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Sue ’em All

Posted on Thursday, November 27th, 2008 at 11:37 am    

I’ve found myself devoting much of my work time to filing literally every claim I am currently handling. This is not a good development.

Years ago, I was able to resolve many claims promptly and reasonably with insurance adjusters. It was prudent practice to wait on filing cases until the case was fully ready for settlement. In most cases, this would completely avoid litigation, and the need for the insurance company to hire a lawyer. The result was that cases were concluded about a year faster, and with less expense for all involved. That is no longer the situation.

Now, it seems that to get an insurance company to talk seriously (as in reasonably) about settlement, you have to file the case, go through paper discovery and depositions, and have a trial date looming ominously. Then, “on the courthouse steps” the insurance adjusters finally want to talk settlement. So, insurance industry, when you find yourselves asking “why are you filing your cases right away?” the answer is to avoid the absurd delays caused by the complete inattention of most of the insurance industry.

I file my clients’ cases right away, because if I wait untll the cases are settlement-ready, and then wait several more weeks until I figure out that the insurance adjuster isn’t going to be reasonable and timely talk settlement, I end up wasting months toward the ultimate conclusion of the case. So, I file right away. The insurance industry hires their lawyers right away. The defense lawyers educate the insurance adjusters why they should consider prompt settlement.

The insurance adjusters nonetheless ignore their lawyers until the last minute, when there is a trial date on the immediate horizon. Then guess what? The insurance adjusters get reasonable, pay attention to the case, and get it settled on reasonable terms. The same settlement could have been reached months earlier and without the expenditure of thousands of dollars, but the insurance industry has forced my hand. So, I file right away. I do a better job for my clients, because I force the insurance adjusters to pay attention to their files. The case gets concluded faster.

You, insurance industry, have brought about this situation. It is unfortunate, but it is on your doorstep. You’re not doing your jobs. You’re causing needless litigation. When the insurance industry predictably cries about all the lawsuits, don’t listen. Do the same thing the insurance industry does when lawyers try to reach early resolution of cases: Ignore them.

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