Don’t Be Afraid to File Suit

In the 35 plus years I have practiced law I have never encountered a client that looked forward to our filing suit against the at-fault party or their insurance company. Granted there is a delay in resolving the legal problem and a certain degree of uncertainty as to the result, but the method of operation or M.O. of insurance companies these days has dramatically increased the number of lawsuits we have to file on behalf of our clients.

Years ago, perhaps one in four or five cases resulted in a lawsuit. Today, roughly 40 percent require filing suit due to unreasonable positions taken or low offers of settlement. Some insurance companies routinely make offers so low that the claimant receives little or no compensation for pain and suffering. In the case of those insurance companies we usually file lawsuits almost 100% of the time.

Getting back to the title of this blog, “Don’t be afraid to file suit,” allow me to cite some statistics that will take some of the fear out of filing suit. The attorneys at Phillips and Lyon keep detailed statistics on all cases that result in a lawsuit. After all, I do not wish to recommend filing suit unless our client is likely to win.

Looking at statistics for December, 2015 we note the following:

  • On average the litigation award was more than double the highest offer made by the insurance company.
  • The average length of time from the date of filing the lawsuit until the claim resolved was 8.8 months
  • In 100% of the cases reported in December, 2015, the award or settlement was greater than the highest offer made by the insurance company before filing the lawsuit.

These statistics vary from month to month, but still overwhelmingly demonstrate that insurance companies that do not treat our clients fairly get beat once a lawsuit is filed. It is therefore important that when you choose a personal injury lawyer, that the firm be prepared to aggressively represent your interests.