Seattle (ESTRA) - A person injured in a car accident who files a lawsuit against an Auto Insurance Company is like bringing a Popsicle to a gun fight. By the time of a court trial, you are standing there with a wooden stick while Auto Insurance Company holds an automatic gun aimed at your forehead, so to speak. Their ability to pay $500+ per hour for attorneys and a legal team along with local attorneys in your town, surveillance on your activities (which results in nothing), researchers performing background checks from the day you were born, and adding medical staffs who must be related to politicians by the way they perform Independent Medical Exams (IME), which are anything but independent from my experience. Why they call our systems, “justice for all” when in fact, it demonstrates “justice for a few” is anybody's guess. If you think this was a mouth full, keep reading.
Walking into a den of these corporations is an experience that is truly eye opening from my perspective. It’s not for faint of heart. Being raked over the coals is enough to traumatized healthy people. For a person dealing with physical injuries and additional losses, it is understandable why so many people just accept approximately 10% of the value of the claim and settle before trial. But is this right? And why do they have so much power to harassed and intimidate working class people who typically are clueless to possible ruthlessness exposed to when only trying to get what they have been promised? The promise of money as a safety net to catch you after tragedy of a car accident. This however does not necessarily come to past.
In current years, some Auto Insurance Companies have decided it’s more profitable for their investors to pay as little as possible out on insured claims. You see this by insurer first offers are an insult in most cases. In my opinion, this is a barameter to check the insured desperation level. Many insurance carriers believe in holding out until close to end of three year statue of limitation, which is typically the amount of time given to file a lawsuit against them. By this time most working class people are broke, bills are past due, and overwhelm with problems. Yes, for insurer, this is the prime way to breakdown people who were already hurting. Most of these companies use a computerized model to estimate these low ball settlement values. For example, if you have a claim that is worth $10,000, do not be surprised by a low ball offer is $1,000. And why would someone take such an offer? Perhaps they are about to be thrown out of their residence or perhaps there is something desperately needed for survival. If out of desperation they take this offer, who profits by 90%? Yes, the insurance company. Not only are they able to keep premiums, but they are also able to keep the money that should have gone to the injured person.
How could some insurance adjusters be so callous? They may be receiving a bonus as a percentage of what they save the company. But is this fair? Is this the right thing to do? How will the injured person survive? Life struggles due to injury will continue.
Somewhere in the late 70 – 80’s too many companies decided the only interest they needed to look out for is their own. This has been demonstrated in how Corporate America has treated working class people, in my opinion.
Several auto insurance companies have followed suite. And this is why in our example they could pay out $1,000 on a claim valued at $10,000 without consideration of the pain and suffering they are unleashing against the very people who helped to build their wealth. How tragic and selfish, in my opinion.
How can you identify these “bad faith” companies? One way is to contact local state insurance commissioner and see which auto insurance companies are refusing to pay claims. You may have to look under several of their names since they typically are broken up by subsidiaries, but it will be easy to recognize the behavior, associations, and can be easily added up, with or without a calculator.
Currently, we have many members of congress that are more interest in being re-elected and receiving money from lobbyist, than doing the right things for constituents.
The suffering experience to-date by working citizens due to bad polices from this Congress will go down in U.S. History in my opinion. Until they decide to do their job, we as a country from my perspective are in trouble. Make sure to register to vote this November. Will it make a difference? Absolutely. Especially if you are tired of lobbyist running the country instead of citizens.
Back to the subject at hand. What will you do when faced with a low ball offer? Typically its not just the first, but also the second, and third. Yes insurers know you are in a pickle. Most people are just one paycheck away from disaster and for a couple years now they have played hardball with your claim, meaning insurance carrier has been unwilling to settle. Don’t you think it’s odd a company that has a vested interest in keeping your money has the right to decide if they give it to you? Seem like the injured are at a disadvantage. Why isn’t there a third party which makes this decision within a year’s timeframe by reviewing claims that’s impartial and has no relationship with insurer or insured? This could easily be done by placing the cost as part of the premium so there is no unfair advantage by insurance companies. In my opinion, this decision needs to be taken out of the hands of insurance companies and into hands of a third party who could be more objective in their decision making.
In this way, light could be placed upon “bad faith” behaviors and corrections made before injured are driven down to the edges of poverty. It would be better for injured to receive settlement amounts that are fair and equitable.
Should you expect an insurance company to counter your settlement demand with a fair offer? From my experience, some do and some do not. When auto insurance companies can low ball their insured just because our legislative bodies both at state and federal levels let them, it’s a problem. People are hurting due to the decisions made in a bias, hurtful way.
In my opinion, if you find that an auto insurance company offers you 1% of your claim value as an initial offer, recognize they do not respect you as a customer, and may have personal integrity issues as a corporation. If they are not willing to off a fair settlement, recognize this is a business decision. One that will eventually turn away customers.
Whether you decide to accept or decline these low ball offers, remember how this company made you feel. Do you feel they took advantage of you? Then you know your premium dollars are going to the wrong company. Again, you are the most important person in this equation, therefore do what is in your best interest.
Personally, I believe working class people need Insured Civil Rights. Otherwise, there will not be a level playing field for those injured. Most injured are out gunned, and a Popsicle will not stop the bullets, so to speak. There needs to be systems in place that protects the injured, so by the end of the process they are not worse off due to the power and influence auto insurance companies have to delay and deny their claims.
If you have experience a claim with an Auto Insurance Company, share your experience on twitter hastage #ESTRAsRadioShow.
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