For those of you that never read this article by CNN exposing State Farm and Allstate for adopting a combative strategy of deny, delay defend with regard to handling their claims, I strongly recommend it. You can draw your own conclusions from the research, but I can tell you that from my experience litigating both as an insurance defense attorney and as a plaintiff’s attorney, they are spot on.The article highlights evidence that came to light in a series of lawsuits against Allstate and State Farm by plaintiffs that had been low-balled and the juries saw the truth. The portion of the article dealing with the consulting firm’s recommendations is stunning. The strategy of deny, delay and defend is put into practice across the board by these carriers and others and I am finding that I am taking more and more of my cases all the way to jury trial in order to obtain fair compensation.
The problems in this industry lie at both ends of the spectrum. Insurance companies are turning a blind eye on legitimate injury cases and some plaintiffs lawyers are ignoring common sense and turning a blind eye when they know that they are putting up a less than legitimate case. The fact is that this industry would be better for the public as a whole if both sides would step back and take a realistic approach to handling injury cases.
To be clear, there are reforms needed on both sides, plaintiffs and defense. There are unscrupulous plaintiffs attorneys that employ runners and encourage their clients to rack up unnecessary bills. Those lawyers and their clients are part of the reason that my profession has a bruised image. I have no respect for clients or attorneys that are merely looking to make a buck.
However, I find that 95% of the people that come to me for help have come to me because they are getting abused by the insurance adjusters. Clients are being told by the insurer that they will not pay for anything past the emergency room bills. Clients are being low-balled on their property damage claims. The vast majority of auto accident victims simply want to be treated fairly and with respect. If tomorrow the insurance industry reformed and began paying fair compensation, I would gladly hang up my guns and practice environmental law. The fact is though that the public never learns of the unfairness until they are already a victim.
What do you think about the article and the system?