THE CONSEQUENCES OF HAVING LOST THE PR WAR
Recently met with a new client who was had been injured in an automobile collision. The other driver was insured by a carrier lawyers often describe as a “substandard”. The “substandard” designation is essentially code. First, it means that the available coverage is probably the minimum acceptable under the law. Secondly it means that the carrier will never, under any circumstances engage in any meaningful pre-suit settlement discussions. And finally it means that the carrier will hire a law firm that delights in doing everything possible to make the entire litigation experience miserable for all concerned. I was in the process of explaining all of this to the client when he interrupted, and told me that many years ago he had filed suit against a similar carrier. The case had gone to trial and he lost. When I explained that if he faced the same ritual if he went forward with another lawsuit, he hesitated, and then informed me that he would rather, and I quote, “…enjoy a public prostate exam”. He decided not to go forward. Based upon my experience, I can’t argue with his decision. His situation reflects a sad fact of life for trial attorneys. The insurance industry and their minions have decisively prevailed in the battle of public opinion. They have managed to convince consumers[i.e. jurors]that automobile cases that don’t feature devastating, obvious injuries are nothing more than “whiplash” cases and, as a result, shouldn’t be taken very seriously. As a result, lots of people, with painful, permanent injuries caused by the carelessness of another driver are not compensated appropriately, if they are compensated at all. And that isn’t likely to change.