The Role of Insurance Companies in Car Accident Litigation
All states require car owners to obtain what is known as comprehensive general liability (or “CGL”) insurance. This insurance ensures that car crash victims will have access to at least some compensation in a settlement or verdict against a driver causing injury.
The terms of the insurance policy require the insurer to do two things: defend the insured (the car owner) against any claims concerning accidents, and pay, up to the policy limits, for any damages caused by their insured driver. This first duty is referred to as the “duty to defend,” and the second duty is referred to as the “duty to pay.”
When a car crash occurs and litigation is threatened or initiated, the insurance company of the driver alleged to be at fault will then assume the defense of the lawsuit on behalf of their insured driver. Usually, a claims adjuster or another person at the insurance company will take control and make decisions on behalf of the insured defendant driver for most matters. The insurance company will also retain defense counsel.
What Does the Insurance Company for the Responsible Driver Want?
The insurance company for the driver responsible for your accident will first and foremost want to minimize their liability. In this regard, they may dispute the evidence regarding accident causation, blame you or others for causing the accident, or seek to delay the litigation process and possible settlement.
Insurance companies have internal protocols regarding defense and settlement of car accident cases. Usually, these protocols concern matters such as establishing liability (how clear the plaintiff’s case is) and damages (how severely was the plaintiff injured, and whether such injuries are expected to be permanent).
Before making a meaningful settlement, proof regarding liability and damage matters must be presented to the insurance company in such a way that such evidence will likely be overwhelmingly in favor of the plaintiff if a trial ensues.
Will the Plaintiff’s Attorney Take the Case to Trial (and What is the Attorney’s Trial Record)?
All lawyers have different records in terms of the percentage of cases that they take to trial and their success rate at trial. Insurance companies usually are familiar with these matters with respect to the plaintiff’s counsel. In my experience, the more likely it is that an attorney will go to trial, and the higher their success rate is, the more likely it is that any insurance company will be willing to offer a higher settlement in order to avoid trial and the possibility of a significant jury verdict against them.
My Record of Car Accident Cases
In representing clients in car accident cases, I understand the level of proof required by insurance companies in order to enter into meaningful settlement negotiations. I know how to establish the degree of evidence to prove liability and damages, not only during the settlement stage, but also during trial.
When I am retained by an injured client, I and my firm work tenaciously to identify all those who may be liable for a car crash, then seek to recover compensation from each of such people based upon their level of responsibility. As a veteran trial attorney with more than 30 years of legal practice, I have recovered millions of dollars for injured plaintiffs, both in settlement and at trial.
Let me help you. Please call my office for a free consultation.
You will not owe any fees during the course of litigation, as I and my firm will only be entitled to a fee if compensation is recovered for you.
“Mark took over my car accident case from another attorney that I fired. Mark worked hard on the case for several months to get ready for trial. Shortly before trial he got a settlement that was six times more than the offer my first lawyer tried to get me to take.“
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