I would tend to agree that an attorney could affect how an insurance company evaluates a claim; except I would say that, it really depends who you have involved in your claim more so that whether you have an attorney or not. There are many attorneys there that are merely settlement attorneys, and that want to settle quickly. Some insurance companies know who those attorneys are, and they will treat your claim very much as if you are unrepresented because they know that lawyer is not likely to go to court than you are if you are not represented by a lawyer. Therefore, you need to make sure that you have a competent lawyer that is willing to go to court if necessary, in order to maximize the value of your claim.
A real threat of possibly going to trial does create a tremendous amount of pressure on the insurance company to settle the claim and therefore does enhance the likelihood that a larger settlement will be obtained from the insurance company. That principle really applies if it is a good case or bad. It really does not matter if someone threatens trial or not. The insurance company will pay very little money if any money, for a bad case. When I say a bad case, I mean a case where liability is not good for the person claiming injuries occurred in the accident, and it appears the facts of the case may cause the accident or the medical records are sketchy, and the plaintiff had gaps in their medical care.
Those are the types of cases that end up going to trial because the insurance company will not pay much if any amount for the case and the claimant is forced into trial with a fair chance of losing the trial. In a good case, with a lawyer that is willing to take that case to trial, and the lawyer is aggressive, the insurance company will respond appropriately, and will most likely increase the value of the claim to get the case settled. They do not want to go to court and spend money on a trial lawyer with experts knowing that they may lose.
It makes a huge difference in attorneys negotiating skills in these cases because what an insurance company offers will prompt the insurance company to negotiate from a position of good faith when they know that if they do not settle, they are likely to face a jury. If they know they have someone who knows what they are doing in negotiating or litigating a claim, they are much more likely to want to try to get the case settled in a proper fashion, and the least amount of time.
Once the case is filed, the other side will answer the petition in a formal responsive pleading, and then most likely they will do what is called written discovery. This is where they ask the plaintiff formal questions. This is done in writing, and as the plaintiff, or the person who filed the case to produce documents that support the case. The next step after written discovery is exchanged between both parties, which is the deposition of the plaintiff, and the defendant. This is taken and any other important factual witnesses will be deposed as well, and both sides in the litigation get an idea of how strong, or weak their cases or arguments are. Typically, mediation might take place with an attempt in a structured setting to get the case settled in front of a mediator.
The biggest factor that causes a case to go into litigation is that the plaintiff is not a good witness or the defendant is an excellent witness. Another factor is that the facts of the case support, or appears to support the defense in their assertion that the plaintiff was more at fault than the defendant was. Another factor that comes into play towards litigation is there are large gaps in medical treatment, and the doctors treating the plaintiff do not support those facts in those reports, or in the deposition testimony, that the plaintiff’s case theory about what injuries they suffered in the collision, and how those injuries affected them, caused them to suffer. Those are the main factors that seem to come into play that result in cases going to trial.