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Insurance Companies – the unseen hand at trial

Posted on Thursday, March 7th, 2013 at 10:41 am    

Although the insurance company isn’t mentioned at trial, it’s often the unseen puppet master pulling the strings of the defense attorney.  It selects and pays for the defense attorney and approves of the experts and all their travel and expenses.  Most importantly the insurance company decides what amount (if any) to offer to resolve the case.

During breaks in trial, the defense attorney often goes out to call the insurance company to give a status report.  In some bigger cases, there’s a guy sitting in a button down shirt (never a suit and tie) three rows back in the spectator gallery intently watching each day of the trial.  He works for the insurance company and reports back to his bosses about what happened each day in the courtroom (why isn’t that the defense attorney’s job?  Doesn’t the insurance company trust their hand-picked attorneys to accurately accurately what occurred at trial?).   He doesn’t announce who he is and he never speaks to the defense attorney in front of the jury (that would tip his hand). When someone else asks him why he’s in the courtroom, he’ll give a coy, quasi-truthful answer like, “I’m just watching.”

Insurance companies, even though the juries aren’t allowed to know about their involvement, work behind the scenes and orchestrate the defense and control the settlement offers.

 

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