Thursday, January 25, 2018

Bad Insurance Adjusting on Car Crash

I filed a lawsuit against a Shelter Insured in December of 2016.  My client had 20K in medical expenses and the insurance company offered me 3.5K.  I sued them.  They called back and offered 7K of their 25K policy.  A few weeks ago their lawyer called me up asking if I would take 15K of the 25K policy if she could get Shelter to pay it.  I told her no and my client was owed the entire policy.  On Monday I received an email letting me know they were tendering the entire policy.

There is a real problem if you are an insurance adjuster attempting to pay 3.5K on a case that eventually gets resolved for 25K.  Nothing changed as far as damages and it isn't the first time I have dealt with this adjuster.  Three months ago I resolved a case in litigation for 40K after the adjuster offered me 14K pre-suit. 

Now every time I see this adjuster on a file I'm filing a lawsuit.  She has lost all credibility and I feel bad for her insureds.  Rant over.

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Thursday, January 4, 2018

Your "Bulldog" Lawyer Is Terrible

I have a client that was referred to me by a lawyer in Florida (I'm licensed in both states).  The Florida lawyer needed co-counsel in Kentucky so we are both working on the case.  The client has a serious injury and her insurance company won't pay her enough...imagine that.  I've been called in to litigate the case in a rural Kentucky Community.

As I was initially discussing the case with my new client she told me that she hired the Florida Lawyer because he was a "bulldog" negotiator (he doesn't advertise as so and is a really nice guy/well respected lawyer).  She had seen him negotiate a real estate contract in Florida and thought he did a good job.  I guarantee the Florida Lawyer did do a good job on that that time in that manner with that opposing counsel.

As a result of the bulldog negotiation on the Florida real estate contract the client wanted the same type of scorched earth, yell loud, "really give it to the insurance company lawyer" stance from me.  This got me to thinking about whether or not it’s helpful to be a jerk as a lawyer.  It isn't.  

This does not mean that a lawyer should lie down or refuse to negotiate in a tactful, strong willed manner.  If I have a disagreement with another lawyer I'm going to state my case.  I'm not going to bend or move off what I believe to be correct and true.  

What it does mean is that calling up the defense lawyer and yelling at him about the value of a case and demanding he pay now or "face the consequences" is a complete waste of time.

Think about it this way: Do you respond positively to people that are absurd, rude, loud, or unreasonable?  Will you listen to someone and give in if they yell louder than you?  If your answer to the latter is yes, please don't become a lawyer :)

I can think of one lawyer working the defense bar that is a real piece of work.  His emails are borderline comical with the absurdity.  They are basically just threats without any backing.  I've asked him before if his emails are really his emails or if he is showing off for his clients.  He won't give me a straight answer.  I've basically stopped responding to him unless I have to and I'm more inclined to fight him because he is a jerk (maybe I have a tint of spitefulness).  His “bulldog” attitude harms his clients.   

I understand, it’s a marketing gimmick to argue you are a "bulldog" lawyer.  I have a feeling that a lot of the lawyers advertising like this really don't act like it.  Yet, there is a certain type of client that buys into this nonsense.  Here is a question for that type of client: What makes you think your bulldog lawyer isn't going to bully you into taking less on your case?  Does being a jerk only apply to others? 

In this case, I know the lawyer on the other side.  A "bulldog" lawyer isn't going to work.  Opposing counsel isn't a jerk and if I start yelling at him he's going to think I'm crazy.  I'm going to negotiate with him in a tactful manner without being a jerk.  This will lead to the best result for my client.  

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