Good hands? Your insurance company is not your friend, they work for the profit of their shareholders.

I deal with insurance companies and seriously injured people every day, I could go on and on with reasons why you should consult with a personal injury lawyer and the record profits that insurance companies are making at the expense often, of their insured. However, please see my blog article on "Why you need a personal injury lawyer," and the follow up, " New Laws Rein In Insurance Companies" I think these two blog posts offer an excellent concise overview and links to many primary and respected news resources.

If you are interested in learning more about insurance companies working to profit their shareholders and not serving their insured customers, the American Association for Justice has released an in depth report they did in 2008 entitled, "The Ten Worst Insurance Companies In America: How They Raise Premiums, Deny Claims, and Refuse Insurance to Those Who Need It Most." The Association for Justice are lawyers, law professors, law students, law clerks, paralegals, and have been awarded for their research and publications.

The, "Ten Worst Insurance Companies report tells too many important stories about how far the insurance companies will go to protect their profits over the interest of their insured:

"One example is Ethel Adams, a 60-year-old woman left in a coma and seriously injured after a multi-vehicle crash in Washington State. Her insurance company, Farmers, decided the other driver had acted intentionally and denied her claim, contending that an intentional act is not an accident."

The American Association for Justice report features their in depth research into Allstate. "The amount Allstate paid out in claims dropped from 79 percent of its premium income in 1996 to just 58 percent ten years later. In auto claims, the payouts dropped from 63 percent to just 47 percent. Allstate saw $4.6 billion in profits in 2007, more than double the level of profits it experienced in the 1990s."

The insurance company tactics are well known and egregious, but fiscally, also very complicated which makes it difficult for journalists to get the facts to the public in articles much less sound bites.

The American Association for Justice research report is much more in depth treatment, yet they are also able to summarize the big story and deliver important facts, "In 2006, AIG paid $1.6 billion to settle charges of a variety of financial shenanigans that had commentators describing AIG as "the new Enron." Two years later, five insurance executives were found guilty of fraud. [...] Greenberg was identified by prosecutors as an "unindicted co-conspirator," and notified that the Securities and Exchange Commission, which had already fined the company $126 million, was likely to pursue civil charges against him for two separate incidences of fraud." AIG was also fined millions of dollars by state insurance regulators, and faces charges that they bilked pension funds out of billions of dollars."

Finally, one of the insurance companies the American Association for Justice report covers is Conseco. Elder abuse and neglegence are personal injury areas of law, and the elderly are one of the more underserved in having their rights protected. Often elder abuse is criminal, not only a civil personal injury case, However, many may not be aware of what constitutes insurance "bad faith" acts, nor that an insurance company would deliberately target seniors in "bad faith."

Conseco, according to the American Association for Justice report, is an insurance company that specializes in selling long term care policies to the elderly. This type of insurance coverage is intended to pay for end of life care, which helps the elderly be assured that they will be able to live in an assisted living home if they are no longer able to take care of themselves. . However, according to the report, "Conseco uses the deteriorating health of its policyholders to its advantage because the company knows if it waits long enough to pay out claims, its customers will die." The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) did crack down on Conseco. "In May 2008, NAIC announced it had brokered a settlement between Conseco and 39 states and the District of Columbia over a pattern of abuses in its long-term care business."

These examples from the "Ten Worst Insurance Companies" report are just illustrative of the in depth compelling story that this comprehensive research report gets into, and I encourage you to read the whole report, especially if it may help you not give up on your own struggle for a fair settlement.

The American Association for Justice has many other excellent research reports which are accessible to the public and trial lawyers from their website.

Portland, Oregon Personal Injury Lawyer

I represent injured bicyclists, motorcyclists, truck drivers, and auto drivers in my Portland, Oregon personal injury law practice. I am a member of the Oregon Trial Lawyer Association and co-chair of the Motor Vehicle Accident Committee.

I fight to protect the rights of my clients and I think the news coverage and overview of the political fight will tell you why, and why you really should consult with a personal injury lawyer. Don't settle without getting a good idea of what your case is worth. Settling for less then your case is worth only empowers the insurance companies and makes it easier for them to continue to take advantage of customers who are not getting what they pay for.

I have spoken before the Oregon State Legislature to try and get them to change Oregon Personal Injury laws to better help injured Oregonians and I will continue to do so until they quit siding with big insurance companies and start siding with the people who they are supposed to represent.