California Truck Accidents: Will Your Attorney Really Go To Bat For You?
UPDATED: February 16, 2020
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When you've been in a California truck accident and need to hire an attorney, make sure that you hire someone who will go to bat for you. That means being tough with insurance companies who want nothing more than to settle your case for pennies on the dollar.
California Attorney Barry J. Simon
Barry J. Simon, a California personal injury attorney who has been a tort litigator representing victims against insurance and other large companies for nearly 30 years, goes to bat for his clients all the time. He provided information on one of his recent cases:
The difference [between California car accident and] truck accident case is that the truck accidents and injuries tend to be a lot more serious and the minimum required insurance for interstate trucking is $750,000. I handled an interstate truck case out of Texas a couple of years ago and settled it for $750,000. It's interesting because I was just trying to help the victim by giving him some advice on what to do and it turned out I ended up taking his case (great client) and settled it for $750,000 without litigation.
Insurers Low-Balling Claims & Forcing Litigation
Simon told us that while about 95 percent of cases settle before trial, insurance companies have found a way to make even more profit by low balling claims and forcing litigation. He explained:
They have always done that but I have noticed they are even worse in today’s climate. If it’s a soft tissue injury and the lawyer is willing to compromise a lot, they’ll settle it. If not, it’s a tough call on how far to take the matter – especially with smaller cases as you've got to weigh the costs with the possibility that the victim may get less if they litigate. However, most of the larger cases settle before trial – sometimes right before, which is why it's so important to hire an attorney who will litigate a case.
Don't Settle for Less
There are many attorneys out there who will take on numerous cases and just settle them without getting a reasonable offer which many times means the case has to be litigated, according to Simon, who says that they tend to deal in volume rather than on principle:
I’ve always objected to that. I’ve never had a big case load. I keep it small so that I can put 200 percent into my cases. I think it’s really important when looking for a lawyer to look for somebody who’s a trial lawyer and who knows how to litigate because you get the best settlements that way. Insurance companies know that, and if you hire a lawyer whom they know will settle only, chances are that they'll offer you a lot less money.
Simon, a California car accident lawyer who has helped hundreds of injured clients over the years, says that he can understand why attorneys wouldn’t want to litigate. “It’s a lot of stress. It costs a lot of money. It’s like gambling in a way. There’s a lot of risk involved, but the satisfaction I get from going to trial and helping people is worth it most of the time.”