This is part six of the review of my auto accident claim that happened on October 19th. If you haven’t read the other postings you will probably need to go back and do that before you read this one.
In my last posting I talked about the insurance company denying the claim and me deciding to file a lawsuit against the driver.
I am one of these guys that thinks that there are way too many lawsuits so this is not something I take likely but after thinking about it quite a bit up to this point I have decided that I need to hold this insurance company accountable. They have made a mistake and the only way to correct that mistake is to file suit. This isn’t really about the money, I have health insurance and the medical limits coverage on the farm’s auto policy will cover my deductible/copays. This insurance company should be paying this claim and if for no other reason than integrity of the industry that I work in I want them to do what they are supposed to do and pay the claim.
So when the suit is filed against the driver it will cause his employer’s insurance company (that same national carrier that denied my claim) to step in to protect him. At that point the insurance company has a couple of options.
First they may offer to settle by paying what they should have paid in the first place. They may have been bluffing and it really doesn’t cost them anything (except bad feelings) to wait and see if I will go away. Sadly it is not uncommon for some less than reputable companies to do this. We see this fairly often when one of our insured’s is hit by someone that has the minimum liability limits required by the state. The person who buys those limits is trying to get the cheapest coverage they can get. That coverage is often provided by a company that has low premiums because they are very reluctant to pay even legitimate claims.
Second they may stick with the idea that I am partially responsible (“we do not believe that our client’s driver bears any negligence for this loss”) for the claim and may offer to pay a portion of what they should have paid without going to court. Again, this is often done by companies that are more concerned with minimizing their payout than about doing the right thing. Sadly, there is a financial incentive to do this because they often would save more than it would cost to have a lower level (lower cost) in-house attorney handle this negotiation.
Finally we could end up going to court. My experience from working in an insurance company is that the larger companies have a number of high priced attorneys on staff and/or on retainer and these attorneys will take a number of cases to court if for no other reason than to justify their place at the company. I know that sounds cynical and to be fair I can recall a couple of cases when I was with the insurance company where the insured retained an attorney and that attorney argued that the insured should be paid based on a very thin argument, so I guess it does go both ways.
I would guess that the insurance company will try for the second option. I wouldn’t think that this is a big enough case to justify the insurance company going to court but I may be wrong.
My attorney tells me that he has seen an uptick in the number of suits that he is dealing with because insurance companies are denying claims. The insurance industry as a whole hasn’t really made money on auto insurance since 2013 so I guess it is unsurprising that they are taking a close look at their claims payouts.
I expect the process to slow down once again. I will post more on this subject when something happens. We will move on to other related subjects for a while.
Photo credit: mikecogh via VisualHunt / CC BY-SA