Pressure Claimants until They Accept “Smaller Walk-away Settlements”: The UnFair Practice of Many Insurnce Firms
A day or two after a natural calamity, such as a hurricane, independent adjusters are often seen eagerly assessing the extent of damages to properties. Many of these adjusters are new to the job or untrained and already content in making their evaluation of the damages from where they stand on the ground. Thus, it is not surprising that the estimations they come up with are often incorrect, resulting to low amount of financial benefit that an affected family’s property insurance provider will have to pay.
The adjusters and the small amount of benefit, however, are actually strategies employed by many insurance firms to save themselves from releasing big cash. Other insurance providers would even deny claims outrightly, using technical error as the reason of denial of the claims. The fact is, this so-called technical error is nothing more than a skipped box or a missed signature.
To policy holders, whose claims have been denied or whose benefits are either delayed or way below the amount stipulated in their policies, these situations are both frustrating and infuriating.
Insurance providers owe policy holders genuine commitment or the duty of good faith and fair dealing, especially in paying claims. Under the common law this duty is spoken of as the “implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing,” which ought to be contained in every insurance contract. However, many providers transact business with dishonesty or fraud at the back of their minds. They enter into an agreement with policy holders with no real intent of living up to the terms of the policy they sell, while others intentionally twist the meaning of what is contained in a policy sold. This fraudulent act is what legal experts call “bad faith,” and there are different tactics employed by insurance firms to commit tthis act in ways hard to detect, like: failure to investigate a claim promptly and thoroughly, unreasonable denial of claim benefits or delay in the payment of claims, and so forth.
Anderson Cooper, the primary anchor of the CNN news show Anderson Cooper 360°, calls this tactics employed by insurance firms as the three “Ds”: delay, deny and defend. Delay the handling of a claim; deny that a claimant is hurt or that damages are only minor; and, defend their decision even in lengthy court battles.
Often, even very small offers are accepted by some people. Pressure claimants until they accept “smaller walk-away settlements” – this guiding slogan is contained in many Insurance firms’ training manuals and, sadly, many policy holders are victimized by it. Due to this unfair practice, many policy holders walk away from billions of dollars that insurers now keep for themselves.
“In Texas,” according to the Smith Kendall, PLLC, law firm, “when an insurance company denies or delays payment of a policyholder’s home or commercial property insurance claim when it knew, or should have known, its liability on the claim was reasonably clear, the carrier may have acted in bad faith. The State of Texas—and many other states—recognize that a special relationship exists between an insurance company and its customers, which gives rise to a duty of good faith and fair dealing. In some states, a policyholder may have both common law (i.e., law created by cases) and statutory (i.e., law from statutes or regulations) bad faith claims.
An experienced and aggressive attorney may be able to help you navigate this challenging area of the law and make sure that the insurance company is held responsible for its bad-faith actions.”read more
Over the years, South Carolina has been exerting effort to reduce the rate of DUI offenses in the state. For the last ten years, the fatality rate from alcohol-related accident has dropped by 40%. The website of Truslow & Truslow, Attorneys at Law reveals that DUI charges can have a huge impact on the life of the offender. DUI is associated with a wide range of fines and penalties. There are many aggravating factors that can affect the penalties.
In South Caroina, a first time DUI offense carries a mandatory administrative license suspension of 6 months, unless contested in an
First time offenders who refuse to be subjected to implied consent laws carry a comparable mandatory license suspension of six months.
For the license to be reinstated, the plaintiff must successfully complete an alcohol/substance abuse assessment and counseling in limited circumstances. First time conviction may also entail a required installation of ignition interlock device upon reinstatement of driving privileges.
Penalties for first time offenses are applied based on the blood alcohol content (BAC) of the offender. If the BAC of the offender is 0.08% to 0.10%, the offender may be subjected to mandatory incarceration of two days to a maximum of 30 days. If the BAC level is more than .10% to less than .16%, the offender may be subjected to imprisonment of at least 3 days to a maximum of 30 days but no more than 90 days.
In all cases, the offender can avoid being imprisoned by taking part in public service employment for first time offenders.
Fines for first time DUI offenders will range from $4,000 to $10,000 depending on the BAC. The fines does not include costs that will be incurred while completing the terms of sentence, process of license reinstatement, and additional fees and surcharges that will be assessed.
