The only time that I can say this will happen definitely is when the insurance company is sure that it will wind up paying a judgment – when liability is clear. As a practical matter, this only happens regularly in certain auto accident lawsuits – mainly rear enders, stop sign violations, and lawsuits where everyone agrees on the important facts.
Before an insurance adjuster signs a check, he has to make sure that he has no other choice. That is, he has to know that the person he insured did something wrong, and that someone was hurt as a result. And how bad the injured person was hurt.
His job and his salary depend on his not paying his employer’s money when he doesn’t have to.
So if there’s a witness who sounds pretty good, who says you are in the wrong, that’s probably enough to convince the adjuster that he ought to make you file suit, rather than settling early. The witness might be lying, or might not have seen everything, but the adjuster doesn’t know that.
If you are suing for a medical condition – like a bad back – that can either happen fast, or that can take a long time to develop, the adjuster will bet that something else caused it, unless you have proof otherwise.
(What can proof be? Maybe just producing your medical records for five years before the accident. I have my clients do this all the time, and it works wonders.)
If the lawsuit involves a complicated fact pattern, or one where it’s usually tough to get a verdict – for instance, injuries from falls – you will almost certainly have to file suit. The challenge with falls is that jurors believe that if you watch where you are going, you can see the problem and avoid it.
In a fall lawsuit, the injured person basically has to show that he did not have the opportunity to look (he was legitimately preoccupied, maybe with avoiding other pedestrians or avoiding other obstacles), that he could not see the obstacle (like a clear vegetable oil or detergent slick in a grocery store), or that he could not avoid the problem (like an 88 year old man trying to make it through an automated door as he was leaving a dialysis clinic.)
And he also has to prove that whatever made him fall was there long enough for the peroperty owner to know it was there. All law schools teach about the banana peel cases. If the victim slips on a yellow banana peel, he cannot get any money – because the peel had not been there long enough for the store owner to find it. If the peel was black or even brown when he slipped on it, it’s another story.
A lot of the time, the situation is pretty clear. If the injuries and the fault are obvious, most adjusters will try to settle the lawsuit before it goes to trial. But as you can see, a lot of things can happen to make them think otherwise.
So when I take a lawsuit, I almost always have a clear idea of how I am going to be able to get the case to a trial – on how to make the judge think that a jury ought to decide the case. I want to know how the accident happened, and what made my client suffer the injuries he did – because if I can’t understand it, the insurance company won’t either.
And I can’t count on insurance adjusters agreeing with me.
If you want to know whether the insurance company will settle your lawsuit before you have to file suit, you should call me. I am a Cincinnati personal injury lawyer. I cannot promise anything, but I can try to tell you how the insurance company will look at the lawsuit. And if I agree to take the lawsuit, I will fight for you until they pay a fair amount.
I’d love to talk with you about this. Other lawyers refer their clients to me. And if you decide you‘d rather hire someone else, that’s OK. My phone is 513-621-4775.
Because all situations are different, and because there may be other facts pertaining to your case that I don’t know about, you should not rely on this answer for legal advice. I am not your attorney, and no lawyer client relationship has been formed. All discussions are limited to Ohio law unless otherwise indicated. And past performance cannot be used to predict future results.