Recently, CNN conducted an 18 month investigation into how major insurance companies treat claims of car accident victims who submit a claim for soft tissue injury, defined as damage of muscles, ligaments and tendons throughout the body. The information learned in the study is as follows:
“Since the mid-1990s, most of the major insurance companies — led by the two largest, Allstate and State Farm — have adopted a tough take-it-or-leave-it strategy when dealing with such cases.
The result has been billions in profits for insurance companies and little, if anything, for the public, according to University of Nevada insurance law professor Jeff Stempel (emphasis added).”
What this means is that if you are involved in a car accident, or other personal injury, which results in soft tissue damage – strap in because, even if you are hurt through no fault of your own, the insurance companies will fight tooth and nail NOT to compensate you for the injury. When the insurance company does convey an offer, it is done as a take it or leave it offer, because the strategy, as conveyed by a former Allstate attorney is by dragging the process out the insurance company can make it “so expensive and so time-consuming that lawyers would start refusing to help clients.” Does this sound like you are ‘In good hands’ with Allstate? Not if you have an injury claim.
“Playing off Allstate’s signature slogan, one document recommends the insurer put boxing gloves on its “good hands” for those who insist on going to court.
The strategy, according to former Allstate and State Farm employee Jim Mathis, relies on the three D’s — denying a claim, delaying settlement of the claim and defending against the claim in court.”
In our experience, soft tissue injury claims are certainly fought by insurance companies, but this bottom-line strategy applies across the board, including catastrophic injury or even death. At the end of the day, insurance companies are for profit entities and will employ strategy necessary to protect these profits, even if it comes at the expense of accident victims. More evidence points to the importance of having representation when pursuing a claim – a look at the results of a 1999 study from the Insurance Research Council (IRC) suggested that the decision to hire a personal injury lawyer pays significant dividends for accident victims pursuing an auto insurance claim. A Consumer Panel Survey of Auto Accident Victims, settlements for injury victims were 40 percent higher with attorney representation than without. Numbers tell the story, if your injured your best bet is to consult with a personal injury lawyer, who’s loyalty is to the accident victim.