Arizona Car Accidents: Why Insurers Low ball & Stall

It's no secret that insurance companies benefit by collecting your premiums and then avoid paying claims. To find out how insurers rate in Arizona, we asked an expert in Arizona auto accident law – and without missing a beat, he told us that their agenda is to low ball and stall.

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. That’s their agenda. It’s interesting, because of late I’ve 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 they’ve exposed their insured, the defendant, to this inevitable excess judgment and they’re 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:

I’ve 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 I’s and cross their T’s, 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. They’re 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. “We’re the experts. We're going to evaluate the case and the carrier is going to pay for it voluntarily or we’re going to do our best to force them to pay it. In many situations, we'll persuade our client to litigate because it’s 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 they’re 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.