To Sue or Not to Sue?

posted by Cory Gourley on Thursday, June 26, 2014

What is the value if I settle and do I need to file a lawsuit? Once again, this question very much depends on the situation.  What expert claimant’s attorneys understand is that claims are valued very differently when being evaluated solely by the insurance company than they are if a lawsuit is pending and a defense attorney is involved. 

What many don’t know is that a claim made directly to an insurance company, let’s say for an injury suffered in a car accident, is likely going to be evaluated by a computer.  Typically for claims submitted prior to filing lawsuit, insurance companies use claims evaluation software that spits out a range within which an adjustor is allowed to settle the claim.    The adjustor then does his or her best to settle for the lowest amount within that range and thereby save the insurance company the most amount of money.  However and very importantly, insurance adjustors are not expected nor will they ensure that the software comes up with the correct range.  All they typically do is input figures that they are provided and oftentimes nothing more.  If some figures are left out, such as wages that an injured person lost as a result of not being able to work during recovery, then so be it.  The insurance company saves money and gets wealthier.  That is why all damages have to be accounted for, corroborated and brought to the adjustor’s attention to ensure that the adjustor inputs all information necessary and thereby gets the appropriate range from the program.  If not, the injured Iowan will NEVER get the full amount to which they are entitled.  Only then, after the appropriate range is obtained by the adjustor, can an attorney who is an effective negotiator get the adjustor to the top of that range.   But if the range is never right in the first place, the injured person is leaving money on the table, and maybe a lot. GRL Law attorneys are educated on how to trigger the claims evaluation software value drivers to ensure that the settlement ranges incorporate all potential damages incurred and therefore provide the highest settlement range possible. Many other attorneys simply do not understand how this software works or what information drives the value ranges produced by claims valuation software.  Some are not even aware that this software is used.

To the contrary, once a lawsuit is filed, the insurance company will bring on an attorney that they use regularly to defend the insurance company’s client, the defendant.  At that point, the claim often switches to a different adjustor who is higher up in the company and has experience with litigation. Further, the defense attorney’s opinions and expertise are considered when valuing the claim.   As you can imagine, convincing an insurance defense attorney of the value of claim is a completely different endeavor than convincing a computer program.  GRL Law has worked with many of the insurance defense firms and attorneys in Iowa and is experienced with what information is important to a defense attorney’s evaluation of an injury claim.  This includes focusing on what evidence a jury is going to hear if the case proceeds to trial.  Defense attorneys in Iowa overall are very good attorneys.  They are also much more adept at understanding what factors are important to Iowa’s jury’s and this can substantial change the value of a claim for the better or the worse.  However, only a ken understanding of the factors of an individual claim and how claims are valued at different stages of the process will allow the best claimant’s attorneys to lead the way to the highest and best resolution for a client
  1. car accident
  2. dog bite
  3. personal injury

About The Author

In the last 6 years alone, Mr. Gourley has obtained verdicts from Iowa juries totaling over 132 million dollars, and those are just the cases that went to trial.  Including settlements, he has recovered tens of millions more fo ... read more