Confessions of a Former Insurance Defense Attorney – Part I

As you will know from reading my bio on the website, I used to be employed by an insurance company doing insurance defense work. I worked in that arena for several years, so I learned the ends and outs of insurance companies’ thought processes when it comes to these cases.  I would like to share a few of my observations.

  1. People who settle a case without a lawyer will almost certainly get significantly less than if they hire an attorney. Insurance companies will attempt to resolve a case as quickly as possible.  Sometimes, an adjuster will approach a claimant/plaintiff with what seems like a large sum of money (and it is comparatively) hoping that the injured party will accept without much thought.  There is a reason that they do this is that a percentage of people will accept the deal without speaking to an attorney.  The insurance company plays the odds to pay out less.
  2. Insurance companies may rethink or reconsider a denial when a claimant/plaintiff hires an attorney. This does not apply to every insurance company, nor does it apply to all adjusters in every situation, but it does, in fact, happen.  If nothing else, hiring an attorney may trigger a supervisor review of the file, which may make the adjuster rethink their position.
  3. A case must be built with evidence (the right evidence) to hold any value to the insurance company. Insurance companies will often take a “prove it to me” approach to paying out settlements.  While you may have suffered a major injury, if you don’t have the right evidence to back up your contentions, the insurance company will not value your case as highly as it should.  For example, a concert pianist who loses a pinky finger will have their life impacted differently (and in a lot of ways more significantly) than a laborer.  Without the right evidence, the insurance company may treat that pianist the same as a laborer in valuing the claim.
  4. The RIGHT attorney REALLY makes a difference in what an injured worker/plaintiff receives. Certain law firms work with a quantity-over-quality theory of handling clients.  What I mean by that is that certain firms will take as many cases as they can, do little to build the case (as discussed above), and eventually settle.  The claimant/plaintiff ends up receiving significantly less than had they hired somebody else.  The right attorney, who builds the case with the right evidence will maximize a payout to their client.

I plan on discussing more “confessions” in the near future.  However, if you have immediate questions about any of the information discussed above, please contact a knowledgeable attorney.