This is the next post in a series discussing dealing with insurance companies in Fort Worth, Texas personal injury cases. The previous post stressed the importance of working with a law firm with the ability to incur significant costs and expenses on your behalf during the settlement and litigation process. Firms lacking the necessary financial resources may be pressured into accepting a less than favorable settlement agreement or may be woefully unprepared if the case proceeds to trial. This article will address another essential factor to consider when choosing an attorney: the firm’s willingness to litigate a personal injury claim. If you or a loved one has been injured in Fort Worth, then contact a personal injury lawyer to represent your interests.
It is important to understand that not all law firms will litigate a personal injury trial. Some firms limit their engagement to the settlement negotiation process. Their role is solely to manage the discussions with the insurance company. If the parties are not able to reach a settlement and the case must proceed through the litigation process, these types of firms will withdraw from the representation. Often the original firm will refer the case to another group in exchange for a referral fee or a share in the ultimate recovery, placing the client in a potentially precarious position. This type of arrangement should be disclosed to the client and discussed before the law firm is engaged.
It is important to understand that reaching a settlement with an insurance company is never a certainty. A law firm’s investigation of the incident and engagement of experts, while initially performed for purposes of settlement negotiations, will ultimately be the basis of evidence used during a trial. A firm that is only interested in settling a case may not be willing to spend the time, effort or money for settlement discussions that a litigation firm would to prepare for litigation. An incomplete or cursory investigation may result in the loss of important time-sensitive evidence that may be needed later. It is not uncommon for “settlement-only” firms to simply drop a case if an insurance company initially denies liability rather than invest in further investigation of the matter. They may also be prompted to suggest that a victim accept a quick settlement for an amount that is lower than a possible recovery at trial. Apart from damaging one’s potential recovery, being forced to hire a new litigation firm after the original firm withdraws could result in delays, inefficiencies, higher legal fees. Given the potential pitfalls of this approach, we highly recommend hiring a firm that is willing to handle the case both in the settlement phase and at trial should one become necessary.
Settlement negotiations and litigation in personal injury matters can be stressful and overwhelming for victims and their families. Uncertainty about the stability and consistency of your legal representation should not be an additional concern. We cannot stress enough the importance of engaging a law firm willing to stick with you throughout the entire process. The firm should be willing to conduct an investigation of the matter and to access the necessary experts to support your case from settlement to trial if necessary. Injured parties should contact a lawyer immediately, regardless of whether the incident took place in Fort Worth, Dallas, or another area.