disputes every cent until a settlement or trial occurs.

Our firm tried an abnormal amount of cases against a handful of these insurers and won nearly every one. The poor defense attorney would shuffle into court and learn the case within a half hour of the trial commencing. He did this a couple times per week across the region.

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exblylgl121 (Mar 7, 2017 - 1:53 am)

See this page -http://clarkelaw.ca/news-release/

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jd4hire (Mar 7, 2017 - 3:08 pm)

When renewing my auto license yesterday and looking at the wonderful people at the DMV, I thought to myself: "if I ever need to convince a client how scary a proposition of allowing a jury to determine your fate, I will bring them here and just observe."

And I love me some sketchy insurance companies. That's actually who I have my malpractice insurance through.

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mnjd (Mar 7, 2017 - 4:22 pm)

Let the paralegals run the mill and call insurance companies. Litigation is a waste of time and effort, but you have to place cases in suit to keep them honest. Sketchy insurance companies are usually the best. They offer the most money. If it is an out of state insurance, they usually offer more money as they do not realize that most the medical bills are paid by no-fault insurance.

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trickydick (Mar 7, 2017 - 7:06 pm)

It took me a while to figure this out, but the point of litigation is to avoid trial. It's as if actual combat in warfare had been rendered obsolete. Instead of sending your soldiers, ships, planes, and missiles out to eradicate the enemy, you spend time training, spying, and preparing a battle plan to defeat the enemy. The guy with the crappier military and fewer resources yields to the other before a single shot is fired.

You will almost never go to trial in a case unless liability or damages are disputed, and more likely the latter since most PI attorneys do not take cases where liability is not established to begin with or where the medicals don't justify a dispute over liability. From what I have seen, heard, and experienced, the meat of a PI case is the expert testimony concerning the medicals. It's everything.

But the key thing to remember is that 90% of these nickel and dime claims settle without a lawsuit ever being filed and that is as it should be.

Just my two cents.

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