- Personal Injury
Usually, due to the severity of the injuries their clients have suffered and the circumstances surrounding the accident itself, the injury lawyers at the Indiana / Illinois personal injury law firm Kenneth J. Allen Law Group are faced with dealing with insurance companies and their representatives, along with the defendants and their attorneys, due to the insurance policies that apply to the situation. Oftentimes, there will be several defendants and several insurance carriers involved in a case (first party, third party, excess, etc.).
To complicate things, the defendant’s attorney is usually being paid by the insurance company, not the defendant itself. In fact, that defense lawyer may have a significant part of his caseload – and therefore his livelihood – provided by that insurance carrier. This can only increase the influence of the carrier upon the case and needless to say, can pose problems in negotiation, settlement, and trial.
Insurance Companies, Adjusters, Attorneys and the Duty of Good Faith
Insurance companies that cover large corporations — such as trucking companies, commercial airlines, or railways — not only expect tragic accidents to occur periodically based upon their statistics, they prepare for that eventuality. For example, it is not unusual for an insurance adjuster to appear on the scene of a major Big Rig / 18-wheeler accident before the police arrive: the truck driver has been trained to call the company immediately and notify them of any accident, and typically carries a camera to take scene photos. At the scene, the adjuster will begin his investigation of the event for the purpose of defending against the claims that will be made – taking recorded statements, video, and more. Frequently, the insurance company will have its own accident reconstruction expert on the scene in mere hours.
None of this activity in and of itself is illegal. However, the law does require that all these different players on the defense team – the adjuster, the insurance company, the defense attorney – act in good faith when dealing with their own insureds. An adjuster can appear on the scene, but an adjuster is in bad faith if he attempts to get a distraught insured to sign a release of liability. On the other hand, that same adjuster can and often will seduce the accident victim into giving a recorded statement or otherwise harm her case if the victim is not an insured who has paid premiums to that insurance company.
Good faith theoretically extends into the negotiation of an injury or death claim but, again, only to claims made by insureds against their own insurance companies. From a business perspective, the insurance defense position is to settle the matter for as little as possible or delay the claim as long as possible if the accident victim refuses to settle short and demands fair compensation.
In truth, insurance companies have influenced and shaped the laws in most states so the concept of insurance company liability for bad faith is simply that – a concept rarely enforced in practice. Be forewarned: don’t attempt to deal directly with an insurance company in a serious injury or death case. Neither should you expect your own insurance company to act in good faith. Rest assured, without counsel the insurance company will likely win at your expense.
Aggressive, experienced injury lawyers are needed when dealing with sophisticated insurers
Faced with the sophistication of insurance carriers and their cohorts, injury victims and their families need aggressive, experienced personal injury lawyers that are adept at dealing with the realities of how insurance coverage impacts lawsuits today.
For the personal injury lawyers at Kenneth J. Allen Law Group, their abilities and determination to fight for their clients is well-known to the major insurance companies. Over the years, it has been made clear: Kenneth J. Allen Law Group does not accept large numbers of cases in hopes of settling them en masse for a quick buck. Instead, Kenneth J. Allen Law Group is selective in its caseload, and the firm’s trial lawyers are more than willing to go to trial if a legitimate and acceptable settlement is not reached. With this attitude, Kenneth J. Allen Law Group ups the insurance company’s risk. Its injury trial lawyers know the law – including the requirements that every insurance company is by statute required to act “in good faith” – and they don’t hesitate to use it.
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If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed due to the wrongful acts of another, then you may have a legal claim for damages as well as the right to justice against the wrongdoer and you are welcomed to contact the Northwest Indiana and Chicagoland personal injury lawyers at Kenneth J. Allen Law Group to schedule a free initial legal consultation.