Reasons for Litigation
For a variety of reasons, it is a common outcome for personal injury and wrongful death cases to end up in litigation. Often, this is to learn more about what happened and to secure evidence that the lawyer or client does not have in their possession. It can sometimes take instituting a lawsuit for such evidence to arise. In the absence of subpoena powers and the ability to conduct depositions and discovery, you often will not have a full picture of what happened. Not having all of the evidence bears tremendously on liability issues in the absence of the litigation process, which can be unpleasant and lengthy.
Without this process, it's just too easy for an insurance company or the person in the position of decision-making authority to say “No, we don't think we are at fault,” or “We are not going to pay that much.” You can only attempt to discuss what would be a just resolution for your case and what would be an appropriate valuation of the case outside of the court process. It is easy for a business decision maker (oftentimes an insurance adjuster) to try to save money for their client. If the insurance company is going to offer anything, it is ultimately left to the injured party to value the case.
Roles of Insurance Companies
Insurance companies typically have a value called an insurance reserve, which holds for both life altering injuries and death cases. They will put a value on a case that they do not share with you or your lawyer. They assess a case, and then modify the assessment until a case is settled. One of the goals of the litigation process is to have them increase the assessment in the reserve. That initial figure – whether you negotiate, attend a pretrial settlement conference or attend mediation later on – will be at the forefront of the authority that the insurance company's lawyer is going to have.
Why Qualified Representation is Important
If a lawyer underworked a case by failing to employ the right resources, collect certain evidence, or take certain depositions, then they have failed to take the necessary steps to properly work the case. A failure to take those steps could have a strong impact on the offer they receive in a case. When underprepared, attorneys could be “playing against the reserve.” The defense decision-makers are going to try to save the insurance company money – this is a reality of the system. If you are pro se (self-represented), or if you have an under-skilled or inexperienced lawyer, you can lose money on the case. It is about properly identifying issues and mapping out a course, both of which should begin at the intake interview. Even though it might result in a lawsuit being filed down the road, the process is and should be started very early.
To learn more about navigating the factors that can lead to litigation in a personal injury or wrongful death case, as well as other beneficial information related to personal injury cases in Connecticut, I encourage you to download our pocket guide for free via this link: Book PDF