Car Wreck Victims, Please Don't Become Victim To Insurance Company Swoop And Settle Techniques
Brooks SchuelkeJune 16, 2009 9:27 AM
I think the sign of genius is being able to take something from those you disagree with. I have frequently written about my displeasure with attorneys or chiropractors that improperly (and perhaps illegally) solicit accident victims (eg here and here). Last week, I received an email from someone that disagreed with me. I'm cutting and pasting the email (including the errors), but leaving off the individual's name because I don't have the person's permission to post the email:
I read your ridiculous article on solicitation of MVA victims. I have done this type of solicitation and I want you to know that most victims are so thankful that someone was helping them with their pain and also getting them adequate representation for their claim.
The insurance companies are making a killing on the public's ignorance and oft times abuse the system by showing up at the injured's house or even at the sight of the accident with a check which cancels any further obligation with the insurance company. One thing you'll never see in the news is Allstate or State Farm's profit from the previous year. If the public was aware of it there would be riots. I don't know what kind of law you practice but you've obviously not dealt with those creeps. You are lucky nowadays to just get your medical paid, let alone any further compensation for injury and suffering. As long as people maintain attitudes like your's we'll all just take two aspirin and forget about getting osteoarthritis. You are not for the plaintive, that's for sure.
Obviously, I disagree with a lot of things in the email, but I won't go into that because I don't want this discussion to escalate into an argument. However, I do want to emphasize the one point that the author makes that is important is that insurance companies "abuse the system by showing up at the injured's house or even at the sight [sic] of the accident with a check." I call this "swoop and settle." They adjusters will come in with ridiculously low offers, often making false statements to the auto accident victim about the victim's claim, and then obtain a release. When those of us in the plaintiff's bar discussed our position on barratry, the one issue that gave some pause was the swoop and settle conduct.
So if you're in a car wreck, don't fall prey to these tactics. I always tell clients that the biggest mistake they can make is settling the claim before they know the extent of their injuries. While some are often anxious for money, plaintiffs are almost always rewarded for their patience.