Sedgwick examines liability claims litigation trends




Sedgwick examines liability claims litigation trends | Insurance Business America















Chief claims officer points to what provides an advantage


Claims

By
Terry Gangcuangco

Claims management giant Sedgwick has released a new report examining the prevailing trends and practices in liability claims litigation. The “Liability litigation observations and trends 2024” report highlights that, while the legal landscape continues to change, many complexities from previous years persist as concerns for 2024.

Key findings from the liability litigation report include:

Florida tort reform: One year post the enactment of House Bill 837 in Florida, significant impacts are expected to continue throughout the year. In March 2023, a rush to file lawsuits before the legislation took effect shattered records, with 280,122 new cases – an increase of 127% over the previous record set in May 2021.

Litigation conditions: The rate of attorney representation has risen over the past five years, along with a steady increase in liability litigation. Notably, the average cost of new litigated auto bodily injury claims has surged by 64% since 2019, far exceeding inflation rates.

Third-party litigation funding (TPLF): A US Government Accountability Office report indicates that TPLF, which gained momentum in 2010, has expanded rapidly due to a lack of regulation. However, increasing scrutiny from the judicial system and state legislatures could bring changes, driven by concerns over national security and ethical issues.

Plaintiff bar tactics: The plaintiff’s bar continues to evolve, employing strategies designed to ‘inflame juries’ and maximize results. For enhanced implementation, they utilize podcasts, webinars, seminars, and even training institutes resembling university programs.

The tort tax: Litigation’s significant financial impact can be difficult to quantify for the average person. The ‘tort tax’ concept attempts to simplify this, illustrating the added costs excessive litigation imposes on everyday purchases like gas and groceries.

Data science and artificial intelligence: The plaintiff’s bar heavily relies on data to evaluate lawsuits, jurisdictional tendencies, and outcomes. Sedgwick leverages its own AI-powered algorithm to analyze litigation histories and assess the performance of external counsel managing litigation for the company and its clients.

“From a litigation management perspective, the best avoidance and mitigation strategies start on day one of a claim assignment with the completion of a high-quality investigation,” Steve Ellis, vice president of liability practice at Sedgwick, said.

“The first two weeks after a claim is initiated represent a window of opportunity to impact the outcome by making timely contacts, taking detailed statements, and assessing damage and injuries as quickly as possible.”

Sedgwick chief claims officer Max Koonce (pictured), meanwhile, stated: “To stay ahead in the fast-changing world of litigation, sophisticated defendants need to leverage data and predictive analytics. Attorney scorecards are particularly useful for providing insight into performance within a jurisdiction and head-to-head matchups of plaintiff versus defense attorneys.

“This type of data can also help identify which cases are likely to turn into large jury verdicts and should be targeted for settlement. As data volume grows, companies that implement solutions to better understand and manage their litigation have an opportunity to outpace their competition.”

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