Recently, CNN reported the results of research and an 18-month investigation on minor auto accidents and how these claims are handled by insurance companies. Whenever you’re in a minor crash, you can be in mild to serious pain but the injuries are hard to see. They are soft tissue, muscular and joint injuries.
Insurance companies are resistant to pay medical claims on minor accidents and they actually make it a drawn-out and difficult process for the injured party to obtain any compensation even when the injured person was not at fault. When an insurance company refuses to pay their insured party or drags out/delays the payment, they are acting in what is known as ‘bad faith’. The latest report exposed that bad faith is rampant when it comes to minor injuries and accidents.
Major insurance companies make fighting the company very costly and time-consuming so that injured people and their attorneys give up. In some cases, attorneys will not even take the minor injury cases because of the difficulty in getting payment from the insurance companies. Yet these companies continue to charge high premiums and are as profitable as ever.
The way these insurance companies handle these claims is very profitable for them—they offer victims of minor injuries an extremely low amount of money (in most cases, much less than the injured person deserves) which the person must accept or the insurance company makes them go to court to fight the claim, if they want to try and get a penny more. The long and expensive process kicks in and attorneys are starting to walk away. The insurance company comes out the winner every time.
Consumers need to be aware of this situation and document their pain and injuries as much as possible. Get statements from witnesses, record all incidents of pain/keep a journal and describe your symptoms. Document all doctor visits and save receipts for all pain products and treatments. It is more challenging than ever for personal injury attorneys to protect your rights when you are hurt in an auto accident, especially a fender-bender. Question your insurance company about how these types of claims are handled should you ever be in an accident—if enough consumers created questions and pressure, the situation with the companies’ reluctance to pay damages could potentially get better.
Funny enough—insurance companies complain about the volume of lawsuits that they have to face, yet they encourage lawsuits in minor injury claims because they know that most clients will give up before it ever reaches court and that if it does reach court, the jury will have a hard time being convinced of pain and injury and is unlikely to offer an award equal to the medical bills, wages lost and pain and suffering of the victim.