Despite the portrayal of insurance companies on television as being your best friend in the time of crisis, in fact, there are few insurance companies who will put you first following an accident, rather than their financial bottom line. You could, perhaps get lucky and end up with an insurance company who truly does care about your injuries and your future, but unfortunately, that scenario is rare. It is much more likely you will need an experienced Alabama auto accident attorney by your side to ensure you receive an equitable settlement, and are able to pay your medical expenses and make up for lost wages.
If you are a Liberty Mutual policy holder, it might be a bit less likely you will automatically receive a fair settlement, as Liberty Mutual made the list for the top ten worst insurance companies, albeit in tenth place. The list which identified the top ten worst insurance companies was the result of a comprehensive investigation by the American Association for Justice.
About Liberty Mutual
Liberty Mutual insurance company is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, and had profits of $1.5 billion and assets of $94.7 billion in 2007. Liberty Mutual, like fellow insurance companies, Allstate and State Farm, hired McKinsey & Co., the giant consulting firm, to “deny, delay and defend” claims. Regulators say Liberty Mutual has gone further than claim-handling abuse, dipping into systematic bid-rigging. The overall strategy of McKinsey & Co., is to lower the amounts paid out in claims, regardless of the validity of those claims.
Liberty Mutual has even faced substantial litigation from its own vendors. Like some other large property casualty insurers, Liberty Mutual has abandoned policyholders in their hour of need, even pulling out of many states with a higher-than-normal amount of hurricanes, earthquakes, flooding or other natural disasters. Liberty Mutual and other big-name insurers have effectively left more than 3 million homeowners stranded, without insurance. Liberty Mutual may have also been involved in bigger fraud; while AIG, Zurich and ACE settled charges of collusion with Marsh & McLennan, Liberty Mutual refused to admit guilt.
A Brief History of Liberty Mutual
Liberty Mutual was Massachusetts Employees’ Insurance Association back in 1912, when the company began. The first branch office of Liberty Mutual was opened in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1914, with the first auto policy issued the same year. By 1937, Liberty Mutual had expanded across the nation, and two decades later Liberty Mutual introduced two innovative “survival” cars which had such unheard-of safety features as headrests and safety belts. Liberty Mutual Sponsored the 2012 Olympics, and in 2008 employed about 45,000 people across the globe.
What Alabama Residents Might Find Good—and Bad—About Liberty Mutual
According to policy holders, Liberty Mutual offers an excellent selection of homeowner discounts, even offering an immediate discount for recently renovated homes or those homes which are less than 13 years old. Those who go for three years without filing a claim are entitled to an additional discount. If you are a Liberty Mutual customer, you will be happy to know the company offers 24-hour emergency repair service for homes which sustain covered damages. Unfortunately, Liberty Mutual offers no coverage for older homes, commercial farms or ranches.
Alabama Liberty Mutual Lawsuit
In 2014, a Mississippi man working for an Alabama company was allowed to proceed with a bad faith claim against Liberty Mutual, despite the fact workers’ comp is generally the exclusive remedy, under Alabama law, for this type of claims. Clinton Williams was working for Steven Tanner, a resident of Mobile, Alabama. In September of 2005, Williams fell 15 feet while working on the roof of a Gulfport, MS building. Williams sustained severe injuries to both feet. Tanner held a workers’ comp policy with Liberty Mutual at the time of Williams’ accident, and notified the insurance company of Williams’ fall a few days following the accident.
Although Tanner and Liberty Mutual eventually settled with Williams in 2010, the court-approved settlement did not release a bad faith claim against Liberty Mutual in a Mississippi court, and an outrageous conduct claim in an Alabama court. The outrageous conduct claim was based on the fact that both parties delayed workers’ comp benefits for a full eight months after the accident occurred. Williams eventually agreed to dismiss the Alabama case, but continued with his Mississippi case. The case was remanded to District Court for further proceedings.
What Alabama Residents Should Know About Filing a Claim with Liberty Mutual
The car industry estimates that among adult drivers across the nation, an auto accident claim is likely to be filed about once every 17.9 years for every driver. This means that over a lifetime, the average driver will have 3-4 accidents. It is important that you remember the following tips after an auto accident:
- Even if you think you are “fine,” you should be checked out by your own doctor or at the ER. In many cases, injuries may not manifest for days, or even weeks after the accident, and by that time it can be much more difficult to collect from an insurance company who will bring up the fact that you said you were fine at the scene of the accident. If there is any doubt, see a doctor.
- Avoid discussing the details of your accident on social media as this can completely skewer a carefully-built case.
- Take photographs at the scene of the accident, or have a friend or family member do so.
- As soon as you are able, write down every detail you can remember about your accident. Even if you think it is unimportant, write it down. These details can help your attorney build a solid case on your behalf.
- Keep careful medical records as well. Save every medical receipt, even pharmacy costs and gas costs if you have to travel a significant distance to the doctor.
- Never accept a quick settlement offer from your insurance company, or any settlement at all until you have spoken to an attorney.
Getting Legal Help from Martinson & Beason Following Your Accident
The attorneys at Martinson & Beason can assist you with your Alabama car accident in many ways, particularly in dealing with the insurance adjuster. Insurance adjusters have extensive training and experience in ensuring the amount of compensation is kept to a minimum, despite the extent of your injuries. This means you could be left, through no fault of your own, with serious injuries, resulting in mounting medical expenses, as well as no way to work and make a living. You may be in constant pain from your injuries, and feel as though you have nowhere to turn. We can help you through this difficult time, and, in fact, we may be the only thing standing between you and an unscrupulous insurance company. The Martinson & Beason attorneys will be the advocate in your corner, offering skilled legal guidance which will level the playing field against the insurance company. Call Martinson & Beason today for a free comprehensive evaluation of your automobile accident claim.