Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

A former claims adjuster supervisor at Allstate Insurance testified in a first-party bad faith case in Kentucky that Allstate strong-armed injury victims and bullied them into taking less than the fair value for their personal injury cases. According to the former Allstate manager, the company changed its paradigm in 1995 and created a “dehumanizing process” where the only goal was maximizing profits.

The former Allstate employee made a few other claims of note. First, if Colossus, the computer program that evaluates the value of personal injury claims, came out with a value not to Allstate’s liking, the adjusters would manipulate the data so it produces a lower figure. The adjusters who paid out too much were punished in their evaluations. This adjuster also testified, as I have written about in the past, that Allstate keeps track of which plaintiff personal injury lawyers will go to trial and who settles for the best possible offer.

I’m sure these allegations are true. But Allstate is hardly the only insurance company that puts profits first and tries to pay as little as possible, nor is it the most egregious practitioner of this art. Insurance companies by their inherent nature are good at accepting premiums and bad at playing claims. Bobby Kennedy, one of my idols, said, “Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and say why not?” When it comes to insurance companies,

The Minnesota Supreme Court released an opinion last week, stating that an exception to Minnesota’s seat belt gag rule permitted a three-year-old child to sue his parents for not properly buckling his seat belt. The suit contended that the parents failed to discover and remove a coin from the buckle mechanism of the child’s car seat. His grandparents brought the suit on behalf of the child, presumably with their consent and encouragement.

The case’s facts are unimaginable. This boy’s seatbelt came off when an uninsured motorist struck his father’s SUV. Their SUV flipped and the boy’s car seat became unbuckled. The boy is now a quadriplegic confined to a wheelchair and will require 24-hour care for the rest of his life. It is difficult to conjure up a greater tragedy.

Minnesota has a law that makes the Plaintiff’s failure to wear a seat belt inadmissible at trial. As I have written in the past, Maryland has a similar law on seat belt use admissibility at trial. A claim was brought and settled against the parents and the manufacturer of the restraint system, based on the Minnesota seat belt statute’s gag rule allowing claims for “an action…for defectively designed, manufactured, installed, or operating seat belt restraint systems.” Progressive Insurance made the argument that the plain meaning language of the seat belt gag rule statute clarified that the exception was intended to apply to manufacturers of car seats or seat belts, and not to those who may have negligently buckled or maintained a seat belt.