Handling Insurance Cases – 3 – Going To Trial

Insurance lawyers know they have to look at every case as if it will go to trial.

An attorney has to always keep the client informed as a reasonable timeline of events such as the initial paperwork or discovery.  Times when to expect to take depositions and attend a mediation also should be discussed.  It seems like insurance companies have become more likely to spend significant amounts of money to defend first-party insurance cases, resulting in extended litigation.  Further, it is nearly impossible to get to trial on the first trial setting.  Never lead a client to believe the insurance company is likely to settle quickly.  Clients get impatient as time goes by.  Keeping them informed helps relieve the anxiety.

When the insurance company hires an expert, the attorney must know what the opinions of that expert and what they will testify about at trial.  This may make the difference between the expert being your worst nightmare or your best witness.  The cost of the deposition is well worth the money spent.  A lot can be learned about the expert from other attorneys who have confronted and this helps to formulate questions to be asked of the expert.  A good expert deposition can help a case get settled.

Whether it is a first-party insurance case or any other case, you have to know your facts.  This means the good facts of the case and the bad facts of the case.  Knowing how to enhance the good facts and work through the bad facts can be the difference between an insurance company verdict and a victory for the client.  Also, the client has to understand the good and bad facts of the case so that they can be advised of the risks and rewards of a trial and knowing the facts helps keep client expectations in check.  It is as important to dwell on the negatives as it is to dwell on the positives of the case.

Always keep digging for information.  While both sides will know most of the key facts at the beginning of the lawsuit or shortly thereafter, the value of a case can be greatly increased by the information discovered through document production and depositions.  If the other side objects to a relevant discovery request a motion to compel should be filed.