First offense DUI in the state will also have an impact on subsequent arrests and convictions for DUI for a period of 10 years.read more
Some Construction Site Accidents are Results of Employers’ Failure to Uphold Safety Standards in the Workplace
Being struck by falling tools or debris is one of the dangers inside and around construction sites. Exposed to this danger includes the construction workers themselves, visitors to the site and pedestrians who are only passing by. Some of the worst results of getting struck by falling objects are traumatic brain injury, paralysis and death.
The most common objects which fall from high construction areas are handheld tools, loose building materials, improperly secured loads from cranes or mechanical lifts, and movable concrete. In 2012 alone, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) received reports of 78 deaths involving construction workers, who were said to have been struck by falling objects or debris while at work.
To avoid accidents from occurring, OSHA has made it the legal responsibility of construction companies and employers to make sure that construction sites are kept safe. Majority of construction site accidents, according to OSHA, are due to failure to maintain safety in and around construction areas – failure which is equivalent to acts of negligence by construction companies, site owners, workers and/or subcontractors. These acts include:
- Failure to display signs which will warn people about work going on overhead;
- Failure to place barricades that will limit access to or near construction sites;
- Failure to properly secure handheld tools or work materials to keep these from falling from high working places;
- Failure to wear proper protective gear, including hard hat, face shield, and safety googles;
- Failure to make regular inspection of tools and equipment before these are used;
- Failure to train of employees about safety measures and on the proper use of construction equipment;
- Failure of employers to provide workers with the necessary safety gears;
- Failure to put in place safety devices, like debris nets, shore and brace structures, catch platforms, tool guards, and toe boards; and,
- Failure to make sure that loads, which are being lifted, are properly secured.
One article posted in the website of Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, points out that employers are responsible in making sure that workplaces, especially work environments characterized by dangerous situations, like construction work, are always kept safe. There are guidelines for nearly every construction procedure, and if ever employers fail to uphold the standards they are held to, then they can be held financially liable for injuries resulting from any accident.read more
It is estimated that, every year, close to 70% of all goods in the US, including finished products and raw materials, are transported by semi-trucks from manufacturing plants to distribution centers. This flow of business, which adds about $671 billion to the US economy, clearly shows the major role played by semi-trucks in keeping the nation’s economy alive and active.
Semi-trucks, also called tractor-trailers, big rigs, or 18-wheelers, make up 2 million of the more than 15 million trucks operating in the US. Due to their very large size and heavy weight, though, these are considered threats on the road considering the damage these can cause in case of accidents. For this reason, the federal government sees it necessary to require those who wish to drive one should have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) which can be earned but only after going through a special training and education, and a series of tests that deal with the proper operation and handling of this types of vehicle.
After earning a CDL, a licensed driver and his or her employer are expected to comply with federal laws enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Department of Transportation, such as regular maintenance checks on trucks used, use of standard parts, especially the tires and brakes, observance of the hours of service, which is the allowed maximum number or driving hours allowed of drivers, and other laws that will help ensure avoidance of road crashes. All these mandates, as well as the special training and tests, are aimed at ensuring the overall safety of interstate commercial driving.
Though unavoidable, drivers of passenger vehicles still hope to be spared from sharing roads and highways with semi-trucks, much more, hope that they would be spared from getting involved in a truck accident, which number up to 500,000 every year, causing injury to more than 100,000 individuals and killing, at least, 4,000 others.
Different studies have shown that 75% – 80% of all truck accidents can actually be blamed on drivers of passenger vehicles. Of those where truck drivers are at fault, though, the FMCSA names the following as the causes: driver fatigue; driving too fast for road conditions; impairment due to prescription or over-the-counter-drugs; not being familiar with the road or the truck; inattention and driving distractions; improper way of attaching the trailer; failure of the driver to double-check blind spots; failure to ensure that the brakes are in good working condition; and, depowering of the front brakes, which is commonly done by truck operators to lessen wear and tear of tires and breaks for lesser operating costs.
