The property and casualty insurance industry, as a whole, denies thousands upon thousands of claims a year. In thousands upon thousands of more claims, an insurance company will offer -what the personal injury attorney and injured person certainly believe is - far below reasonable and fair compensation in settlement.
Insurance companies routinely can and do take the position that you were not hurt or not seriously hurt in your accident as a matter of course.
Although the major insurance companies can still be hugely profitable while sustaining and underwriting loss i.e. paying out more in claims then brought in on premiums collected, the is little doubt that business model nevertheless is to pay out less money on fewer claims. Unless there is evidence of bad faith, where an insurance company might be subject to scrutiny by the Maryland Insurance Administration, the only remedy available to the injured person who has had their claim denied, or has been the recipient of an unreasonable "low-ball" settlement offer is to take his or her claim to court and allow a jury to decide what fair compensation is.
It is in this arena that the services of an experienced personal injury attorney are really vital. Although our system certainly recognizes and has a long history of individuals proceeding in proper person, or pro se, overwhelmingly cases that go to trial are actually tried by attorneys. This holds true to the extent that, in my mind, if you try a personal injury case on your own- you're making a grave mistake. While it's clear that securing the services of a competent seasoned personal injury attorney is necessary, make no mistake. That the mere step of trying the case in front of a jury does not necessarily mean that you are going to prevail. It does not necessarily mean that your recovery will exceed the offer of settlement made by the insurance company. The major Insurance companies in Maryland employ some of the most dedicated, skilled and forceful personal injury defense attorneys in the state. These are highly trained, highly effective lawyers who convincingly argue to judges and juries every day that the person sitting at the plaintiff's table was either not hurt or not hurt as badly as they say they were in the automobile accident. The defense attorneys employed by the insurance companies to argue their positions in court are charismatic, powerful advocates that present this line of defense to juries in Maryalnd on a daily basis. Some arguments frequently encountered are that:
- the individual had a pre-existing condition that explains their symptoms
- they received unnecessary treatment and incurred inflated bills, or
- that they are simply exaggerating the nature and extent of their injury for pecuniary secondary gain.
An insurance company will frequently employ the services of a physician to give an opinion that supports the position they wish to take, e.g. there was no injury attributable to the accident, or, that the person does not have objective evidence of injury and therefore must either be mistaken exaggerating or lying.
These arguments and methods are not necessarily effective in cases where there is a clear traumatic injury with objective proof. A classic example here would be a fracture, or a severe laceration, or some process that leads to scarring. On the other hand, these arguments and methods are highly effective where there is not necessarily clear objective evidence of injury that an observer or a juror can actually visualize. The argument is perhaps best seen in what the insurance industry collectively calls "soft tissue cases." The insurance industry, collectively, is always going to attempt to minimize the significance of your injury and your accident, setting the tone from the very inception of the claim. One method of doing that is to refer to the injuries as "just soft tissue" or "only soft tissue". It's a euphemism for injuries to the muscles, ligaments tendons and other connective tissue in the human body, perhaps most commonly, at least in the arena of automobile accidents, to the neck and back. Injuries to these structures can be incredibly painful, lasting, and to some extent possibly even debilitating. Insurance companies can and to take the position that you were not hurt or not seriously hurt in your accident, as a matter of course. They employ highly seasoned, skilled and effective litigators to argue those claim denials in court. If you have a claim that has been denied, or one in which an offer of settlement has been extended that is not fair under all the circumstances, you really have no viable option but to consult with a personal injury lawyer and litigate thhat case.