Arizona Car Accidents: Why Insurers Low ball & Stall
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Insurance company bad faith practices
What tactics do insurance companies use in order to deny or delay claim payments? According to Dave Wattel, an Arizona attorney who has been handling plaintiffs' cases exclusively for over 20 years, they:
Low ball, stall, low ball, stall. Thats their agenda. Its interesting, because of late Ive seen even more of that. Perhaps the economy has played a role. I currently have a case with a carrier where we submitted a policy limit demand knowing that they only had a specific amount of coverage. They completely ignored us. So now we have filed suit. The coverage in that case is only $50,000; yet my clients have medical expenses well in excess of $200,000.
He says that the insurance company is going to be in trouble because theyve exposed their insured, the defendant, to this inevitable excess judgment and theyre going to end up paying a lot more money down the line. He also told us that he's seeing a lot more of those types of situations because insurance companies are stalling. He explained:
Ive seen carriers of late with larger cases not willing to offer fair value in litigation, spend a lot of money in that litigation and then offer fair value down the line. They want to dot their Is and cross their Ts, which makes a lot of sense.
But from an economic standpoint, it may cost them more money. I also think that insurers figure that many people are desperate for money these days. Theyre not going to offer full and fair value short of suit, so they may be able to save some money by some people caving.
Making the insurance carrier pay
There are a lot of attorneys out there whose business model is to accept whatever the carrier offers and will persuade the insured to settle for that amount, according to Wattel. However, his firm's strategy is far different. Were the experts. We're going to evaluate the case and the carrier is going to pay for it voluntarily or were going to do our best to force them to pay it. In many situations, we'll persuade our client to litigate because its going to be financially worthwhile to them.
Wattel says that his firm has filed a number of breach-of-contract and bad-faith insurance suits of late and probably a greater number than they've done historically. He believes that it has to do with the low ball and stall tactics of insurance carriers who think theyre beyond reproach. If you've been injured in an auto accident, contact an experienced auto accident attorney to discuss your situation and evaluate your options. You may be entitled to compensation for injuries.