In this article we’ll explore why senior lawyers will choose to go to trial when mediation stalls or won’t provide just compensation for the client, rather than be given the runaround by the insurance company’s team of lawyers. We’ll provide a lawyer-backed presentation of the Top 3 Reasons cases to go to trial and then, in Part 2, the Top 3 Reasons they don’t (and don’t have to).
In 2018’s What Your Lawyer is Doing When They’e Not Calling You Back we explored everything that goes into preparing a successful case for a client and the time, hard work, and dedication accident lawyers invest in each and every case they accept. The hours spent working on a case for a client are never considered wasted, however, one of the most important but less frequently discussed skills that any experienced lawyer possesses is that of time management–and how they apply it to successful case outcomes. What does that mean, exactly? Read on to find out!
Reason #1: Alternative Dispute Resolution methods have stalled
This reasoning may be the most obvious, but it’s worth exploring in depth. When a case stalls during mediation, and the offers of a settlement amount being offered to the client are unjust or in some cases, outrageously low, a lawyer will not continue to waste his or her time, and the client’s, by allowing the insurance company’s team of lawyers to give them the runaround. If dollar amount after dollar amount has been unfair to the client, a senior lawyer knows when to say “when”; in this case, “when” would be “when are we going to trial?”
The best accident lawyers never like to go straight to trial if other, less time consuming and less costly options are available. Mediation is an option that many accident lawyers prefer, because it provides the client with the justice they deserve with as little mental anguish added to their injuries as possible. The idea that every lawyer wants to see the inside of a courtroom for every case is simply not true. While lawyers must be experienced and ready to take any case to trial at any time, senior lawyers know that a successful case is not based on muscling their way in front of a judge. If a case can settle in mediation and the settlement offer is truly fair, and provides justice for the client, that’s the method of dispute resolution the lawyer will take.
Reason #2: Deny, Delay, Don’t Pay is being used against the client
Another reason, and one we’ve discussed at length in various other write-ups, that a case will go to trial is Deny, Delay, Don’t Pay. This tactic is used to bully the victim into giving up the fight instead of collecting the financial compensation owed to them. Without an experienced lawyer representing them, a victim may be forced to give up after the insurance company denies their rightful claim, because they feel they have no recourse. When an experienced lawyer accepts this type of case, they’ll know it may very likely go to trial. There are insurance companies that will never offer a fair settlement, no matter what’s presented during Discovery.
In the case of a continuous Deny, Delay, Don’t Pay war waged for no other reason than simply “that’s what insurance companies do”, a Board Certified lawyer will begin to prepare for trial rather than waste time (remember: the Statute of Limitations exists in the state of Florida). “DDD” isn’t new to lawyers who have spent years representing clients successfully. After going in the trenches with the client and being presented with the challenge of an insurance company’s team of corporate lawyers, a senior lawyer will know exactly what needs to be done to prepare their case–and their client–for the courtroom.
Reason #3: the client sustained catastrophic injuries such as a TBI
In the case of injuries so severe the client has sustained lifelong pain and suffering and will likely never fully recover (either quality of life or cognitive function; or both), an experienced lawyer may not spend too long (or at all) on mediation. While each case differs as per the injuries sustained and their level of severity, cases such as Traumatic Brain Injury or Spinal Cord Injury related accidents will go in front of a judge.
A lawyer’s reasoning for this can be easily explained as follows: the only way to properly, justly, and fairly compensate a client for an injury from which they may never regain full quality of life, as well as continue to suffer extreme lifelong pain is to allow a judge and jury to rule on not only the amount compensation, but to recover damages as well. The amount a judge can rule on to be awarded to the client can usually be higher in the case of catastrophic injuries or wrongful death, then anything that the insurance company would willingly agree upon during a mediation. This is because it’s the insurance company’s “job” to “push paper” and deny claims.
Personal Injury cases are marathons–not sprints–for the experienced
Each and every case takes time, dedication, hard work, and patience. These attributes are required by both lawyer and client; learning to work together for the goal of justice and the restoration of quality of life after an accident should be the goals kept in mind. Financial compensation is rewarding, of course, because the client deserves a verdict or settlement that provides for their loss, pain, and suffering.
However, the best lawyers in the practice of Personal Injury law know when and what is best for their client. A mediocre, or a younger lawyer may want to elbow their way into a courtroom, only to find a judge dismissed or wouldn’t hear a case that could’ve settled fairly during mediation. But, an experienced senior lawyer that’s been Board Certified to practice Personal Injury law won’t ever make that mistake, or the opposite mistake, which is to say they won’t simply end up settling during mediation for an amount that could’ve been ruled higher during trial. Personal Injury law is a complex area of law that requires thorough, researched decisions that cannot be made by a young lawyer alone.
Even the best senior lawyers today were once young and learned from their older mentors.