Licensed in Missouri and Kansas

The Lawyer on the Other Side

I've written plenty about representing injured victims in negligence cases and how our fee structure motivates us to maximize their recovery. But what about the lawyer for the wrongdoer? What's his or her motivation? Who are they looking out for?

Part of your deal with the insurance company is that they will get a lawyer to defend you if you are sued for committing negligence. However, they choose the lawyer. You typically don't have any say in who they pick to defend you.

Your insurance company usually hires a lawyer from an outside defense firm and pays him or her by the hour to defend you. The lawyer's payment is not contingent upon the outcome of the case. They get paid win, lose, or draw. Furthermore, they get paid by the hour. The more time they spend on a case, the more they get paid. It doesn't take much to realize that the lawyer your insurance company hires for you usually does not have your best interest in mind. The almighty dollar can too easily get in the way of effective representation for defense lawyers.

Although they technically represent you, insurance defense lawyers typically only have as much of your interest in mind as the law requires them. Sure, there are insurance defense lawyers who hold their client's interest in the highest priority, but the simple fact of who pays them and that they get paid no matter the outcome can create an inherent conflict.

Understanding the motivations of an insurance defense lawyer can help you get through a personal injury lawsuit much better.