makes good sense from the carrier’s point
of view to proceed to litigation. Assum-
ing a case involves liability exposure that
significantly exceeds the costs of defense,
it may be prudent to move a case to litiga-
• There is legitimate reason to believe
that a genuinely disputed factual or
legal defense will be successful, prefer-
ably via dispositive motion; or
high and no amount of education and
communication short of litigation will
persuade her to bring it into a reason-
In cases that have zero or little merit,
and value at or below the cost of defense,
it may still make sense to move the case
to suit if:
• The carrier has a legitimate concern
about the public relations effect of a
cost-of-defense settlement (i.e., if the
company gets the reputation of settling
low-quality claims for tens of thou-
sands of dollars because it would cost
more to defend them, it will encourage
the filing of more bad claims against its
securing a ruling that is likely to work
in its favor in subsequent cases and the
case presents an especially good op-
portunity to secure that kind of ruling.
Ultimately, the adjuster acting alone
cannot prevent a claim from ending up
adjuster will have followed every piece
of advice offered here and still be unable
to resolve a claim before the claimant
files suit. However, if the adjuster makes
a good faith effort at communicating
openly and directly with the claimant
or claimant’s counsel, she will greatly in-
crease the odds of settling the claim prior
James B. Haddow, Esq. and Kimberly A.
Watson, Esq. are attorneys with the firm of
Petruccelli, Martin & Haddow, LLP
(www. pmhlegal.com), a Your House Counsel ( www.YourHouseCounsel.com) member
firm in the Greater Portland, Maine area.
A lawsuit is also very likely on the horizon when instead
of trying to find relevant information and resolve the
claim, the claims representative is trying to dig up
dirt to justify denying or paying less on the claim.
-William “Bubba” Ryan, CEO
RYTECH- The Industry Leader in
Water Mitigation & Mold Remediation.
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