Why You Can’t Win Alone,
By Shaun M. Phillips, Esq.
I am writing this after reflecting upon a recent encounter with Farmers’ Insurance. My client was the middle car in a three-car pile-up, and sustained what all insurance companies label “minor impact soft tissue” injuries. The term is thrown around as if injuries to the soft tissues of one’s body—which make up over half of the body, and include the brain, by the way—are less real than a broken bone. Farmers Insurance, and the entire insurance industry, believe that saying the term “soft tissue injury” enough times will make these cases go away. Sadly, some lawyers, cowed by these tactics, play right along settling these serious injury cases for less than fair compensation.
If you are unfamiliar with Farmers or its subsidiaries, you may not know that if you are involved in an auto collision in Southern California, you will likely find yourself dealing with a representative, or two, or three, at the mill known as “San Diego Claims Team.” That’s right, your injuries are so insignificant, that you will not even receive a dedicated claims handler. You will be bounced from person to person who will deal with you in the same cold, calculated manner. Your injuries will be shallowly reviewed according to a standard set of criteria that all of the adjusters will follow. No consideration will be given to the individualities of your personal physiology or the facts of your case—you, are not human. You are a name on a piece of paper, which as quickly as possible, will be pushed through the mill. Yes, this is reality. This is a legal, accepted process in our country, and it happens on a daily basis for many people who truly sustain injuries.
Who do you blame for this? You shouldn’t blame the claims adjuster, even though such person is the easiest target as your main point of contact with the process. Farmers, like many insurance companies, is a corporation with shareholders. In the case of Farmers, the group is owned by the giant insurance conglomerate, Zurich, which earns revenue in excess of 60 billion dollars yearly. This simply means that Farmers’ board of directors is concerned only with the company’s bottom line—and not you. From the highest level of management, a standardized procedure that trivializes the human body and the individual stories and suffering involved, is pushed down to the claims adjuster. The claims adjuster is rewarded in the form of bonuses for preying on you, the unwary, injured person. In fact, this is what causes Farmers’ profits to soar while you suffer from pain, anxiety, inconvenience, medical bills, lost time from work, etc. It is the classic case of David vs. Goliath.
I write about my experience not to be a “hater” of Farmers (although, it does give me some satisfaction to discuss this widely occurring system of injustice), but to inform you, the person who was injured due to no fault of your own. This is the type of treatment you will encounter, and you shouldn’t have to fight—and it will be a fight—alone.
If you have been injured in a car accident in Southern California, get the legal assistance that you need and deserve. To get a fair deal, you need the expertise of someone who is conditioned to, and familiar with, dealing in this rigged system that is pitted against you. But, even more importantly, you need an attorney who will not be intimidated by Farmers’ or any insurance company’s aggressive tactics to settle your claim for anything less than what is fair and right.
Most personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation, and work on a contingency basis—that means no fees up front in most cases. If you feel that you have been treated unfairly, or you don’t know what your next step should be, there is no downside to talking with an experienced personal injury attorney. Remember that the consultation is equally your opportunity to interview your potential lawyer, and ensure that you are putting your claim in the hands of an attorney who cares about you, and doing what is right—even if that requires more time and effort. While no single case is likely to change the entire insurance industry that doesn’t mean give up and give in. If you have been injured in Southern California, stand up to these heartless giants and demand fair compensation for the harm that you have suffered.