Why Do Personal Injury Cases Go to Trial?
After a serious car crash or major injury, most people are ready to move on with their lives as quickly as possible. This often means securing a settlement that covers expenses, usually with a little left over. It’s the fastest, most efficient way to get the compensation that pays the bills and helps begin the process of putting the accident in the past.
But sometimes, insurance companies won’t play ball. They deny a claim, refuse to settle within the policy limits, or fail to pay the fair value of the claim. They may even act unethically. Any of these actions can result in a bad faith lawsuit, and at Hudson King, most of the cases we try before juries involve bad faith situations where the insurance company refuses a fair offer to settle the case. When an insurance company acts in bad faith, they, not their insured, become responsible for the entire verdict – regardless of the insurance company’s policy limits.
What’s at stake when you go to trial?
While it’s important to have a personal injury attorney who will go to court, taking a case to trial isn’t something to be done lightly. There’s always risk involved, both for the plaintiff and for the insurance company.
For the client, the contingency fee pay structure common among personal injury lawyers means that there won’t be out-of-pocket legal expenses associated with a trial. A trial will, however, take more time, sometimes adding months or even years to the case’s resolution. There’s also the chance, even if it’s unlikely, that the court won’t give a fair award.
For insurance companies, the legal bills begin piling up as soon as a case goes to court. This is why insurers will settle when the cost of litigation seems too high. It’s also always possible that the court could end up awarding the plaintiff far more than the original settlement request.
Ideally, a personal injury lawyer will be able to use his or her expertise to fairly judge what a case is worth and share a goal settlement range with the client. On the opposing side, a lawyer for an insurance company will estimate what the company stands to lose if the case goes to trial. When the ranges overlap, and when the insurance company is acting in good faith, the plaintiff gets a settlement that’s fair, avoiding the delay and risk of a trial.
What about a bad faith lawsuit?
When the insurer is deceptive, or when the insurer refuses to settle the claim, the only realistic option is to take the case to court. Unfortunately, bad faith actions are something we see regularly in South Georgia. Insurance companies will sometimes attempt to undervalue injuries in this part of the state, assuming they’re not worth the value they’d hold in other parts of the country. This isn’t fair for clients who are facing devastating medical bills and potentially long-term or even life-long care. In this situation, taking a case to court is in the best interests of the client, and, because policy limits are no longer a consideration after a bad faith lawsuit, the client stands to gain considerably more.
Bad faith insurance lawyer
If you’re hurt and it wasn’t your fault, the personal injury attorneys at Hudson King are here to help. We have insurance company experience, and we know when an insurer is acting in bad faith. Contact us today at 229-396-5845 for a free consultation.
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Contact us today for a free consultation. Our contingency fee pay structure means you won’t pay fees until you receive the compensation you deserve.