Hi. I’m Roger Ghai and I wanted to talk today a little bit about a question that we sometimes get about filing lawsuits and that procedure and that type of a thing. The first question that really needs to be asked is why am I filing the lawsuit? Primary answer is the insurance company is not treating you fairly. There are several insurance companies, big ones, small ones, varieties and the whole in between, that will test your lawyer. What I mean by that is this, if your lawyer does not file a lawsuit or is not known for filing a lawsuit, you might get an offer from an insurance company that is like, for example, in a small case, $3,000 or $5,000. Sometimes the insurance companies play around and they don’t even want to offer you your medical bills.
In fact, just yesterday there was an insurance company where the client had significant property damage to her vehicle. Her medical bills were not enormous, just three or $4,000. The insurance company offered her a whopping $2,000, so it’s not necessarily that the lawyer… I’m not litigation happy and just file from nonsense, but when they’re not willing to properly compensate the client for the client’s lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses, they really put our back against the wall. A lot of times what’s really going on with the insurance company is they know that lawyers are a dozen, they’ll recommend the settlement to the client. They know that the clients need the money. Okay. That’s one of the tactics, that’s one of the psychological leverage tactics that they use against the lawyer and the the client. Sometimes if you don’t file lawsuits, you wouldn’t know this. Or if you don’t have a lawyer who files lawsuits, you wouldn’t know this.
A lot of times what will happen is when I get a terrible offer from an insurance company, I don’t get upset. No sense of getting upset. Nobody’s paying me to get upset. But what I do do is I respond very quickly. We will go ahead and file a lawsuit. More likely than not, 50, 60, 70% of the time, we’ll get a little more respect from the insurance company. They’ll call me right away and they’ll say, “Well, what’s it going to take to get this case resolved?” Because once we file the lawsuit, they legally have to file… the defendant has to file an answer through the insurance company’s attorneys and there’s like a 30 day window, sometimes more, to negotiate the case. In the example I just gave you, I will not be surprised if the insurance calls me up next week or whenever we get the defendant served and the conversation will go something like this.
“Well, I see that you served my insured on this. Maybe we undervalued the case. What will it take to get the case resolved?” I’ll very happily say, “It’ll take X number of dollars.” And more likely than not, the case will conclude, but it can’t conclude when the insurance company is offering not even the amount of the client’s medical expenses. These are just some of the games that the insurance companies play. It’s not the lawyers fault all the time that these cases get filed, it’s just the nature of the business because we’re dealing with a highly profitable insurance industry.
If you have any questions about your case and whether a lawsuit has to be filed or how long it might take, please call my office at 770-792-1000.