The most common question I hear from my new clients relates to how the case will likely end. Will they see they have been sued, and decide to change course? Conversely, should I trust their threat that under circumstances will they pay our claim, even after we actually win at trial (Tower Hill does this)? When they say, "we will appeal," do they mean it, and if so, how does this look for us?
The reality is, most insurance companies know they would never be able to try all of the cases they have now. Sure, many of them like to say "We should try more of these insurance cases to juries," reflecting a tacit belief they will prevail each time or most of the time. Sure, there are cases they may win, but could they really "try all of them?"
I am thinking this way because of an article I read today in the New York Times suggesting that more and more criminal defendants should demand trials and ignore attempts to plea bargain. Like in criminal cases, many insurers attempt to "claim bargain" with the threat that any attempt to obtain the true value of their insurance claim (for sinkhole damage, storm impact, or water loss) will be met with an aggressive stare into the abyss of the American judicial system.
I say try them all, and let the best claims win. If these carriers really believed they could handle the outcome of "trying more cases," maybe they would make smarter claim decisions. Maybe if they knew each bad decision would end up being evaluated by a jury, they would make choices where they truly balance the outcome. On the other isle, many less experienced insurance lawyers representing policyholders are now finding out that the insurance lawsuits they file are not easy money. How else would so many cases be taken, and so few tried?
In our office, we look for the legitimate claim, where we could try the case. Sometimes, this is hard because we know the insurance company is going to exploit some issue in the case, and never slow down. We commonly refer to this as "let the insurance companies play checkers, and we will play chess."
For a link to the article in the Times, you can click here.