Personal Injury – Expensive Litigation Process and Frivolous Defenses Works Against Consumers
February 18, 2011
Deny, delay and defend has been the motto of many insurance companies who long ago found out that by making injury litigation expensive, smaller cases where their insured is at fault will either go away or will be reduced in numbers. While the Illinois Department of Insurance (IDI) requires insurance companies to evaluate a claim fairly and without undue delay, because the IDI is largely a political entity and headed by political figures, IDI has become an ineffective paper tiger allowing the insurance companies broad powers to do whatever pleases them.
The result is that an insurance company can settle a claim, and then deny a settlement has taken place once the statute of limitation passes forcing the plaintiff to file a lawsuit and then to come back and to re-offer the amount of settlement… The result is also that in a rear-end collision when there is an admission by the insured to have been negligent in the operation of his vehicle, the insurance company denies the resulting property damage claim and refuses to negotiate or even take into the account the admissions made by their insured, forcing the plaintiff to file a lawsuit. Examples such as this are legion.
So, if a victim is not represented by an attorney, chances are they will have to represent themselves in court and take on a seasoned insurance attorney who will necessarily win on technicalities alone. I have seen some of the complaints drafted by regular folk and filed in court and I have to tell you, it is not pretty-the battle is lost before it even begins.
Unless the IDI stops being a paper tiger and starts to actually perform its mandate and protect consumers against this sort of nefarious practices, they will likely continue and persons suffering from personal injuries in Illinois will likely be victimized a second time when they end up having to sustain the loses they have incurred through no fault of their own.
That is why, as the article below indicated, the City of Chicago has taken on a new approach to litigation. Taking all cases to trial, even those the City knows it will lose, discourages injured parties to file a claim or those who have filed, may end up abandoning their claim out of frustration.
Allegedly, some insurance companies, like State Farm and Allstate, follow the same strategy and apparently they’ve made a lot of money doing it. For small cases, specifically those that involve soft tissue injuries minor injuries, they either don’t settle or offer very little even when their clients are at fault. These are pretty simple cases to settle – mostly medical bills, no lasting injuries or pain and suffering to argue about. But if they refuse to settle, many of the cases go away completely because the injured people can’t find an attorney willing to go to trial over $5,000 or $10,000.