CNN investigative reporters revealed substantial evidence against major insurance companies, such as State Farm and Allstate, which are profiting billions of dollars by underpaying injured car accident victims. The money these insurance companies are denying car accident victims would otherwise go toward doctor visits, lost wages and rehabilitation. However, new strategies adopted by insurance companies have them making low settlement offers that in many cases do not even cover a fraction of the injured person's expenses.
Imagine you are driving along and another car comes out of nowhere and runs into the side of your car, injuring you to the point where you can barely walk, are in severe pain, and need doctor visits, CT scans, x-rays and rehabilitation. Wouldn't you expect the insurance company of the driver who hit you to be ultimately responsible for these bills as well as any lost wages?
Roxanne Martinas did. CNN reported that when she was hit by another vehicle on the passenger side of her car, she was smashed up against her driver's side window, damaging her spine. Her medical bills quickly accumulated and she thought Allstate, the insurer of the driver who hit her, would compensate her for her injuries.
Three years after CT scans, doctor visits, x-rays and other medical treatment, Roxanne was still fighting Allstate. The company finally offered her $15,000.00, a sum that did not cover her expenses for medical bills, much less her pain, loss of enjoyment of the daily activities of life and time lost from work. This tactic is part of a strategy insurance companies are using to make themselves billions of dollars. CNN"s year and a half investigation into the insurance industry found that if you are injured in a minor accident, major insurance companies will likely challenge your claim, possibly drag you into court and take years before making an offer. This offer is often significantly less than what your claim is worth.
CNN further reported that industry insiders say this results in 80% to 90% of injured persons accepting what the insurance company offers instead of fighting or further negotiating their claim.
Insurance industry statistics reveal that settlements with injured persons represented by attorneys are three times greater than settlements by individuals who do not have attorneys.
Why would an insurance company, especially one that you trust and have given significant amounts of money to over the years to take care of you in the event you are injured, act with such reckless disregard toward your personal well-being? The answer is simple: insurance companies make more money if they pay you less money for your injuries, even if you need the money to cover necessary medical bills, lost wages and rehabilitation.
In Case of Injury
According to CNN, the math behind the insurance companies' strategy is simple. Take $1,000.00 off of one million claims and you have essentially made one billion dollars. Do this with every claim over a number of years and you have made billions of dollars. Insurance companies achieve this cost-cutting through a process known as the "3 D's:" deny the claim; delay the claim; and defend their denial of the claim. By forcing "smaller, walk-away settlements," which are take-it or leave-it offers months or years after the actual accident occurred, bills have added up and people are afraid they won't get any money at all for their claims. Insurance companies essentially force an injured person to accept whatever it is they are offering.
Insurance companies have also created the mind set that it is somehow wrong or greedy to retain an attorney to pursue a claim. At the very least, injured persons should discuss their claim with an attorney to find out whether or not legal representation is right for them. Any person injured in a car accident can speak to a lawyer for free in our firm so that they can decide whether or not legal representation is necessary or appropriate for them.