Maximizing Settlements (Getting Big Settlements Fast)
At Barrett, Fasig & Brooks, we are always devising ways to serve our clients better. We know our clients want to maximize their settlements, and they also want the resolve their cases as quickly as possible. After years of seminars, consulting, and trial and error, we have developed a system for maximizing settlements and doing it fast. We call our strategy, “Full court press.”
We reviewed our settlements over the last years and learned an interesting fact. On average, litigated cases (cases where we file a complaint with the court and prepare for trial) result in approximately three times the value of a pre-suit settlement (cases where we settle the case without filing a complaint with the court). So, we asked ourselves why attorneys traditionally attempt to settle their cases pre-suit without litigation when they could get three times as much by litigating the case. The answer is simple: many attorneys are lazy and afraid of risk. Litigating a case takes a lot of work and costs a lot of money. The easy and cheap way to handle a case is to settle without litigation. However, many times litigating the case is the best way to serve the client’s best interest. If you have a good case, you should seriously talk to your attorney about whether litigating your case would be the strongest negotiation strategy. At Barrett, Fasig & Brooks, we like to negotiate from a position of strength. The number one most important motivating factor for an insurance company to pay serious money is a trial date. Without an impending trial date, you might get a small settlement offer, but it’s hard to get the insurance carrier to take you seriously.
Another drawback of litigating a case is that it takes time. However, our full court press strategy is designed to reduce the time it takes to litigate a case. First of all, we identify our cases for litigation early in the process. We often file lawsuits within days of signing up a new client. We also send demand letters immediately, demanding the insurance company to pay their insurance policy limits. This puts the insurance company under pressure to either pay the policy limits or risk the possibility of a bad faith claim. If the insurance company fails to tender the policy limits, it may then be on the hook for damages in excess of the policy limits. Then, once we get an answer to our complaint, we go ahead and set the case for trial as soon as possible. We don’t wait for paper discovery to be completed before setting liability witness depositions and depositions of corporate reps. We start setting depositions as soon as we get an answer to our complaint. Once we have a trial date, the court will order mediation. A large percentage of our cases settle at mediation. By utilizing the full court press strategy, we handled one multi-million dollar case which settled in four months. Literally, within four months of signing our client up, we settled the case for an amount that will put more than $7,000,0000 in our client’s bank account over her lifetime. That’s after paying attorney fees and costs. Obviously, not every case will have the same results, but we utilize the same strategy in a large percentage of our cases.