Monday, September 3, 2012

Dealing With the Insurance Company in Child Accident Injury Claims

Wednesday, December 9, 2009, 23:33
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In those cases where a child has been injured by a negligent party with insurance, the parents will at some point have to deal with the insurance company. Parents will need to address questions of liability and damages, including payment for past and future medical expenses and other damages incurred by the child. This can be a daunting and unsatisfying task. The parent of an injured child is likely already under a tremendous amount of stress given the traumatic nature of the child’s injury.

Insurance adjustors are trained to take advantage of this fact so that the company can resolve or settle the claim as cheaply as possible.

First a word about the insurance industry when it comes to resolving injury claims. It is fair to say that the moment a person has been injured by someone’s negligence, that person has also entered into a war zone with the insurance industry. No, that is not an overstatement. For more than 30 years, the insurance industry has spent hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars on advertising to spread false and misleading information about accident claims. The industry wants people to believe that the justice system is out of control and that people who file lawsuits are getting millions of dollars for minor injuries. Take it from someone who is literally in the “trenches,” and who has settled and litigated hundreds if not thousands of injury claims, such propaganda simply isn’t true. Oh sure, you will occasionally read about the million-dollar case for what appears to be a minor injury as reported in your local newspaper, but such a case is usually the exception. Most injury cases are resolved for amounts that are much less than a million dollars, and many times less than six figures. And this includes those cases involving more severe injuries. Many severe injuries receive inadequate or no compensation at all due to a variety of factors, not the least of which is the vigorous defense often mounted by the insurance company to either defeat the case entirely or to significantly lessen the value of the claim.

The insurance carrier does this by hiring aggressive defense attorneys and high-priced experts to say that the accident was someone else’s fault, that the injuries are not that severe, or that they were caused by some other factor or pre-existing condition. Most people have no idea about the extreme efforts some insurance carriers will go to defeat even legitimate claims. In fact, it is not uncommon that some of these companies will spend much more money defending the claim by hiring lawyers and experts than an amount it would take to settle the case for a reasonable sum.

The insurance industry’s far-reaching propaganda machine has created the false impression in the public that the system needs fixing. Unfortunately, this “disinformation” spread by the industry has had an enormous negative influence on juries and their verdicts. Juries today are highly skeptical about people who file lawsuits that claim money for “pain and suffering” (even when those claims involve children!). Many people who wind up on juries believe the myths touted by the insurance industry, or they may be highly persuaded by the arguments of their high-priced attorneys and the testimony of their formidable experts who earn substantial income working for the defense. These efforts by the industry may be a huge obstacle to achieving justice in the case of your child, even when the injuries are severe and the negligence of the other party has been conclusively established. Lawyers who handle injury cases have learned that it is much more difficult to achieve justice for their clients in today’s climate of skepticism and increased propaganda. If your child has an injury claim, you need to be aware that the insurance adjustor will utilize any means necessary to pay out as little as possible, even on legitimate claims that involve serious injuries. It does not matter to the adjustor that the victim is a small child or that the injuries are so catastrophic as to evoke tremendous sympathy from most people who understand what has happened to your child. Insurance claims adjustors receive extensive training on how to save the company money, and not necessarily on how to examine a child’s claim fairly and pay a reasonable settlement. In fact, most insurance companies reward their claims adjustors with bonuses or promotions based on how much money that person saves the company rather than on whether the claims are settled fairly. So, when the adjustor listens to the facts of your child’s injury claim, he or she is thinking of ways to pay out as little as possible so the bonus is bigger at the end of the year.

Christopher M. Davis is a Seattle attorney focusing personal injury cases. He is also known as a child accident lawyer and has written the the book ‘Little Kids, Big Accidents’ as a resource for parents of injured children. Learn more about Mr. Davis at and get info on Little Kids, Big Accidents at

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