The fact is that nobody, not the lawyer for the defendant, not the lawyer for the plaintiff, and not the Judge, or the Bailiff, or the Talent Scout from the Judge Judy series looking for colorful losers to seek justice before her bench are allowed to so much as whisper the word INSURANCE in a personal injury case.
If you’re wondering why that is, consider the answer to the following question: How do insurance companies make money?
Answer: By keeping as much of the money, your money, the money you pay them for insurance as the law will allow. Duh!
Of course, the surest way to keep your money in their Super Glue coated fingers is for them to pay out nothing, or as little as possible on the smallest number of claims imaginable. The validity of a claim never appears to be part of their corporate philosophy, which Tarzan or Tonto might sum up like this: COLLECT PREMIUM, GOOD. PAY CLAIM, BAD.
Naturally, whenever an injured party has the audacity to pursue satisfaction at law after having been ignored, denied, discounted, or dismissed by an insurance company, or by an individual, or business entity insured by an insurance company, a phalanx of killer company lawyers appears to beat the arrogant schnook into the ground, and stick him, or her with court costs in the bargain.
And how do Insurance Company legal eagles keep their fabulously wealthy client’s smartly invested billions safe from such notoriously greedy predators as the grievously injured little old lady, who received life threatening third degree burns from a spill of boiling hot coffee in a temple of fast food? Simple. Blame the victim: “The old lady was a senile butterfingers. I mean, who spills coffee on herself?” And by later launching a nationwide PR campaign to ridicule the victim: “You mean to tell me that some old broad wants a couple million bucks for spilling coffee in her lap? Get me tort reform! Fast!”
All of which brings us to this well established fact: People hate insurance companies. And with good cause.
Insurance companies know this, and insurance companies are big business. So like all big businesses, they want to keep people with grievances against them out of court where they are likely to get some measure of justice from juries of their peers, who will identify with them as fellow human beings, sympathize with the shoddy treatment they have received, and want to exact revenge on their behalf by screwing the insurance company.
That’s why insurance companies and their big business brethren contribute heavily to elect and keep in office government officials, who are sympathetic to their determination to keep their money, and not fritter it away by providing proper redress, and care for those whom they have injured, or by paying whatever it costs to correct their harmful mistakes, or by paying appropriate fines, and other penalties for their failure to deal honestly in the first place.
Whoever it was that had the word INSURANCE banned in courtrooms did insurance companies a huge favor.
Of course, the mere utterance of the word INSURANCE in court might compromise the jury’s commitment to fairness, or worse, encourage a jury to punish the insurance company, rightly or wrongly, just for being in the insurance business. For good or ill, and mostly ill, the enforced ban on mentioning INSURANCE often leads to theatrical presentations by insurance company lawyers, who want to present their company’s client as poorer than a church mouse in a village of atheists. For example, a part time bus driver, who could not read English, and mistakenly drove a school bus full of blind children into a carwash where they were cruelly washed and waxed would be prepared for his court appearance by his insurance company’s lawyers by being dressed in rags with a large military medal pinned to his threadbare coat whether or not he had ever been in the service. And his worn down shoes, one brown, one black, would be scuffed, and without heels to help make the jury believe that a finding for the plaintiff against this poor slob would mean taking away his last pfennig, and he a pauper more deserving of pity than punishment.
The underlying hope, of course, was that the jury members would not be aware that the Big Board company, which employed the creep had also insured him as it did all its driver employees for tens of millions of dollars, and therefore would not come down with a punitive and costly settlement on behalf of the plaintiff, those well waxed blind kids.
Which raises these questions: Do all insurance companies lie, cheat and dissemble, and do they have a culture dedicated to the retention of their monies at all costs?
Let me put it this way. The first recorded insurance policy, a term life contract, was in 1583 in London. The insured, one William Gybbon, was a salter, that is he salted fish and meat, and his beneficiary was one Richard Martin, relationship unknown. Gybbon died within the year, but the insurance underwriters refused to pay on the grounds that the contract was for a year of 12 lunar months. Inventive, huh? Lunar months!
Guess what? The court ruled otherwise, and issued a finding which in contemporary terms translates as, “Pay up, scumbags!” And they did.
So should you be injured in any way do you trust an insurance company to set things right, including broken bones, or do you seek out a personal injury lawyer immediately? Considering the brief history of insurance lesson just given, you figure it out.