South Carolina Injury Law Journal

Who Pays for the Defense Attorney: You or the Insurance Company?

I represent plaintiffs, or those injured by the negligence, ignorance, and omissions of other persons, employers, and corporations,  100% of the time. Conversely that would mean I work against defendant's that have injured my client. OR DO I? Yes and no.

Actually, I work against defense attorneys that are paid hourly or on retainer by insurance companies. These insurance companies hire defense attorneys to protect them when their insured, or client that pays for insurance, does something wrong.  Understand?

Let's look deeper. We all buy insurance. We buy insurance up to a certain amount and pay a premium.  That premium is paid to an insurance company to protect our interest if something goes wrong or something bad happens. We usually pay that premium towards a particular amount of coverage to have the insurance company come in and protect us when something goes wrong. Do insurance companies really protect their insureds?

Now let's talk about insurance companies:

  • Did you know if someone hits you without auto insurance that your insurance company, the company you pay your premium to protect you, stands in place of the person that hit you without insurance?
  • Did you know if a drunk driver hit you and hurt you so badly to require more than your insurance coverage and you were smart enough to purchase UIM, or underinsured coverage, that your insurance company will stand in for the drunk driver and protect them against you stacking that coverage?
  • Did you even know you could stack certain insurance coverages?
  • Did you know that insurance companies pay lots of money for expensive software and research programs that let them know as much about you as possible?- ie Ever watch one of those movies where if it has ever been put into a computer or mainframe system they know? (Those aren't science fiction movies anymore). Confidential medical records--ha ha. Funny.

Defense attorneys love to point out shiny objects in your past. If you have ever hurt yourself in the past then they will say that was the result of your current injury not the fact that the person they are paid to protect by the insurance company ran their 5,000lb car into your front seat.  In their minds it was most likely a result of the fall you had when you were 3 years old and it just never healed right.  Understand better?

Certain things can not be brought in front of a jury at trial regardless of how relevant they may be to a lay person:

  • I can't bring into evidence the ticket the highway patrolman gave to the at fault party;
  • I can't talk about the defendant's insurance coverage;
  • I can't even mention the word "insurance";  

Ironically, defense attorneys get paid by the hour and don't care how quickly the case moves. Remember they get paid by the hour. Would you rush a project that paid you by the hour or would you work at it so long as you could? Also, it helps the premium you pay build interest and that interest to make them money while they stall on giving you any money. Funny isn't it?

If you remember nothing else, remember this:

Insurance companies don't make money paying you money, they make money keeping it away from you.

 Now, who do you think pays for that defense attorney? You or the insurance company?

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Comments (2) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Kelley Cannon - May 5, 2009 9:31 AM

A Comment Posted by a Defense Attorney in Columbia,SC:

This entire blog presupposes that the Insured did something negligent. Just because *your* client, the Plaintiff, tells you that their knee hurts because of this wreck DOES NOT mean it isn't in part because of the fall three years ago. Gee, ya think someone might exaggerate an injury to get more money? SHOCKER NOT IN AMERICA!! Home of the lottery, credit card debt, and other means of instant gratification!!

Your assumption that your client is automatically right is why JURIES make the decisions, not the Plaintiffs' lawyer. And, not the Defendant's lawyer, but at least I'm grown up enough to admit that.

Once one of YOUR clients gets sued by someone exaggerating their injury, they will be glad to have an attorney defending them that they do not have to pay-cash-out-of-pocket for.

Oh, and your asinine comment about the billable hours. Get real. I have more than enough to do without dragging cases out. If, after I investigate the case and maybe take some depositions, I think the case has merit and should be settled, I do so. If I think the Insured isn't at fault or that there are other defenses to the case, then I advise them the case should be tried. Not all Plaintiffs make stuff up, but not all "Insurance Lawyers" do either.

I'm a pretty reasonable person, and frankly have several close friends who are Plaintiffs' attorneys. I don't think they would automatically agree with your post either. You are blanketing all defense attorneys together and that's pretty ridiculous.

I understand you are a nice guy, but I'm a nice person too, and I work with nice people. I found this post rather offensive.

autum - July 7, 2011 8:31 AM

Nice post. It is true that the insured covers the uninsured even though the uninsured should not exist and is at fault. The system is messed up. The ones who feels offensive of your post are guilty and try to stick up for themselves even though they're wrong. You sound genuine and honest.


I appreciate the kind words. That is the only way you can be because most people see through the opposite.


Floyd S. "Trey" Mills III of
Trammell Law Firm, P.A.
Palmetto Legal Development & Consulting, LLC
1650 East Greenville Street
Anderson, South Carolina 29601


Toll Free:
103 Arlington Avenue
Greenville, South Carolina 29601


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