When you have an car accident, you naturally want to turn to your insurance company for support. After all, haven’t they promised you, time after time, on television commercials, radio spots and billboards that they’ll “be there” for you in your time of need? It is easy to let the plethora of insurance commercials lull us into a false sense of security which then can be severely shaken when the reality sets in.
While insurance adjusters certainly want you to believe they are your friend and have your best interests at heart, in reality, they are primarily concerned with their company’s financial bottom line. Perhaps you have heard the term being “nickel and dimed?” In an industry like insurance, this is actually a much more common practice than you might think. Consider this—if every insurance company deals with millions of claims each year, then successfully skims 3-5 percent from every claim, can you imagine what those amounts could add up to?
The problem comes when you consider that every one of those claims is a claim by a real person who has been injured through the negligence of another. They are facing an ever-rising pile of medical bills, and may be unable to work because of the accident which leads to further financial crisis. So, when an insurance company refuses to pay what the claim is actually worth, this translates into financial problems for the claimant.
If that claimant is you, then you probably understand the scenario even better. Your insurance adjuster may claim a certain medical treatment you need is unnecessary, therefore will not be paid for or that your injuries are due to a pre-existing condition. The bottom line is that insurance adjusters and other employees are well-trained to settle your claim for the least amount of money possible.
The Allstate Corporation is the second-largest insurer in the U.S., coming in behind State Farm, and the largest publicly held insurance company. Allstate was founded as a part of Sears, Roebuck and Co., in 1931, and, since 1967, has had its headquarters in Northfield Township, Illinois. The Allstate concept came into being on a commuter train in 1930, when an insurance broker proposed to his neighbor the idea of selling auto insurance via direct mail. At the Chicago Century of Progress World’s Fair in 1933, Allstate insurance was sold at a Sears pavilion booth, and later a permanent sales office was opened in a Chicago Sears store. By 1941, less than one-fourth of all drivers had car insurance, which led the state of New York to pass the first law establishing driver financial responsibility for any damages or injuries. Soon, other states followed suit, and by the mid-1950’s, every state in the U.S. had passed some type of auto financial responsibility law. The “You’re in Good Hands with Allstate” slogan was created in 1950, and has endured throughout the decades.
Unfortunately, according to the American Association of Justice, Allstate stands out as the worst insurance company in America, largely due to its “boxing gloves” strategy against its own policyholders. Allstate CEO Thomas Wilson claimed the company’s obligation was to earn a return for shareholders, however this definitely comes at the expense of the company’s policyholders. In the mid-1990’s, Allstate hired a consulting company to boost the company’s bottom line. It was recommended that Allstate focus on reducing the amount of money it paid in claims, whether those claims were valid or not, and putting profits over policyholders began.
Allstate now uses a combination of lowball offers and hardball litigation. Policyholders are offered unjustifiably low payments for their injuries, via a claim-evaluation software called Colossus. Policy holders who accept these low payments are often left with medical expenses related to the accident which they are unable to pay. Those who refuse to settle their claim for such a low amount, are treated to an aggressive litigation strategy with a goal of denying the claim at any cost. Allstate also works under the “sit and wait” strategy, which increases the likelihood that a claimant will finally give up. The number of complaints filed against Allstate are higher than nearly all of its major competitors—Allstate receives about twice the number of complaints as State Farm.
Although the majority of car accidents are due to human error, there are also a portion of auto accidents which are the result of poor roadway conditions such as potholes, faulty road design, road erosion, uneven pavement or missing guardrails. Unfortunately, since it is generally a government entity which is responsible for building and maintaining the nation’s roads, it can be very difficult to prove negligence. Roads are generally maintained by cities, counties and states, therefore maintenance responsibilities may be shared by more than one governmental agency.
It must be proven that the specific agency was negligent in its failure to maintain the road—that the agency was aware the road should have been maintained or repaired, but chose not to do so. Further, while Tennessee is already at the low end regarding statute of limitations (a claim must be filed within one year from the date of the accident), the statute of limitations for government agencies is even less—six months. If you have been injured in a car accident which was due to the negligence of a state, county or city department, it could be very beneficial to speak to an experienced Tennessee personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
If you are involved in a car accident caused by a negligent party, whether it was another driver or a governmental entity, it is important to consult a knowledgeable attorney from the Martinson & Beason law firm. Our top-rated car accident attorneys understand how difficult it can be for you following your accident. You may be left with injuries so severe you are unable to return to work, therefore may have both medical expenses, and your normal monthly financial obligations to contend with. Our attorneys are compassionate to your plight and will work hard to ensure you are treated fairly following your accident. Depending on your situation, our attorneys offer experienced negotiation and aggressive litigation when warranted. To speak to a highly-qualified legal advocate, call Martinson & Beason today.