In the Battle for Reasonable Compensation in Serious Personal Injury Cases, Who Are The Bad Guys?
Mark BelloSeptember 24, 2012 12:33 PM
Everyone hates attorneys unless they need one. Until you have been involved in a serious, life-changing, accident, you have no idea the impact that a serious accident has on your life. You also have no idea how important retaining an attorney, the right attorney, will have on your post-accident life. Lawsuit Financial is a company that provides pre-settlement funding; in other words, we provide financial assistance to accident victims to help them while they are pursuing their accident cases. As such, we work with many fine attorneys, all over the country. These are quality attorneys, quality people, who fight, every day, to assist those who, by quirk of fate, are far less fortunate than the average citizens. I will never understand why there is such a negative perception of these attorneys by the "healthy" public, and that is the main point of this post.
Here's a question for you: Why does an injured person need an attorney in the first place? I am out of town this week; I just attended a fabulous InjuryBoard Summit in Delray Beach, Florida, where we discussed, among many other topics, the "image problem" of personal injury lawyers. At the same time, I discovered, on television, of all places, that injured clients who retain attorneys receive 3 and 1/2 times the compensation that clients who do not retain attorneys receive. Why is that? Because if a client does not retain a well-trained, experienced, "in the trenches" attorney, the insurance company will take advantage of the client, every single time. And, adequate compensation to disabled victims is important in making those responsible (and their insurance companies) for their fate, responsible for their care. Otherwise, the accident victims become a drain on, dependent upon the "system" (taxpayers) for assistance. We, the people, become responsible, instead of the wrongdoers and their insurance companies that profited from taking on the risks. Republicans are and always have been on the wrong side of this debate.
To the public and the media, Insurance companies market discount pricing. They claim to have the lowest rates; they claim to be your "good neighbor", that you are "in good hands", that they are "on your side". Not a single insurance company markets or brags about how well they treat their policy holders (or those that their policy holders injure or kill); they simply do not disclose their claims-handling prowess. They only want you to know how inexpensive their product is when compared to their competitors. However, if they are not on your side, if they are a terrible neighbor, if you are in hostile hands, than their "discounted rates" are not "cheap", at all. I submit that they are worthless, without a strong, consumer friendly, claims handling policy. You see, the truth is, and most insurance executives will admit this, insurance companies are not in the business of helping people who have suffered a loss or who have suffered a devastating injury. Insurance companies are in the business of making money for their shareholders.
While there is nothing wrong with making money, there is something wrong with making it so deceptively. There is also something wrong with making money by utilizing strategies that cause injured and disabled people to become desperate for assistance. Insurance companies will not do the right thing unless an experienced attorney makes them do the right thing. And by that time, because insurance companies will always deny or delay fair compensation, the client is, almost always, financially destitute. That is why companies like Lawsuit Financial came into existence. Clients, with pending personal injury lawsuits, would never need lawsuit funding if the insurance companies always paid claims in a fair and timely manner. And, it isn't enough that insurance companies and the US Chamber of Commerce try to spam the Internet and deceive the public about lawyers and lawsuits. They are now engaged in the same process to demonize legal finance companies, the same companies that their "delay, deny, confuse, refuse" tactics caused a need for!
So, America, I put the question to you: Who are the bad guys, here?
Mark M. Bello is CEO and General Counsel for Lawsuit Financial Corporation. He is actively blogs about legal issues and has written numerous articles for a variety of legal publications including the Legal Examiner and the Safety Report. He is a JusticePac member of the American Association for Justice, a sustaining and JusticePac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, an associate member of several other state TLA's, and a proud member of the Injury Board.