On its website, the law firm Ausband & Dumont acknowledges the significant role that the trucking industry plays in this nation’s transportation and distribution needs, however, it comes with a high price – the high risk of serious, even fatal, injuries due to the strong force caused by a truck during impact. If the truck driver is the one at fault in the accident, then victims have the right to seek compensation to help them face the financial blows resulting from the accident.read more
The time following the death of a family member or loved on is always a tumultuous time for all those affected. In addition to the emotional trauma felt by those who knew the deceased, some may find themselves dealing with the distribution of the deceased assets. When a person dies, the sum total of all tangible or intangible property that that person leaves behind is called their “estate.” An “executor” or a “personal representative” of the deceased is indicated in the will. This person oversees the distribution of the deceased’s estate. Estate litigation can become contentious if a claim is filed for the deceased’s estate that the deceased’s personal representative does not agree with. In this case, those involved hire experienced legal professional to help the process go a smoothly as possible and defend their own cases.
There are differences in will interpretation, disagreements regarding a will’s legality, disagreements about executor status, and disagreements about asset division are common disputes that occur in probate litigation. According to the website of the Mokaram Law Firm, these issues can be experienced by anyone and can prove to be extremely problematic for families and loved ones in a time already so filled with emotional stress. Which can only be made worse if your loved one’s death was untimely or wrongful.
While many times the division of material assets is not the first thing on anyone’s mind when a person passes away, it is an issue that needs to be handled as quickly as possible and cannot be ignored by those involved. Because of the many emotions involved in such a process and the complications associated with this process, disputes are very likely. In these cases, it is recommended that those involved pursue legal representation to help the process be a smooth and painless as is possible in such a trying time.read more
Many people enjoy their jobs every day, without hardship or conflict. They find fulfillment in their careers, and their employers provide them a stable and non-discriminatory environment. However, for many this is unfortunately not the case. Many face problems in their professional pursuits- problems including labor law violations or sexual orientation discrimination. These issues pervade many workplaces and it is important to be informed of the rights we maintain as employees.
One of the more common issues faced in employment law is labor law violations. Labor laws were established to “ensure that employees are properly compensated for their work and receive time off, among other labor considerations.” Many employees know their basic rights that are owed to them by their employers yet too many are unaware of the multitude of protections they have that are lesser known to the general public. For example, there is a requirement that all employees be notified of their payment tumpline and pay rate by February 1st of every year. So many people are unaware of the protections available to them.
Another major issue recently faced by many employees is the issue of Sexual Orientation discrimination. According to the website of the New York sexual orientation discrimination lawyers at Cary Kane LLP, “recent decisions by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have found that discrimination against an employee because they are gay or lesbian is prohibited by Title VII when it constitutes discrimination on the basis of sexual stereotyping.” It is vitally important the employees not feel uncomfortable of discriminated against in their workplaces.
While not everyone faces conflict or strife in their work place, everyone should be aware of the many rights and protections available to them in their state. Everyone should be comfortable, safe, and protected in their workplace so that they can pursue their careers and passions to their full potential.read more
At a certain point, many couples want to expand their families. However, this can be easier for some than others. While having a child is always a great undertaking, for some it is complicated legal process that can be difficult to navigate. For any number of circumstances, families may be considering adoption. It is important when going into this life altering decision to be fully aware of the different types of adoptions and the resources one might need to undergo such a process.
According to the website of Marshall & Taylor, P.C., there are four different types of adoption: infant adoption, foreign adoption, step child adoption, and adult adoption. Infant adoption refers to what we traditionally imagine adoption to be- the legal adoption of a newborn child. Foreign adoption can be the adoption of an infant, yet it is distinctive in that the adoption occurs across international borders. Step child adoption refers to the legal adoption of children by a step parent- someone who has married a biological parent of the children but is not, themselves, the biological parent of said children. This is a legally official way to combine already blended families. Adult adoption refers to the adoption of a legal adult- one who is legally independent from their families yet can still be officially adopted by one who is not their biological parent. All of these types of adoption involve the expansion of a family.
