Three Strategies for Early Dismissal and Resolution of Frivolous Claims
For any risk management team or litigation manager, one of the most difficult things to deal with is the frivolous or nuisance claim. Maybe it’s a slip and fall without injuries or a strange claim for injuries that is based on little to no evidence. Whatever the case may be, a nuisance claim can take up valuable time, create headaches for the litigation manager, and waste valuable resources, often eating away at your reserve unnecessarily. Some insurance carriers are known for simply tossing money at the problem in order to pay nuisance claims. Others refuse to pay any nuisance claim, opting to defend every time in order to set a precedent and discourage future frivolous claims.
However, there are three strategies you can use to obtain early dismissal and resolution in the lion’s share of these cases. Let an experienced civil defense team help you protect your reserve and shelter your organization from unnecessary erosion of the policy.
#1 Video Sit Down Session
Consider an example of negative video evidence for the plaintiff. Imagine a plaintiff who has claimed a workers’ compensation injury. She alleges that she fell while leaving work one evening and locking up the rear door of the building. She claims to have fractured her ankle. She received treatment at the emergency room, and the timeline seems to add up. There were no witnesses. Video evidence from the night surveillance tapes shows the woman leaving without incident. In this case, rather than having an extended argument about where and how she was injured or pushing a plaintiff to file suit, it can be more effective to schedule a time to have the plaintiff sit down with her attorney and defense counsel to review the video together. Often seeing oneself on video is all that it takes to get a plaintiff to walk away from a frivolous claim. If nothing else, it should deter even the most unscrupulous plaintiff’s attorney.
#2 Social Media Evidence
Never underestimate the power of social media to make everyday people do stupid things. The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) reports that effective December 2020, new rules of civil procedure will take effect in Texas, among which are new rules about the admissibility of social media evidence. Likewise, publication and notice rules will be updated to allow service on parties via social media platforms like Facebook. Many people use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as well as other less common platforms, to discuss their days. If an insurer can find publicly available information where a plaintiff has discussed “being just fine” or feeling sore but otherwise walking away “without a scratch,” this evidence should be presented to the plaintiff and his or her attorney as early as possible.
#3 No Benefit to Holding Out on Evidence
Some defense attorneys historically enjoyed holding out on evidence, with the goal of sandbagging or catching their opponent unaware at trial. Or, they would go to deposition, after a plaintiff’s attorney had spent thousands on a case, and only then reveal damning evidence such as videos or public comments about the lack of severity of the injury. This evidence would effectively destroy the plaintiff’s case and cost the attorney a lot of time and money. In general, while this may feel like a victory, it also costs the defense money. The much wiser fiscal plan is to present the damning evidence right away. Show it to the other side so that to proceed would be foolish and costly. Likewise, if the plaintiff is aware that they do not have a case, proceeding could present ethical problems for the plaintiff’s counsel.
Getting Help Defending Claims in South Texas
If you need help defending claims in south Texas, you want an experienced team of Brownsville insurance defense lawyers who have the know-how and grit to get the job done and put a fast end to frivolous claims and nuisance cases. Call or visit online to speak with an attorney from Colvin, Saenz, Rodriguez & Kennamer, L.L.P.