What can we conclude by these insurance company decisions?

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Latest post Wed, Apr 12 2017 4:45 PM by DanWard. 110 replies.
  • Wed, Mar 23 2016 8:43 AM In reply to

    • DanWard
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    Re: What can we conclude by these insurance company decisions?

    adjuster jack:

     

    a. Here's one - You sue both drivers. The jury finds only one driver at fault but awards you $50,000. That second policy goes out the window because the second driver was absolved. The insurance company pays the policy limit of $25k on behalf of the at-fault driver and you get to figure out how to collect the rest from the at-fault driver, whose option is bankruptcy if necessary.

    b. If the lawyer can't convince you to settle for the $30,000 he may just withdraw rather than sue.

    a. Is that why the company shared the liability.                                                                                    Their lawyer could argue in court that one driver should be absolved but the plaintiff's lawyer can argue "why did you share liability" only now to go the other way? One local attorney said it was not in their interest to share liability. I doubt it was a favor to the injured. If so then the local attorney is right, it was a bad move on their part. That implies it is some advantage for the insurance company since their "team" took 3 weeks to make the decision, maybe with consultation with an in-house lawyer.

    b. It was said that a settlement can be reached up to the date of court. If there was withdrawal why would they withdraw if the plaintiff could then agree to the 30 offered. If pulled off the table (the 30) the injured could find another attorney who could walk into a 30 settlement and 33% of that with little effort because it was already offered based on all the criteria.

  • Wed, Mar 23 2016 10:53 AM In reply to

    Re: What can we conclude by these insurance company decisions?

    DanWard:
    a. Is that why the company shared the liability.  

    I have no clue. I can only speculate. It's possible that two files were opened simply because there were two of their insured people involved and would have nothing to do with the end result.

    DanWard:
    Their lawyer could argue in court that one driver should be absolved but the plaintiff's lawyer can argue "why did you share liability" only now to go the other way?

    Actually, that question cannot be brought up in court because it's insurance related and insurance discussions are not permitted.

    The plaintiff would have to prove the negligence of both drivers and the defense would have to defend for one or the other. Any discussion of the "claim process" would be objected to and not permitted.

    DanWard:
    it was a bad move on their part. That implies it is some advantage for the insurance company

    Again, that process has NOTHING to do with your claim or how much money you get. You keep reading way too much into this two file business.

    DanWard:
    b. It was said that a settlement can be reached up to the date of court. If there was withdrawal why would they withdraw if the plaintiff could then agree to the 30 offered. If pulled off the table (the 30) the injured could find another attorney who could walk into a 30 settlement and 33% of that with little effort because it was already offered based on all the criteria.

    Many personal injury lawyers don't want to litigate small claims because of the cost that they have to pay up front. Those costs are explained in your other post:

    http://community.lawyers.com/forums/t/169353.aspx

    I'm not saying that a lawyer "will" withdraw, just that it's possible that one might withdraw (or threaten to) if a claimant doesn't accept the offered settlement. Obviously, if the claimant accepts the settlement, there's no need for the litigation, so the lawyer doesn't have to pressure the client into settling.

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    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • Wed, Mar 23 2016 11:50 AM In reply to

    • DanWard
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    Re: What can we conclude by these insurance company decisions?

    Only one of their drivers was injured and that driver was cited by police. Their second driver was not cited by police but the insurance company chose to share the liaiblity between the two. I guess it would be hard for the plaintiff to show negligence on driver two because the police report clears them.

    If there is an offer and the lawyer wants the plaintiff to take it and they do not and the lawyer withdraws what prevents the plaintiff from re-negotiating the same offer with another attorney. No one who is injured would want to be devasted because they were under pressure to accept offer and their lawyer withdrew.

  • Wed, Mar 23 2016 8:13 PM In reply to

    Re: What can we conclude by these insurance company decisions?

    DanWard:
    Only one of their drivers was injured and that driver was cited by police. Their second driver was not cited by police but the insurance company chose to share the liaiblity between the two. I guess it would be hard for the plaintiff to show negligence on driver two because the police report clears them.

    The police report has nothing to do with establishing liability of anybody because the officer didn't see the accident. He cited a driver based on his "belief." He is not likely to be testifying in court and if he did, his testimony would be limited to what he saw and not what he speculated.

    An insurance company might use a police report to obtain details but a liability determination would be based on an investigation of the circumstances, interviews with the participants, examination of the vehicles and even if the company accepted liability for one or both drivers that information would not be admissable at trial.

