Countermeasures We Employ against unreasonable insurers

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Disclaimer: this article is not meant to be legal advice. We do not advise our clients by articles or online materials. For legal advise call us or email is for a consultation.

Throughout our years of experience at Assiff Law Office, we have seen insurers and in particular self -represented entities such as municipalities, who insure negligent municipal workers, use the following tactics to dissuade injured victims from pursuing an action altogether or to try and convince them to settle for far less than what their claim is actually worth.

At Assiff Law Office, our mandate is to ensure that all of our clients are properly and completely compensated. Often, we see these tactics employed before we are even retained. Some tactics continue thereafter. This short paper discusses the countermeasures that we take to protect against or combat these tactics and demonstrate why, in virtually 100 percent of the cases that come through our doors, we are victorious.

1. The Quick Settlement

This is perhaps the most common measure taken by insurers as against unrepresented victims. More often than not, the adjuster will have a much broader knowledge of insurance litigation and experience base than the injured victim. Injured victims often only have one accident injury in their lifetime whereas the adjuster on the other side will have dealt with hundreds upon hundreds of claims throughout their career. This is hardly a fair and equitable bargaining position.

To that end, we sometimes see our clients for the first time come through our doors with an “offer” from an adjuster. In 100 percent of those cases, we have beaten the offer even after taking into account our contingency fee agreement. In almost all cases, it far exceeds that number.

Countermeasure

Never speak to an insurance adjuster for the opposing party prior to consulting legal counsel. Their mandate is to protect the negligent driver or vehicle owner who has caused your injury.

Our duty at Assiff Law Office is the direct opposite: We protect you, the injured victim and advance your claim against the negligent driver/ defendants. We will provide you with a preliminary opinion on the reasonableness of the adjuster’s offer. Again, in virtually all cases, the offer is not a fair and proper settlement and as such, litigation is often required. Unlike other personal injury firms, our rates do not suddenly increase simply because more work is required of our firm to advance your case. Even if this means taking your matter all the way to trial, our rates remain the same. Your best interests are our best interests and we do not believe lawyers should be rewarded with a higher contingency fee rate simply because the matter takes longer or requires more effort on the part of the lawyer. Once we take on your case, we do anything and everything to pursue it and advance it to the best of our abilities using all of our extensive resources and knowledge.

2. “Independent” Medical Evaluations

Insurers are permitted by law to set up injury victims with their own independent medical evaluation. In our vast experience in dealing with such reports, it is no surprise, for the most part, that these reports are anything but “independent”. In fact, we view them almost invariably as being negative and not reflecting the true nature and extent of the victim’s injuries. There are of course some exceptions and there are certainly two ways of looking at the same injury. We do not think it is a coincidence that doctors retained by insurance companies generally downplay the nature and extent of a victim’s injuries.

Countermeasure

At Assiff Law Office, we guide you to the best path towards recovery and to the very best experts in the industry. We do not simply guide you to biased experts but actual caring professionals that will assist in your recovery and these same experts hold substantial weight in court and have been accepted by our courts. They are fair and will also reflect the nature and extent of your injuries.

We also check the defendant expert and give you the heads up on their tendencies and proclivities because, through our experience, we have almost certainly seen that expert before.

We will do whatever we can including fighting to have a camera in the examination room recording the insurance doctor to ensure he writes down on paper what actually happens in the room, not just something that the insurer wants to hear. Insurance companies do not like this and have responded in kind, so we have gone to court more than once to force this upon them to make sure that what is written by the insurance doctors is honest and accurate. Assiff Law Office does this for the benefit of not just our own clients, but all injured victims who have cases against insurers.

3. Denial

Defendants and their representatives will often deny a claim outright. This sometimes happens even after a lawyer is retained.
They do this thinking you may go away and not pursue the action. They will try and say it is all your fault when it actually is not. This happens even in very significant injury cases that we have succeeded in resolving or litigating.

They will often allege that the damage to your vehicle was minimal so there is no way you could have been injured. A car is a piece of metal. A human being not expecting an impact with their neck turned in a merge lane, vulnerable, is something very different.

Countermeasure

We generally will advise you at the outset whether you have a viable case or not. It is not our practice to take on cases where you are at fault because you cannot sue for a claim where you are at fault. However, once we take on your case we have made a predetermination that the injury is likely the fault of someone else and will pursue it vigorously. Some cases where the insurer outright denies your case should be resolved equally and a 50-50 basis pursuant to the Contributory Negligence Act. Others are simply the fault of the other party (regardless of the insurer’s tactics) especially when they are confirmed by the evidence of independent witnesses. We will gather these witness statements, often conduct accident reconstructions using our expert engineers and vigorously cross -examine defendants under oath to get to the truth of the matter. We are very proud of our track record in pursuing these more difficult and complex cases.

4. Delay

This is perhaps the most common tactic employed by insurers or their representatives. They often think that by making a low offer and letting a matter delay that injured victims will simply go away and take a fraction of what the case is worth. This is a very effective strategy used by insurance companies. Who wants to wait forever for compensation?

Countermeasure

At Assiff Law Office, our policy is to pursue all matters vigorously and in a timely manner. Will review your file at regular intervals, monitor the activities of your own insurance company to ensure they are doing their job, sue them if necessary and certainly that of the opposing insurance company or their lawyers.

We never let any matter sit for an extended period of time. When A defendant or their is reasonable, we will settle your case with them in a timely manner. When they are unreasonable, we stop wasting time dealing with them and litigate. If their lawyer or lawyers is unable or unwilling to offer a fair sum we take them to trial and let a judge decide what a fair settlement is and our rates never go up regardless of the time and effort we put into your case. We give every case 100 percent of the effort and care it deserves whether it settles with an adjuster or whether it is taken to trial for a judgement.

We will take dilatory insurers to trial. A win at trial punishes the insurer with court costs. It costs them much more in having to pay legal fees to their own lawyer and court costs for taking a case to trial that they should have settled.

Insurers can sometimes be reasonable once provided with evidence. We will gather that evidence and prove the full nature and extent of your claim. Often, even with that evidence, and certainly before we are retained, defendants and/ or the insurers that represent them can be quite unreasonable. Regardless of the tactics used by them, Assiff Law Office employs various countermeasures and experience that have proven case after case and year after year that we will be successful in pursuing your personal injury action. Our success rate is nearly 100 percent. That is not just a statistic. It is reality.

Assiff Law Office. Experience. Results. Most of all: We Care.
I hope you have found this article helpful. If you or a loved one has been injured through no fault of your own, feel free to call us for a free consultation.

Norm Assiff

Norm Assiff

Norm was awarded the Alberta Civil Trial Lawyers Association (ACTLA) President's Award for 2012--awarded to a member of the Alberta bar who has distinguished himself or herself by his or her contribution to the profession or the community, the advancement of the law or their service to ACTLA. He has appeared at all levels of court in Alberta (Provincial Court, Queen's Bench and the Alberta Court of Appeal) as well as the Supreme Court of British Columbia and the Federal Court of Appeal.

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The information presented on this post is not legal advice. We encourage you to perform further research on the topics described here, and if you have any questions or would like to speak to one of our personal injury lawyers, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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