Whether or not you hire a personal injury attorney, the day you were injured due to the fault of another, you entered a battle zone with the at fault party’s insurance company. Over the past few decades, the insurance industry has spent plenty of money to wage war against injured accident victims and their attorneys in the media and on the political front. The insurance companies= agenda is geared to bolster their own images with touching television commercials, including music and slogans such as “I’ll be there,” and “You’re in good hands.” Their further goal is to promote legislation favorable to their own profitability, and to paint the civil justice system as out of control and overrun with people receiving millions of dollars for minor or even fraudulent injuries. The goal is to taint the minds and preconceptions of jurors against accident victims and their personal injury attorneys before they even hear the facts of a given case. Some of the mass attorney advertising you see today only reinforces the insurance industry’s agenda.
Unfortunately, there are some claimants and attorneys willing to file frivolous or fraudulent claims for a buck. This abuse of our civil justice system has only made it more difficult for the legitimate personal injury victim to find justice. Fortunately, however, the insurance industry is highly capable of investigating and exposing fraud and exaggeration, especially in today’s age of advanced technology. In fact, I have personally encountered and seen claims exposed as fraudulent while working as an attorney for large insurers in the past. I have also criminally prosecuted and seen people convicted of felony insurance fraud as a prosecutor some years ago. Fortunately, the vast majority of people who bring frivolous or fraudulent claims are unsuccessful, as they should be, and some even end up in jail.
The problem for the legitimately injured accident victim, is that a dollar saved by the insurer in settling a legitimate claim is worth the same to the insurer as a dollar saved in a fraudulent claim. Insurance companies are corporations, whose one goal is profit, plain and simple. The more they pay in claims, the less profit they make.
Obviously, there is nothing wrong with having profit as a goal. A corporation must make a profit to survive. The point is, you must be aware that no matter how legitimate your claim, and no matter how badly you are injured, the insurance company’s goal is to pay you as little as possible. Period. You are merely a claim on its books, negatively affecting its bottom line, just like a fraudulent claim. You are the enemy.
The insurance adjuster’s allegiance is to his company, not you. He is not a bad person, but he has a job to do (pay you as little as possible) and is highly trained to do it well. A truly talented adjuster, a really good one, will make you feel as though you have a new friend. However, his true concern is not your physical, mental or financial well-being. His only concern is doing a good job in the eyes of his company and remaining employed or getting promoted. Despite what he may try to lead you to believe, he is not your friend. He is very much your adversary.
In my experience, insurance companies do not ordinarily offer a fair settlement until you have an approaching actual trial date, and prove to them that you are ready, willing and able to competently and effectively present your case at trial. But do not lose faith. If you have a legitimate case, you can beat the insurance company and achieve just compensation at trial. Once the insurance company becomes convinced that you are truly prepared to go to trial, but usually not until then, it will often offer a fair settlement at that point in time. However, that point in time usually comes only after much time and effort is spent by an experienced personal injury attorney who has fully prepared your case, and can effectively demonstrate actual readiness for trial.
At that point, what if they still won’t get reasonable? This does happen, but at least the waiting is over. Assuming you have a legitimate case, and a highly qualified, experienced and prepared personal injury attorney, you should be able to obtain justice at trial.
Following graduation from Loyola Law School in New Orleans in 1990, Price McNamara served as a Federal Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable John M Shaw, Chief Judge, United States District Court Western District of Louisiana.
Mr. McNamara founded the Law Offices of J. Price McNamara, and began putting his past experience to work for the injured and disabled clients he now represents against the insurance companies in personal injury and long term disability and other insurance disputes in both federal and state courts