Adding a child to your family, or combing your family, can be a wonderful thing which brings joy into many children’s lives every day. However, this joyful experience can often prove to be complicated and lengthy. In these cases, it is recommended that those seeking to adopt consult an experienced legal professional who can guide them through what could otherwise be a very stressful and complex process.read more
There are few people we trust more than our doctors. We trust physicians and medical professionals with our health, our lives, and in many cases our families. It is especially tragic then, when this trust is violated. Though most medical professionals do exceptional, lifesaving work every day that cannot go unappreciated, occasionally the carelessness or neglect of medical professional results in the injury of a patient. These cases, known as medical malpractice, are all too common and lead to the suffering of many patients every day.
According to the website of the LaMarca Law Group, P.C., medical malpractice is defined as “the negligence or carelessness of medical professionals resulting in the injury or death of thousands of patients in the United States each year.” This is a broad term that can describe any number of circumstances, yet it is easier to understand by examining specific examples. One of the more recent examples is the condition of Erb’s Palsy. Erb’s Palsy is a paralysis of the arm resulting from an injury to the upper nerves. This can be due to any number of traumas, however newborns are particularly susceptible to it. An Erbs Palsy lawyer might bring up that this injury is often the result of damage that can be done during birth due to the mistake of a medical professional.
Another example of this, according to the National Injury Law Center website, could be the the DaVinci Robots Surgery Lawsuits. In this case, a surgical robot used in millions of operations is being investigated. Patients have suffered serious injuries due to the use of this robot, and many victims are now discovering the link. In this case, many are arguing that their medical professionals were not properly trained in the use of this medical device, causing their injuries- some of them deadly.
Medical Malpractice is something no one should have to experience. Victims of such instances as those described above may be entitled to certain damages.read more
Sometimes everyone needs a little extra help. Whatever the circumstances, many of us reach a point in our lives when we could use some form of financial assistance. Often times, this happens when an injury results in a disability or when symptoms of aging or other health conditions become debilitating. In these cases, many who find themselves in this position might qualify for Supplemental Security income. Yet few understand what this is, how they can benefit from it, and how they can find out if they qualify for it. It is Important to understand all of the potential benefits that one can receive in their time of need.
According to the website of the Chris Mayo Law Firm, “SSI benefits are available to those living on low incomes that are aged, blind, or suffer from a disability, with sometimes increased benefits for families to help provide a level of support that more accurately matches their needs.” Part of the system of disability benefits available through social security, Supplemental Security Income can be divided into two categories: Adult SSI Benefits and Child SSI Benefits. Adult SSI Benefits are available to disabled adults over the age of sixty five who have a need of financial assistance. It is intended to provide relief for them and their family of the financial burdens incurred from their disability. Child SSI is available for children under the age pf 18 who are disabled and present a financial need.
Living with a disability is a difficult trial that many face, yet they do not have to face this challenge without assistance. There are many Social Security Disability programs such as Supplemental Security Income available to ease this financial burden. It important to be aware of all of the options available that can help and individual meet their specific needs.read more
Spinal cord injuries qualify as some of the most dangerous injuries a person can sustain. Spinal cord injuries refer to any injury sustained to the spinal cord which results in a temporary or permanent change in the body’s sensory/motor function. These injuries can result from either trauma (such as gunshots and car accidents), or disease (such as polio or spina bifida).
The website of Crowe & Mulvey, LLP lists major spinal cord injuries as: high tetraplegia (C1-C4), low tetraplegia (C5-C8), quadriplegia, paraplegia, incomplete motor functional at any level, and total paralysis. High tetraplegia refers to an injury that effects the upper back and upper extremities such as the arms, hands, and neck. Low tetraplegia refers to an injury that effects the lower back and lower extremities such as the legs and feet. Victims will experience a loss of feeling or movement in these afflicted areas. Quadriplegia refers to the paralysis of all our limbs- both arms and both legs. Paraplegia refers solely to the paralysis of the lower extremities- the legs.
These are some of the most serious injuries that one can sustain, and victims of such tragedies experience life altering effects from their injuries. An Iowa personal injury lawyer might list potential effects of a spinal cord injury as: diminished enjoyment of life, lost wages, reduced earning potential, permanent disability, mental and physical anguish, loss of consortium, pain and suffering, and disfigurement.
Effects of a spinal cord injury can be permanent and life altering. Unfortunately, in many cases, a spinal cord injury was preventable and occurred due to the carelessness of another. The victim of such a preventable accident resulting in a spinal cord injury, you may be entitled to certain damages.read more