    DanWard:
    If there is an offer and the lawyer wants the plaintiff to take it and they do not and the lawyer withdraws what prevents the plaintiff from re-negotiating the same offer with another attorney.

    That doesn't make sense. If he was getting the same offer why wouldn't he have accepted it through the first attorney?

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • Fri, Mar 25 2016 12:29 PM In reply to

    • DanWard
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    Re: What can we conclude by these insurance company decisions?

    Some of the comments that have been made could help other people. Let me ask a question that could apply to different auto accident claims and scenarios. If the policy limits on injury are, for example, 15 like it is in Pennsylvania, can the insurance company offer a settlement of 16,500 though the policy limits are 15? The question is not "why would they" but rather, "can" they. Not as a result of a court verdict but a settlement beforehand.

    Is this thread the place for posting general questions that could apply to many types of auto accident claims since there are so many different rules state by state?

  • Fri, Mar 25 2016 2:43 PM In reply to

    Re: What can we conclude by these insurance company decisions?

    DanWard:
    If the policy limits on injury are, for example, 15 like it is in Pennsylvania, can the insurance company offer a settlement of 16,500 though the policy limits are 15?

    It COULD but ONLY with the consent of its insured and the committment by that insured to pay the additional $1500. Without that consent and committment the insurance company would be precluded by the policy from offering more than the policy limits.

    As a practical matter, this consent and committment isn't likely to happen because anybody carrying the minimum required limits isn't likely to have that kind of money available. And any adjuster who solicits that kind of thing is almost guaranteed to get fired for doing so. 

    DanWard:

    Is this thread the place for posting general questions that could apply to many types of auto accident claims since there are so many different rules state by state?

    No.

    Any person with a specific problem should start his/her own thread.

    And this thread should be confined to your accident and your claim so we don't end up losing focus on the issues at hand.

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • Sat, Mar 26 2016 3:34 PM In reply to

    • DanWard
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    Re: What can we conclude by these insurance company decisions?

    adjuster jack:

    Any person with a specific problem should start his/her own thread.

    And this thread should be confined to your accident and your claim so we don't end up losing focus on the issues at hand.

    The question is about withdrawal so it could apply to any claim. Ask in a new question?

     

  • Sat, Mar 26 2016 6:04 PM In reply to

    Re: What can we conclude by these insurance company decisions?

    Go ahead and ask it here since it's been mentioned here.

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • Sun, Mar 27 2016 8:24 AM In reply to

    • DanWard
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    Re: What can we conclude by these insurance company decisions?

    adjuster jack:
     Many personal injury lawyers don't want to litigate small claims because of the cost that they have to pay up front. It's possible that one might withdraw (or threaten to) if a claimant doesn't accept the offered settlement. Obviously, if the claimant accepts the settlement, there's no need for the litigation, so the lawyer doesn't have to pressure the client into settling. 

    Generaly speaking, as it could apply to any case, is the following true? 

    If a lawyer withdraws it will be very difficult for someone to find another to accept the case. The reason is if a new lawyer takes it, they will have to pay the first (the one that withdrew) lawyer's fees from the settlement or any court award, and then deduct their (the new lawyer) fees.

    If that is true it seemingly results in fees of 33% x two (??) which could be devastating to any injured person who has alot of unpaid medical bills that insurance does not pay for.

     

  • Sun, Mar 27 2016 9:38 AM In reply to

    Re: What can we conclude by these insurance company decisions?

    Yes, it's true.

    But a withdrawal is rarely initiated by the attorney unless it's one of those ambulance chaser types that advertise on TV.

    A reputable attorney will have a contingency agreement that contemplates litigation and will have two fees specified. One percentage for a settlement without going to court and a higher percentage if court is required.

    When you hire an attorney make sure you get a written contingency fee agreement, read it thoroughly, and understand it before you sign it. Don't hesitate to ask questions.

    Do you have an attorney yet?

    How's your recovery coming along?

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • Sun, Mar 27 2016 8:17 PM In reply to

    Re: What can we conclude by these insurance company decisions?

    adjuster jack:

    A reputable attorney will have a contingency agreement that contemplates litigation and will have two fees specified. One percentage for a settlement without going to court and a higher percentage if court is required.

    I disagree with your implication that an attorney using some other contigent fee arrangment than a two tier agreement is not reputable. There are a variety of possible contingent fee agreements and there are reputable attorneys that use each of them. The most common type of agreement will vary from place to place in this country; there is not a single type that is standard nationwide. 

