Questions to Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer – Part 3
Question: Do you try cases?
The next question that I think is a really wise question to ask any lawyer that you interview for your personal injury case is, do you try cases?
So if you’re like the typical person that I see in my office, they have a serious thing happen to them, they’ve been injured, a family member has died, they’ve had a bad episode in a hospital or a doctor’s office. And when they come in here and I gather information from them, eventually we get around to talking about the likelihood of settlement, trial, that sort of thing. And most people, I’m sure you’re the same- most people are not anxious to try their lawsuit. The court room kind of scares people. So let me give you some statistics.
First of all, in excess of 90% of personal injury cases settle before trial. If a case goes to trial, it’s because you have instructed your lawyer that you want that case tried. The lawyer doesn’t make that decision. Okay, we make recommendations, but you’re the one that tells us whether you want this case to go to trial. We’ll advise you, but it’s your decision in the end. So you might be saying, well, why do I want a lawyer that tries his cases? I don’t want to try my case. I want to settle my case. Here’s why. And again, like the first question we raised and answered for you, this is common sense.
You’re dealing with an adversary process here. You’re on one side. You’ve had an injury. The insurance company or the corporate entity is on the other side. It’s adversary. They want to pay you as little as they possibly can. Those adjusters wake up every morning thinking about how they’re going to settle your case for as little as possible money. That’s how they keep score, quite frankly.
So if you are with a lawyer that never tries cases, what does that tell the adjuster who is on the other side of your case, who’s placing a value on your case? What it tells that adjuster is very simple; that if they just hold out until the end, if your lawyer doesn’t try cases, your lawyer, it’s a fact, he or she is going to settle for that last offer. That last offer is probably not going to be a very good offer for you because if you don’t try cases you’re not keeping the other side honest.
It doesn’t have to be your case but your lawyer should have a track record of trying and winning jury verdicts because that keeps insurance companies honest. It keeps the settlement values fair for the plaintiff.Â Lawyers that don’t try cases don’t settle for top dollar, that’s just common sense. If you think about it I think you’ll agree with me.