This will be my first full week as a paralegal at Norton Frickey P.C. I couldn’t be happier. My predecessor, Tatum, was an excellent paralegal and left some very big shoes to fill. I wish her the best in her move to Texas. While I have several years experience working on personal injury cases both as a claims adjuster and paralegal, I’m eager to learn more about the other fields our firm specializes in, including medical malpractice and civil rights.
After several years working for a large insurance company as a claims adjuster, I am very excited to be finally working to help people who have been hurt. Plaintiff’s attorneys play a crucial role in advocating for victims against corporate interests. I am incredibly excited to bring my experience and insider knowledge to bear in benefiting our clients.
My time as a claims adjuster gave me valuable insight into how insurance companies handle claims. Despite what they may say, insurance companies do not have their customers’ best interests in mind, unless those interests are also what is best for the insurance company. Like any corporation, an insurance carrier’s primary motivation is profit. To help even the playing field, Colorado requires insurers to comply with the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, which states:
In every contract there is an implied covenant that neither party shall do anything, which will have the effect of destroying or injuring the right of the other party, to receive the fruits of the contract, which means that in every contract there exists an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.
Basically, this means that insurance companies are required to act fairly and not withhold benefits or coverage which their clients are entitled to. Most insurance carriers will attempt to walk a thin line between maximizing profits and maintaining the appearance of acting in good faith. After all, bad faith lawsuits are expensive for them. One way in which this manifests is the practice of making exceptionally low settlement offers before the person has any idea of how hurt they may be. As an adjuster, I was directed to make contact with injured persons as soon as possible and talk them into accepting a small amount for what were sometimes very serious injuries. Our instructions were to settle injury claims as soon as possible after an accident, before a victim had the chance to hire an attorney.
Another way insurance companies attempt to maximize profits is by operating with minimal claims staff. During my four-year tenure as a claims adjuster, my average work load was 250 to 300 files. That is to say, at any given time I was personally responsible for handling all claims arising from 250 to 300 different motor vehicle accidents. Based on conversations I’ve had with friends at other large insurance carriers in Colorado, my experience was normal. By and large, the individual adjusters I worked with were good, hardworking employees who wanted to help their customers, but were required to comply with their employer’s instructions. And due to their crushing workloads, no matter how well-intentioned they may be, many of these adjusters struggle to respond in a prompt and reasonable manner to their customers’ needs.
The bottom line is this: insurance carriers do not look to protect your interests. If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, it’s a good idea to at least consult with a competent attorney you can trust to look out for you and make sure you are being treated fairly. A good attorney will level the playing field and work to help you—not the insurance company.
By: David Law