  • Sun, Mar 27 2016 8:24 PM In reply to

    Re: What can we conclude by these insurance company decisions?

    DanWard:

    Generaly speaking, as it could apply to any case, is the following true? 

    If a lawyer withdraws it will be very difficult for someone to find another to accept the case. The reason is if a new lawyer takes it, they will have to pay the first (the one that withdrew) lawyer's fees from the settlement or any court award, and then deduct their (the new lawyer) fees.

    If that is true it seemingly results in fees of 33% x two (??) which could be devastating to any injured person who has alot of unpaid medical bills that insurance does not pay for.

    The client wouldn't likely end up having to pay 66% in legal fees in that situation, and that’s part of the problem. Figuring out what each attorney is entitled to get out of a contingent fee arrangement can become a battle. How this plays out depends very much on the rules of professional responsibilty in the state where the litigation is taking place.

    The problem with finding a new lawyer isn't just possible squabbling over fees. It is also that a new lawyer will be reluctant to take on a case that is already started because he or she may end up inheriting problems that the prior attorney created and getting a case that may have started with a different strategy than the one the new lawyer would rather use. Each lawyer likes to handle the case in their own way, and having to step in when a case is already started means having to figure out what the other attorney had done so far and then figure out how to fix with any problems and change the course of the case more to his/her liking. I generally won't do it either, for similar reason though my cases are not personal injury cases and are not on contingent fee so at least the fee issue isn't a problem for me.  

  • Mon, Mar 28 2016 11:48 AM In reply to

    • DanWard
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    Re: What can we conclude by these insurance company decisions?

    Our agreement is one page. We did not read it before signing. I assumed they did not create one for us that would be different than others. As I read it the settlement fee is 33% and the lawsuit fee is 40%. Property depreciation fee is 25%. We settled the property damage on our own. I hope they do not expect or plan to get 25%.

    Handling of medical payments fee is no more than $125. The lawyer implied they could negotiate the medical bills down. What sort of % could be hoped for?

    It mentions a structured settlement and the legal fee calculated based some value.

    They can withdraw if they feel the case is no longer feasible to go forward.

    The client can withdraw and if it is before any recovery then they get payment for services and it mentions their per hour rate. If the client later settles then "a" fee is owed based on quantum meruit.

    If client withdraws after an offer and later accept that offer, then they get the 33%.                                        ------------------------------------------------------------------

    That last phrase brings back a question.

    Here is a hypothical situation: Jane Doe is injured in an accident. Her lawyer pushes her to take the latest offer. She is reluctant to do so and the lawyer withdraws. Now what does she do?

    She discusses the matter with her husband John and she concludes that she should have taken the offer. Can she contact the insurance company to agree to take the rejected offer? How long do people have to accept a rejected offer after the lawyer withdraws?

    This withdrawal process is very disturbing as to how it can work. Insurance company and lawyer can force low offer on the injured. The insurance company knows say 80% the lawyer does not want court and the lawyer does not either for various reasons. Therefore the company makes a low offer, the lawyer intimidates, then withdraws becaure the injured did not take the low offer. What incentive does the company have to make a fair offer if they know the lawyer does not want a suit? Company and lawyer may feel the low offer is fair and threaten withdrawal. Not good for people who are injured in accidents every day in this country. 

    Does it take a large legal firm to fight for every last dollar for the injured? 

  • Sat, Oct 1 2016 10:48 AM In reply to

    • DanWard
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    Re: What can we conclude by these insurance company decisions?

    If there are two drivers who have been declared liable by the insurance company and they are sharing the liability, we thought we had one claim. And the company represented both of them, even though the two driver's had their policies with different agencies of the same company. 

    Now we are told that we have two claim numbers, one with one driver and one with another.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    How does this change the sharing of liability?

    A. One claim number with the insurance company and their two drivers.                                                               B. Two claim numbers vs. two drivers (same company)

  • Sat, Oct 1 2016 11:48 AM In reply to

    Re: What can we conclude by these insurance company decisions?

    DanWard:

    How does this change the sharing of liability?

    A. One claim number with the insurance company and their two drivers.                                                               B. Two claim numbers vs. two drivers (same company)

    It doesn’t change it whatsoever. The claim numbers are just an internal procedure for the insurance company. The insurance company will still make its determination of liability between its two insureds based on the facts relating to the accident. All you care about, as the injured party, is what total compensation you may get from the insurance company if it offers to settle the matter. The administrative details of how the insurance company processes your claim isn’t something you really need to know or care about. 

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