Certain companies are more reasonable than others. Several years ago, Infinity Insurance (now with Kemper Insurance) was the most difficult insurance company to deal with. They didn’t want to pay any money to anybody (even if your head popped off your body and rolled down the street). Then it was Mercury Insurance. Mercury Insurance didn’t want to offer any more than $500 to anyone. It was a joke among lawyers.
It seems that insurance companies take turns being unreasonable. In fact, when I was a volunteer mediator with the Los Angeles county court system, I often declined serving as a mediator when the insurance company involved was Mercury. I believed that they wouldn’t come to the table in good faith. Then, State Farm was the difficult one. In fact, I was a lawyer for State Farm when that was the case. It was frustrating how the company made lowball offers in cases where the other party was clearly significantly injured. It wasn’t about valuing the case properly. It seemed to me the insurance adjuster was only concerned about saving money for the company (as if they were paying out of their own pocket). Invariably, these tactics come back to haunt the insurance company. These tactics forced cases to trial. For a long while, juries sided with the defense most of the time. Unless a client had significant injuries, juries didn't want to give substantial awards. The insurance companies knew this and figured they would win most of the time. Recently, some juries have been awarding significant awards to injured people, causing the insurance company to reevaluate their obstinate position.
But like a pendulum, every company goes through these changes. Also, keep in mind that while the culture of an insurance company may be a certain way, there are still insurance adjusters out there who think independently and are fair. Typically they are quite experienced and not looking to simply save a dime for their employer. They have seen too much and are often much more reasonable in their evaluations. So don’t forget to factor in the human component that affects the evaluation of injury claims.
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by Robert Mansour
Robert Mansour is a personal injury lawyer serving Santa Clarita, Valencia,