Handling Insurance Cases -4- Opposing Attorney – Your Client

For Insurance Law Attorneys there are two other aspects that are important in the case. 1) opposing counsel and 2) your client.

The relationship with the insurance company lawyer makes a difference as far as how smoothly the case is processed.  Most of the lawyers involved on both sides in first-party insurance cases will have dealt with each other in other cases.

One way of making the case proceed more smoothly for both of you and your clients is getting on the phone and talking to the lawyer.   This happens less with the use of email communications but talking on the phone is much more productive and a good way to work out disputes without having a Judge work it out for you.  Getting in front of a Judge is going to cost more money and there is no assurance of the result.

The scheduling of depositions should be worked out early in the case.  Sometimes this is controlled by an Order from the Court.  To the extent the insurer’s witnesses are deposed first, lawyers should take advantage of getting their testimony on record prior to the testimony of the plaintiff or plaintiff’s expert.

Here is often times the biggest aspect of a case and most important exhibit at trial — The Client!

How does the client present?  An attorney must learn to work with the client’s attributes in a beneficial way.  Preparing them for deposition and direct examination as well as expected lines of questioning by the opposing lawyer.  No lies and no misrepresentations.  Be prepared to answer questions in a way that allows conveyance of the most important aspects of their story.

What about the education level of the client?  In first-party insurance cases, a less educated client can convey a David versus Goliath story-line.  A jury is not likely to hold a person’s educational background against them.  However, a highly educated or business savvy client should be instructed to not talk above the jury.  Their story should be told in a way that is relatable and concise.

Clients should not pretend to be something or someone they are not.  Regardless of who they are or what they do, they should always be courteous and professional, and conduct themselves accordingly during trial.  A jury wants to help them whenever possible if they believe they have been wronged, but they must also work to ensure they do not offend a juror with facial expressions, mannerisms, or other behavior that is frowned upon.

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