If you are ever injured in an accident and decide to make a claim to recover damages, chances are the case will be settled out of court.
Most lawyers who handle injury claims put effort into resolving a case without having to file a lawsuit. On cases where a lawsuit is necessary, attorneys make an effort to settle the case before it actually goes to trial.
There are several reasons for this. The primary one is that lawsuits and trials are expensive. If the lawyer can resolve the case for a reasonable value, a lot of costs can be avoided. And under the legal system in our country, most of these costs can’t be passed on to the other side. So it benefits the person who is injured to attempt to settle their case without having to sue.
However, sometimes it’s necessary to sue to get the other side’s attention. This is because insurance companies often refuse to offer reasonable settlements because they know many people will be afraid to go to court. They use this fact to their advantage.
There is another factor many consumers don’t consider. The insurance companies also conduct research on the attorney you hire. They know many lawyers are not practiced litigators. A lawyer who is not an experienced litigator will be much more likely to push a client into accepting a smaller settlement to avoid court. If a lawsuit if filed, lawyers who don’t see a courtroom very often are much more reluctant to push the case to trial.
Insurance companies know this and use it to their advantage in the negotiation strategy. An experienced litigator will generally recover more in settlement than the lawyer who doesn’t have a reputation of taking cases to trial. The result is many people end up with smaller settlements based on the lawyer they select.
Most injury victims do not investigate a lawyer’s litigation experience before deciding who to hire. Granted, this investigation can be difficult. A lawyer’s website or Internet ads may have inflated claims of big recoveries.
A big recovery may have very little to do with an attorney’s litigation experience. Big dollar recoveries sometimes are just the result of an attorney signing up a serious injury and taking whatever the insurance company offers. Large settlements posted on a site do not mean the lawyer is respected in the legal community as a litigator.
When you decide who to hire, do more than review the claims on a website. Look at reviews from other consumers. Meet with the lawyer and ask about their trial experience. If you decide to meet with more than one attorney, ask one about the other’s trial experience and reputation. The trial experience of the attorney you hire can be a significant factor in your recovery.