A large majority of Rhode Island Car Accident and Personal Injury claims settle prior to litigation. The insurance companies usually prefer to settle prior to litigation. The injured person also wants to get paid as soon as possible. Also, most insurance adjusters and experienced plaintiff’s personal injury Lawyers have a general idea what a case is worth. Why should everyone expend the resources when everyone has a general idea of the final settlement?
Lawsuit settlement before filing the case
When a RI Auto Accident lawsuit is filed, the insurance company has to retain a Rhode Island Attorney to represent their insured. The Insurance companies typically use a Rhode Island Personal Injury defense law firm. When defense counsel receives the lawsuit filing they see a carrot in front of them and the carrot is “billable hours.” The defense Law Firm figures that the insurance company was unable to settle the case so now it is time to litigate. Why should the defense firm try to settle the case when they can get paid thousands and the insurance company was unable to settle the case?
Litigation is filed
After litigation is filed, the case may not settle until defense counsel makes their money. Defense counsel will answer the case and schedule depositions. Defense counsel will send interrogatories for the Plaintiff to answer and will send request for production of documents. The defense firms have high overhead and need to make money. Why settle the case quickly if the insurance company could not settle it? The case may still settle later but not until the personal injury defense lawyers make their money. After all, the defense firm can settle the case years later right before trial, and resolve the case after making thousands of dollars.
If the Plaintiff requests $10,000 and the insurance company offers $6,000, the insurance company would be better off coming up to $8,000 and ending the case rather than pay at least 3,000 of attorney fees and later pay the plaintiff $6,000. The injured party has a vested interest in settling the matter prior to litigation. Litigation may mean a 2-3 year delay in receiving money. The Plaintiff may need the money. Often the plaintiff would rather take less and be guaranteed to get the money quickly.
The Plaintiff attorney has a vested interest in resolving the case prior to litigation. The amount of work that a plaintiff’s attorney must do in litigation takes away resources from other clients. Often, the amount of additional money obtained in litigation does not justify the additional work In the above example, if the insurance company refuses to come up on its $6,000 offer and the plaintiff refuses to go lower then 10k and after 3 years right before trial the case settles for 8k it can be argued that everyone lost. The insurance company lost because it paid out 8k and 4 k to defense counsel for a total of 12k when it could have settled at 8.The Plaintiff lost because he had to wait three years to get his money and has additional out of pocket expenses. The Plaintiff’s attorney lost because he made an additional $666 dollars (1/3 of the additional $2000) but did a lot of extra work. The extra work took valuable resources away from other clients.