In yesterday’s blog,the insurance company had just offered to settle your case for $200,000. If you decide to roll the dice, as they say, or go to trial, the jury is not told the the insurance company offered you $200,000. They start from ground zero. What that means is that their award in the case can be lower than the offer you received. This is the ultimate nightmare for victims of auto accidents, wrongful death or slip and fall cases.  Why? Because by not accepting the highest offer that was made by the insurance company, you are taking a real chance that a jury may not give you what the last offer was.
In addition to that, to make matters even worse, there will be many additional costs involved if you get to the jury trial stage that you did not incur had you accepted the offer. For example, your doctor’s deposition or your surgeon’s deposition would have to be taken. They are more than willing to do that for you. However, they want paid for their time. It is not unusual for the doctor or surgeon to charge up to $5,000 for their deposition. Imagine that, one hour of their time and they are charging $5,000. It is unreal but it really is true.
Using that example above, suppose the offer was $200,000. Suppose you decided that the case is worth more and went to trial. What that would mean is that in order to get back to the amount that the insurance company offered, namely $200,000, you would have to get an award of probably $215,000. Why? Because of these additional expenses. It is not just the doctor’s bills that run up the costs. There are also deposition costs for witnesses. You need to have a court reporter take everything down that the witnesses say so that you have an accurate record of it. You can see how the bills and costs get awfully high quickly.
This is not to say that you should settle every case. In some cases, the offer from the insurance company truly is way too low. In those situations, you should go to trial. One advantage of having Pittsburgh wrongful death and auto accident attorney Bernie Tully on your side is that I will give you an honest assessment as to your chances of winning at a jury trial or getting more than what the offer is. If, for example, you have surgery for your back and are disabled from work and the insurance company offers something like $10,000 for your pain and suffering, then we would definitely advise you to go to trial.
Whether the jury is told that there is on offer of $10,000 or not isn’t really that important under those circumstances. The reason is that we have a really good belief that we would get considerably more than $10,000 by going to trial.
To be continued tomorrow….
Thanks for reading.
Bernie the attorney