"I’m here to help." Scary words when said by the government or by an insurance adjuster. I will leave you to your own thoughts about the government’s statement, but let me tell you a little about what "I am here to help" means when said by a trucking company executive.
First it means they know you have a serious case, and are desperately trying to avoid paying serious money. Now don’t get me wrong, it will seem like a lot of money to you, but the amounts will be far less what your case is really worth. How do insurance companies do this? There are so many underhanded ways that an insurance company can cheat someone out of a fair settlement I could post forever on just that topic.
First, remember the insurance company makes money whenever it pays you less than you deserve.
Some ways that insurance companies cheat you out of money include:
- Pretending to be your friend. At a recent trucking seminar several adjusters (the folks who resolve injury and death cases for insurance companies) stated that they would try to become friends with a family by apologizing and offering to buy them a car and a house if they people gave up their claims. They would take this opportunity to demonize lawyers that the family might hire to represent them. They wanted, at all costs, to prevent the family from talking to an experienced trucking lawyer who would find out how many laws were broken by the trucking company and the driver in causing the wreck. If the real facts of the wreck came to light, showing the company put profits over people, the trucking company would owe many millions of dollars.
- The misuse of annuities. Insurance companies will often show that they will pay your family a million dollars over the next thirty years, while failing to mention that the annuity only costs $100,000 today and that your case, today, has a fair value in excess of a million dollars. additionally they will use one of their own corporations to hold the annuity, essentially just switching the money from one hand to another. These captive companies are typically weak financially and are subject to failure over time, leaving you with little or nothing at the end of the day.
- They fail to show the impact of inflation on the sums they discuss.
- They fail to account for the impact of future medical expenses that wears away at the money paid to the family.
- They fail to take into account the full loss of income of the victim. Studies have repeatedly shown that individuals who suffer major injuries can’t stay in the workforce as long as those who were never seriously injured, even if back to work at the same job and at the same pay.
- They treat the non-economic losses of the family as having no, or minimal, value. The lack of a father or mother growing up in a child’s life, or the lack of a child in a parents life, has huge consequences which must be accounted for in a fair valuation of a case.
This is a small sampling of the ways in which insurance companies cheat victims out of proper compensation for the loss and damage suffered at the hands of an unsafe trucking company. Should you ever have specific questions I will be more than happy to answer them.
Morgan Adams is a trial attorney licensed in Tennessee and Georgia. He is listed as a "2008 Mid-South SuperLawyer" (Limited to the top 5% of the lawyers in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas), is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum (limited to lawyers who have recovered 1 million dollars or more for their clients), and is the Chair-Elect of the American Association of Justice’s Interstate Trucking Litigation Group. He has served as chair of the Tennessee Association of Justice’s Trucking Litigation seminars since 2004, and is a frequent speaker at national continuing legal education programs on trucking liability cases.