Sunday, June 13, 2010

Too much Other Stuff

I was going to write a review of the Jersey Gods run of 12 all too short issues, but time's a killer this week. With my son's birthday party this weekend, my daughter's activities associated with her upcoming trip to France and England, and a retirement in my unit at work that has just killed the work load, it ain't happening. Next week, I promise.

I thought I'd take a page from Lee and talk about a slice of life instead. No amusing family life story, though. Bathrooms, either. I work with auto claims of a complex nature, so I get to see a lot of the dubious side of human nature. Occasionally, I get the old school, or at least what we like to perceive as the old school. Yesterday I had a guy who was in a fairly heavy impact loss tell me he didn't want to make any claim for his medical bills because they had already been paid under the no fault coverage of the car he was in, and he didn't want to make a claim for his pain and suffering for his injury (which only required a hospital ER check), because he didn't believe in that sort of thing.

I wonder how many of the people who maintain that sort of outlook would scream and holler if we adopted a more European system of health care? A single payer system to take care of it all so there's no duplication of payments like there is here. Little or no pain and suffering. Probably they'd scream bloody murder, a bit of irony if ever there was one, that these conservative sorts would align themselves with the trial lawyers. Funny enough, the insurance industry here would align with the trial lawyers on this one, as a single payer system for all health care would probably put both of them out of business. Me, too, of course (though there's nothing to say the auto insurance industry couldn't stay around to hanlde pain and suffering claims, auto damage, and the like).

Of course, that guy's the minority of what I see in any case. Most of them are full of crap in some way, though some do have legitimate injuries. Really, the legitimate ones are the easy ones. Multiple fractures? Dead? Brain damage? Not much to argue about there, so we're probably looking at paying policy limits. The legitimately policy limits claims are often tinged by a bit of sympathy, too, because the claims are usually worth more than the limits, but there's no more money out there to recover for various reasons. Often, the medical bills are more than the limits (something that single payer could resolve).

Now, the contentious ones are the most fun. That gets the battles going, the colors flying. The best amongst those, of course, are the ones represented by arrogant attorneys. In the Maryland claims I primarily work, the DC suburbs are prime for arrogant attorneys. Being an attorney myself, I know all the rules and probably more than a lot of these attorneys. In fact, some of my favorite wins have been cases involving Maryland's ice defense. Most other states have nothing like this, but under Maryland law a vehicle that slides on ice or snow into another vehicle is not negligent simply because of that sliding. There has to be evidence that the driver was doing something negligent when the sliding occurred, such as going too fast (which is a difficult thing to show in Maryland under any circumstances) or driving on bald tires. There's one attorney based out of Prince Georges County who's particularly arrogant, thinking he pretty much owns the courts in that county. Everything he handles is high dollar, or at least in his mind. In one case he has a client who was hit as a pedestrian while stopped on the shoulder of a busy multi-lane road exchanging information after a minor accident with my insured. The person who hit his client has offered up their policy limits, but that's not enough for this attorney. He's trying to threaten us into offering our policy limits, even though the initial loss with my insured had nothing to do with the second loss where his client was seriously injured. As with a number of other cases I've won against this guy, I'm looking forward to the fight.

Auto claims isn't for the faint of heart. The ability to tell people things they don't want to hear, preferably without upsetting them unduly, is no simple thing. Some will be upset, regardless, but if done right, many will accept the reasons for the decision. Doesn't mean they won't sue, of course. In the US, it's pretty much a birth right. Anyone can sue for anything, no matter how dubious. Most of them won't collect anything, or a pittance, but sue they shall.


  1. This sounds really familiar.

  2. Yeah, really a post for you and me. Likely no one else cares.

  3. Thomm-

    No worries. I don't care about you!

  4. Thomm...

    Darn that French keyboard. I meant to say I really don't care about you.

    Hope this clears things up.

  5. Ah, I feel the love...