Progressive Insurance: Bad on Claims, Great on Sales

A recent public relations firestorm for Progressive Insurance Company has finally exposed to the public the ugly underbelly of the automobile liability insurance industry that most lawyers already know. When you are injured in an automobile wreck or your loved one is killed, you first turn to the at fault party’s liability insurance for compensation.  But what happens when this liability insurance is not enough?  In the Progressive Insurance example, a woman was killed in an auto wreck.  That woman was insured by Progressive.  The at-fault party’s insurer paid out the limits of its policy but this was insufficient to compensate the family for this loss.  The family then turned to Progressive because the deceased woman had been smart enough to purchase uninsured motorist coverage to cover herself in the event that the at-fault party was underinsured.  Note: Uninsured motorist coverage not only covers you when you are hit by an uninsured motorist, it also provides additional coverage when the at-fault party does not have sufficient insurance to pay for the damages to your body and your life.  What shocked the family was that Progressive refused to settle and ultimately defended the person who killed their loved one. What happens when you file a claim with your uninsured motorist insurance company, the same one that you have been paying premiums to for years, and that company refuses to settle the claim?  You have to file suit against the at-fault driver and your own insurance company defends the person who hurt you.  That’s exactly what happened in the Progressive example, and that is what happens every year in thousands of similar cases all over the south.  

I recently tried a case where my client, a wonderful school teacher, mother and dedicated wife, had very significant back injuries and subsequent back surgery, all of which were related to and caused by an auto accident.  She was rear-ended on the interstate in Atlanta traffic.  The at-fault party’s insurer paid its $100,000 limits, but my client’s insurer (State Farm) refused to pay the additional $25,000 of underinsured motorist coverage.  We were forced to file a lawsuit.  State Farm stepped in and defended the at-fault party.  We gave State Farm several opportunities to settle the case for the $25,000.  They refused.  Instead, State Farm forced the case to trial.  At trial the State Farm lawyer found a single medical record where my client had complained of back pain to her primary care doctor prior to the wreck but received no treatment related to that complaint.  The State Farm lawyer used this single complaint of back pain to discredit my client and suggest that the wreck did not cause her back problems.  He was calling my client a liar.  It is very disconcerting for anyone to be cross examined and falsely accused by a lawyer hired and paid for by their own insurance company.  But this is the reality of large claims associated with significant personal injuries and death.

If you or a loved one has been hurt or killed in a auto wreck, you will probably need a lawyer.  You may even have to fight your own insurance company in court. Contact Keith Bodoh, and Matt Nasrallah -- lawyers in Marietta Ga serving the Marietta, Cobb County and Metro Atlanta areas.  

Written by Matt Nasrallah, auto accident attorney in Marietta Ga

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