Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal published an online article about new devices insurance companies are using to monitor drivers.
I have decided that it's time for me to come clean. I used to be insured by Allstate.
My regular checkup at the dentist frequently starts off with a discussion about my dental hygiene, but often turns into a legal discussion. My dentist will occasionally tell me to stop talking in legal "mumbo jumbo" (for some reason he tells me of the origins of the phrase). "Wait a minute," I say,"I'm just telling you the law." He then moves the conversation back to my teeth and explains, more or less, that my problem has something to do with the fact that my "mesiolingual cusp is twice the size of the distolingual cusp." Uh, what? One more time, please?
Then, I have the irresistable urge to quote from an episode of Psych, one of my favorite TV shows (fake psychics, real detectives), where psychic Shawn Spencer pretends to be a doctor but doesn't know any medical terminology:
What is tort reform, anyway?
If you look in the dictionary, you'll see the word tort and the word torture have the same root - the latin word for "twisted". Think of a tort as torture without criminal intent. Or, in nicer words "a wrongful act other than a breach of contract for which relief may be obtained in the form of damages or an injunction."
Although some countries have eliminated tort law, the United States continues to operate on the theory that if someone has injured another person, they are liable for the damages caused, with some exceptions.
I hope the answer to this question is no. Nearly twenty years ago, Robert Redford starred in a movie about hackers. One scene in the movie shows them decrypting the phrase "No more secrets." The recent Pennsylvania case Largent v. Reed (Pa. Common Pleas Nov. 8, 2011) proves this is a reality of the Internet Age. In Largent, the defendant asked the judge for access to the plaintiff's Facebook account so he could prove that she was exaggerating her injuries. The judge ruled that plaintiff's access to Facebook was not protected under various statutes and granted defendant 21 days of access to plaintiff's account.
Whether or not you need to file a lawsuit depends on whether the party who injured you, through its insurance company, offers you a fair settlement. Sure, you could accept an unfair settlement and you avoid filing, but we encourage all of our clients who are not being treated fairly to assert their right to have their claim value assessed by a judge or jury.
Many plaintiffs are not being treated fairly. In fact, I got off the phone with an adjuster yesterday who said...
I am frequently asked about the cost of medical negligence claims. The questions usually revolve around why so many people are suing doctors (they aren't) and why these same people are driving up the cost of health insurance (they aren't, either). Occasionally, someone will ask me why it is so hard to get an attorney to take their medical negligence claim. Yes, it is shockingly true, attorneys don't want to take most medical negligence cases. A prominent Seattle firm notes that it represents about 1 in 50 of the potential clients that walk through its door. Why is that?
Well, one reason is the cost of litigation. While a run-of-the-mill auto accident case may cost between $5,000 and $10,000 to litigate, medical negligence costs may run in the hundreds of thousands. Take a look at the recent data from the Washington insurance commissioner. Not many people have the ability to spend that much money while facing high odds of losing at trial.
I was curious to see how my insurance company rated against other insurance companies in customer satisfaction and I found a helpful link. The Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner posts the number of complaints an insurance company has compared with the number of policy holders @ https://fortress.wa.gov/oic/complaints/default.aspx. I was not surprised to see that my insurance company showed up near the top in customer satisfaction, because I chose them based on how they treated my clients. Look for yourself and see whether or not you should make a change.