New York Car Accidents—Allstate And State Farm’s Policy of “Deny, Delay and Defend”

July 10, 2012 by Mark Siesel

This past week, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper reported on what personal injury attorneys around the country have known for the last several years: Allstate and State Farm Insurance Company have a policy of refusing to pay on legitimate claims for pain and suffering, medical and hospital bills, and lost earnings, particularly in what are known as “low speed impacts” in which the injured car accident victim’s car does not have significant property damage. In this two part report beginning on July 3rd on CNN, the strategy of “Deny, Delay and Defend” is laid bare for exactly what it is, an effort by multi billion dollar companies to avoid payment of claims on the premise that there is fraud, when the true rationale is to maximize profits for corporations which rake in huge monies while doing their level best to avoid showing their profit and loss statements.

Simply put, the strategy is deny: we weren't at fault because your client stopped short or didn't go to the hospital right away; delay: we need several months to evaluate your claim by doctors, therapists, bio-mechanical engineers, or “trauma experts” (a new tactic in which insurance company adjusters have records reviewed by emergency room physicians who has never examined the plaintiff but determine that they could not have been injured in the accident because they didn't complain of a particular injury right away); Lastly, defend: “We are offering you $7,500 and you have until this date to accept. If you do not accept by that date, the offer is withdrawn and will not be made again.”

As a personal injury attorney who has been litigating cases against Allstate and State Farm for over 25 years, one of the classic tactics that these corporations use, particularly in low speed impact cases, is to take the cases to trial, make posters out of the damage photographs, and show them to a jury with the exclamation: “How could this minor accident have caused all of those injuries/this surgery/that amount of treatment?” The fact is, and orthopedists and neurologists will readily acknowledge this, that cars are manufactured now so that there are accidents with substantial damage to the cars and the occupants walk away without any injury, (particularly since the advent of air bags for both front and side collisions) and many crashes in which there is almost no visible damage (due to the improved design of cars, or the point of impact between the vehicles, or damage not visible to the undercarriage of the car, for example), where the previously uninjured person now has severe back or neck pain requiring long term treatment and sometimes surgery.

The report also discusses a book written by Davis Berardinelli, called “From Good Hands To Boxing Gloves”, which illuminates the policy of treating most minor accident claim victims as frauds, and the effort to pay pennies on the dollar on legitimate claims to cause personal injury attorneys to decide that claims against Allstate or State Farm insureds without definitive fractures or noticeable property damage are not worth the expenditure in time or money. As Mr. Berardinelli notes in an interview, if they can save $1,000 on one million claims, “you can do the math.” One ironic story in the report was of a former Allstate claims adjuster who used to believe the company line that virtually all minor impact victims were malingerers—that is, until she was an accident victim herself and now has severe neck and back pain with a car that was barely damaged.

If you or a loved one suffer serious injuries in a car crash, motorcycle accident, or truck accident, you need an aggressive trial attorney who has the experience, skill and knowledge to obtain full compensation for past and future pain and suffering, loss of earnings and earning potential, medical and hospital expenses, and loss of enjoyment of life. Contact the Westchester County Personal Injury Attorneys at the White Plains, New York Law Office of Mark A. Siesel, as we are dedicated to obtaining the maximum possible compensation for our clients. Call us toll free at 888-761-7633 or contact us online for your free initial consultation today.