Personal Injury Litigation and Insurance Company Strategy
Insurance Company’s Strategy
The insurance companies often have a big bargaining advantage over you. The money rests in the company’s bank account or investments drawing interest throughout the case. Your lawyer needs to push the firm to release its grip on some of that money. You, on the other hand, may badly need the money to pay your bills and live your life. Or worse, your lawyer may need to settle some cases for his or her own personal reasons. Insurance companies can smell desperation. If the insurance company senses that you or your lawyer are desperate to settle the case, it will make, at most, a small offer.
Insurance companies use different tactics to increase their bargaining power over you. One such tactic is the delay game. The subpoena game is another annoying tactic. Insurance lawyers engage in extended fishing expeditions in which they subpoena documents from every imaginable area of your life, hoping to hassle, embarrass, or find something to use against you.
The insurance company hopes to find damaging information this way. They also use the subpoena game to intimidate plaintiffs into believing that no area of life is private. In reality, if the subpoena game goes too far, your lawyer can seek a protective order from the court prohibiting overly invasive subpoenas. For example, it is improper for the company to subpoena records from your psychologist where you are not making a claim for a psychological injury. Your lawyer should ask the court to quash such a subpoena.
The paper game is another favorite. The insurance company lawyer files essentially meaningless petitions and motions in an attempt to paper to death your lawyer. This tactic is especially useful against overworked plaintiffs’ lawyers. Such a lawyer might be willing to settle for less than full value just to reduce the workload.