A bad economy can impact many aspects of life that may not be as obvious as the unemployment rate. This article discusses how an economic downturn can affect an accident attorney’s ability to either settle or litigate a personal injury claim on a client’s behalf as well as deal with health insurance companies.
How a Poor Economy Affects the Court System
When the economy is poor, state budgets must suffer from monetary cuts. This generally means that courts, like businesses, have to achieve more with less funds and recourse’s. In some jurisdictions, courthouses get shuttered and those that remain open can face massive layoffs of court personnel. Additionally, accident lawyers have to deal with the increase of court filing costs, mediation fees, and other lawsuit-related costs.
In many cases, this forces the judiciary to streamline the amount of cases that actually make it through to trial. Smaller personal injury matters (valued at less than $50,000 for example) will be encouraged to settle rather than go to trial. The court will want to reserve its resources for higher profile criminal cases, high value products liability cases, and other big dollar injury cases.
How Insurance Adjusters May Take Advantage of the Court’s Budget Cuts
Insurance adjusters know that the smaller personal injury cases likely won’t see the inside of a courtroom for years. As such, the insurance company will be less likely to offer settlement anytime soon.
How the Economy Can Impact Client Expectations
Unfortunately, in a tough economy, a personal injury claimant may rely on a potential settlement to help pay for basic bills. As indicated above, this becomes less realistic for smaller value injury claims as the claimant may wait longer for the case to settle or work its way through court. Accident lawyers often see clients wishing to accept a quick, low-ball settlement rather than wait.
How the Economy Negatively Impacts Settlement of Medical Bills
Health carriers are also less likely to settle outstanding medical bills for less than the exact billed amount. It can therefore take much longer to negotiate a lien reduction for doctor and hospital bills if one is granted at all.
You should have an experienced accident attorney review your case, advise you of your legal options and help you determine a fair settlement value. Contact a law office that has the appropriate background to set up an appointment as soon as possible to insure that witnesses are identified and evidence is maintained properly.
Copyright (c) 2014 SLAPPEY & SADD, LLC