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Aunt Sues Nephew: The Rest Of The Story

undefinedAunt Sues Young Nephew Over Broken Wrist! Aunt Sues Nephew Who Accidentally Broke Her Wrist When Giving Her A Hug! Recently, the news reports of the aunt who filed a personal injury lawsuit against her nephew caused an enormous national backlash against the aunt—and her personal injury attorneys. She was pilloried across social media, and in nightly news programs across the country.

Bit by bit, however, the “rest of the story” has trickled out, and we learned what the Tallahassee personal injury lawyers at Fasig & Brooks already knew: The insurance company made her do it.

Here’s the rest of the story: When the injured party (the aunt) sought to have her medical bills paid by the homeowner’s insurance policy, she was offered $1. In Connecticut, where the injury occurred, state laws require that people who file injury claims must take the responsible party to court, not the insurance company. Because of this, she was required to name a minor child in her lawsuit to recover damages. Not only was this stressful to their family, it made her look like a terrible person. After all, who sues their own nephew? The jury was not allowed to know that she was actually seeking to hold the insurance company liable for her medical bills; they were instead told they had to consider if a minor child acted in a negligent manner for his age. She lost the lawsuit, and the insurance company got away with not having to pay a claim for actual injuries.

Not quite the same story as what the salacious headlines would lead you to believe, is it?

If you are thinking that it seems like the deck is stacked in favor of the insurance company, you are right. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses, and their goal is to make money. They do this by trying to minimize risk—and minimize, or deny, payouts for legitimate claims. Insurance companies have lobbied hard for laws like the one in Connecticut- Florida has the same law- because they know that jurors have a harder time finding an individual responsible for financial damages, not knowing that an insurance company is actually responsible for paying the claim.

Personal injury lawyers have long battled insurance companies, seeking to hold them responsible for paying the benefits for which they are contractually bound. At Fasig & Brooks, we have seen how insurance companies use every tactic imaginable to try to avoid paying a fair amount on a legitimate claim. Recently, a Michigan law firm uncovered documentation that insurance companies have had, and continue to have, a detailed plan of action to delay and deny claims.

According to Mike Morse of the Mike Morse Law Firm,

“In the 1990s, State Farm insurance company began using a plan called “Advancing Claims Excellence” (or ACE) to handle its customers’ auto accident insurance claims. The ACE program outlined how State Farm could save as much as $30 million per year, by finding reasons to deny auto accident benefits to policyholders. How did they do it? By using lots of shameful tactics against their own policyholders such as:

  • Questioning their customers about their claims before they have a chance to hire a lawyer;
  • Hiring their own doctors to examine accident victims, and write reports saying there are no injuries related to the car accident
  • Prolonging the process by refusing to settle month after month then insisting on a trial
  • Offering their policy holders way less than the estimated value of a case during settlement negotiations;
  • Dragging their feet and causing unreasonable delays cases, especially where the injured person is a child, because the case would likely lose value over time.

The ACE program allowed State Farm insurance adjusters to go to all kinds of lengths to deny payment of benefits like medical bills and wage loss. In fact, we learned the adjusters were actually trained to deny these claims by using very specific policies outlined in the ACE programs.”

If you have been injured, the odds of settling your claim fairly without legal representation are not in your favor. Insurance companies have a detailed plan of action, with the resources of an entire company, to fight your claim. They have attorneys on their side, and if you have been injured, you need a personal injury attorney who will fight for your rights.

At Fasig & Brooks, our personal injury attorneys have experience in pursuing injury claims. When you call, an attorney will speak to you about your case free of charge. And, if we can’t take your case, we have a carefully vetted network of attorneys we can refer you to if appropriate.

Don’t let the insurance companies beat you down. We will stand for you, and seek the justice you deserve.