From “good hands” to “good neighbor,” major insurance companies market themselves as caring for the consumer. Do they? We’ve all seen the countless advertisements. Do you really believe the insurance company has your interest at heart?
What happens when you are hurt and really need the insurance? Insurance companies work hard to avoid paying the true value of claims involving injuries. In car wreck claims, savvy adjusters immediately start looking for ways to deny or dispute valid claims. What are some immediate actions designed to reduce or deny your injury claim? Adjusters start by recording you on the telephone. We have even seen adjusters try to obtain damaging recordings from people who are on pain medications immediately after an accident. Adjusters start by sending you forms to sign — which the company can use to dig through your history and records. Adjusters promise to pay your medical bills, encouraging you to send them. Yet, that’s not how it really works.
Adjusters have huge advantages over you. They know the system. They know how it works. On the other hand, you are probably unfamiliar with the system. You are relying on fairness and honesty to get through a stressful process. While a car accident upends your life, it’s just a normal day for the insurance company.
Does a “good neighbor” try to rig the system from the inside? Did the “good neighbor” insurance company try to rig the system from the inside? Well, State Farm made a prominent list of the worst corporate misconduct of 2018 for doing just that. In September last year, State Farm agreed to settle a $250 Million Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) claim involving election and judicial misconduct. Just so you know the basis, RICO is the law used to prosecute the mafia for corruption.
What are the allegations of wrongdoing? State Farm was accused of recruiting and “secretly” funding the election of a judge friendly to its cause for the Illinois Supreme Court. State Farm was accused of secretly funding the judge through groups that did not disclose the source of donors. After winning his Illinois Supreme Court seat, the supported Justice promptly cast the deciding vote in a huge case that absolved State Farm of significant damages.
When State Farm’s secret election effort was discovered, a civil RICO case was filed. Shortly before the trial was set to start, State Farm agreed to pay its customers in Illinois $250 Million as a settlement. Does anyone believe the insurance company is a “good neighbor.”
No company should “invest” in our judicial system or “fund” judges. If we are going to elect judges, we must work to insure that all campaigns are open and transparent. Our judicial system is too important for interested parties to secretly choose the judge hearing their case.
At all levels of the justice system, big insurance companies have an advantage. From the money invested in elections to the lawyers unwilling to help their clients. Car insurance companies also love the settlement mill lawyers on billboards littering our highways. Why? Together, they resolve claims for pennies on the dollar. If the injuries are minor, a quick and small settlement may be fine. When the injuries are serious, those victims are treated unjustly by a rigged system.
A list of wrongdoers is not a good list to make. Hopefully, the list will shed some light on practices that taint our judicial system and harm our neighbors.
At the Blackwell Law Firm, we specialize in personal injury litigation. These cases include serious Alabama car accident and injury claims. We believe in preparing fully our cases. Outside of the courtroom, we continue to advocate for safer highways, safer workplaces and safer products. We are happy to discuss your questions.