Insurance Fueled Propaganda

Insurance companies dislike the personal injury lawyer when  he challenges their evaluation of the case, because he has the ability to get fairness from a jury. Insurance companies dislike personal injury trial lawyers who are organized in a trial lawyers association because they have the ability to challenge insurance company legislative agendas. Thus, several years ago insurance companies launched a propaganda campaign against personal injury lawyers. I refer to the campaign as:

The Two Big Myths

The Frivolous Lawsuit Myth. The hook for  the insurance propaganda campaign against personal injury lawyers is “the frivolous lawsuit.” The poster child for the “frivolous lawsuit” is the McDonalds hot coffee case.  Although the jury went into the case wondering why they needed to be involved in a coffee spill case, after hearing the evidence, they rendered a verdict of 2.7 million of which 2,5 million was for punitive damages. The judge later termed McDonalds conduct reckless, callous, and willful, when he lowered the total judgment to 640,000.

Nonetheless, insurance companies fueled and continue to fuel the perception that frivolous lawsuits are a significant problem in our society. This creates the perception that many cases where an injured plaintiff seeks compensation for her injuries are without merit. But reviewing our prior post on how the personal injury lawyer takes the case on a contingent fee, demonstrates it does not make economic sense for a personal injury lawyer to bring a meritless case.  A meritless case is a losing case,  and this means no fees to the lawyer.

Juries are smart. They do not compensate unless compensation is merited under the facts and law of the case. Personal injury lawyers know this and they know they better have a solid case. Nonetheless, insurance companies calculate if the public believes frivolous lawsuits are rampant then some members of a jury panel may believe it too. This means it will be more difficult for an injured plaintiff to get a decent recovery. Playing the odds it pays for  insurance companies to propagate the frivolous lawsuit myth.

The Greedy Trial Lawyer Myth. Going hand and hand with the frivolous lawsuit myth is the greedy trial lawyer myth. Here insurance companies bring out their greedy trial lawyer propaganda when they are trying to defeat legislation that will hold them more accountable or when they want legislation that will place ceilings on a jury result.

In Washington we saw the greedy trial lawyer propaganda when insurance companies fought the Insurance Fair Claims Act. This act makes it illegal for an insurance company in Washington to deny insurance coverage to its own insured when the coverage should be provided. The insurance companies’ propaganda campaign argued if the law passes greedy trial lawyers will bring frivolous lawsuits to get undeserved attorney’s fees. Washington voters saw through the propaganda and passed the law.

From a trial lawyer standpoint, in a personal injury case, the lawyer is working on getting fair case value in settlement or trial with the insurance company and lawyer for defendant. The last thing he wants is to have to fight a battle on two fronts meaning also litigating against the insurance company of his client.  Thus, the greedy trial lawyer propaganda makes no sense in the context of Washington’s Insurance Fair Claims Act.

Propaganda is irrational when exposed to the facts. Nonetheless, if the propaganda message is said often enough some will believe. This is playing the odds. Rest assured, insurance companies will continue to play the odds.

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2 Responses to “Insurance Fueled Propaganda”

  1. Donnie Robert says:

    A big thank you for your blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Fantastic.

  2. […] A misconception on tort law has emerged by way of the frivolous lawsuit myth. Pushed by insurance companies the myth is there is something wrong with seeking money compensation for harm caused by the […]

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