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Mark Bello
Mark Bello
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How Many Deaths Will it Take Till We Know?

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For those of you who have been drinking the tort reform Koolaid and think that there are too many "frivolous lawsuits" here is an example of the "other side of the story", as told by one of my Michigan colleagues. I quote her, verbatim, in the hope that readers will hear and comprehend the truth rather than the outright lies and/or half truths being bandied about with regard to our country's civil justice system. Here is what she had to say in an email sent to several of her Michigan colleagues:

I am writing to advise of another (emphasis added) client who has taken his life due to the debilitating depression he suffered as a result of a traumatic brain injury in an automobile accident. This poor man who was severely injured physically and mentally in the accident at the age of 16 had to go through more than 4 years of hell at the hands of USAA who willfully and voluntarily denied his claims, making him jump through hoops and completely destroying the last fiber of his self-identity. It sickens me that the insurance companies continue to destroy individuals on a daily basis only to save their millions. Had this man received treatment is a timely manner and been afforded the opportunity to see the appropriate medical professionals, he would be here to tend to his 19 month old child. Once again, insurance companies 1, the victims 0. I apologize to anyone who is offended at this…but I had to say something…

Friends, Michigan has a no-fault insurance law. Medical and wage benefits are supposed to be paid, immediately upon submission, by a plaintiff's own insurance company, regardless of fault. The only criteria required is that the expenses submitted be reasonable and necessary and related to the accident in question. This is just one of the many examples in which insurance companies unreasonably delay and deny claims in an effort to create desperation and hopelessness in the claimant, often their own insured (the person who has paid them profit creating premiums for years). There are far more frivolous defenses pursued, every day, in every state and federal court in the country, than there are so-called "frivolous lawsuits". Insurance companies engage in deliberate delay tactics to cause a desperate plaintiff to settle too soon, for too little compensation. Or, they behave like this one did and cause the plaintiff to make the ultimate poor decision. Are USAA claims handlers laughing at this poor man, his family, and enjoying the savings that their abhorrent claims handling policies resulted in? Are they proud of themselves for the job they did for their company and their shareholders? Are they at all sympathetic to their own insured's plight? Do they regret their role in his death? I invite them to comment, if they recognize themselves in this article and wish to respond.

The next time you read about a "frivolous lawsuit" or the need for more "tort reform", send the writer a copy of this article. If a filed lawsuit does not meet a standard that would allow it to be heard by a jury, a judge has the power to dismiss it. He/she has the power to assess costs to the plaintiff and/or attorney who brings it. "Junk" lawsuits are not clogging the dockets of courts around the country; junk defenses like those employed here certainly are clogging those dockets.

Stop drinking the tort reform Koolaid. Stop electing senators, representatives and congressmen who would restrict your access to the courts, limit your deserved recoveries, and/or vote to prevent or delay justice. If you are a conservative who stands for constitutional adherence, limited government, and personal responsibility, then vote for people who share those ideals. A legislator who votes for interference of the judicial branch by the legislative branch and who bails out billion dollar insurance companies is not worthy of your vote. If an insurance company gladly takes premiums from a customer, it should, just as gladly, pay out appropriate benefits without the David vs Goliath battle that this unfortunate plaintiff was forced to engage in. That is what is known as "personal responsibility": The insurance company that accepted the premium and with it, the risk, pays the claim instead of seeking a tort reform bailout from the legislature and a shift in responsibility to the taxpayer. And limited government means that the legislative branch should do its business and let the judicial branch do its business. That is what "separation of powers" is all about.

Peter, Paul and Mary once asked: "How many deaths will it take till we know?" That question applies to this falsely premised tort reform issue. Most of us purchase insurance for protection. How many of us are aware of how little protection this insurance we purchase provides? How many of us are aware of how hard these greedy companies fight to avoid paying us the benefits we have paid for and deserve? What other product/service on the market punishes us for using it exactly as we are supposed to? How many deaths will it take until we know?

Mark M. Bello is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation where he is instrumental in providing cash flow solutions and consulting when necessity of life lawsuit funding is needed during litigation. Mr. Bello has thirty-four years experience as a trial lawyer and 13 years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the litigation funding industry. He is recognized as an expert in this field by ExpertPages.com and ALM Experts. Mr. Bello is a sustaining and Justice PAC member of the Michigan Trial Lawyers Association, Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Member of the American and Michigan Bar Associations, Member of Public Justice and Public Citizen, Member of InjuryBoard, out-of-state member of the Mississippi Association for Justice and a business associate of the Florida Justice Association, Texas Trial Lawyers Association and the Consumer Attorneys of California. His articles have appeared in LawyersandSettlements.com, FindLaw, The West Reporter, The Safety Report, Plaintiff Magazine, Advocate Magazine, and other fine legal publications.

1 Comment

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  1. Ja says:
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    Michigan continues to treat their citizens as if they were 2nd. class people. The insurance companies and drug makers worry about their bottom line and not about the person hurt. Most of lawmakers worry about getting elected again not about the citizens they represent. Insurance companies and drug makers pour money into our lawmakers election fund knowing it takes money to win elections and they collect on their investment by laws passed in their favor. Not all Lawmakers are bad there are a few good ones that care about the people they represent, but the desire to get re-elected changes people.