E very D ay in C ourt I s A pril F ools ’ A LOOK AT HOW INSURANCE COMPANIES PRANK JURIES A pril 1 is April Fools’ Day, and, in my house, it’s celebrated with gusto. My 12- and 7-year-old sons, Austin and Walker, love to play pranks on me. Even though they’re pretty terrible at it, it always reminds me of doing the same thing when I was a kid, just like I bet a lot of you did (or maybe still do) to your own parents and friends.
companies have started to accuse every plaintiff of being a gold digger. They make these accusations in court, turning the jury against people who, between 80% and 90% of the time, really need and deserve compensation. The way I see it,
those old campaigns against rotten suits were so successful that now they can’t resist trying the same thing on everyone. The pendulum has swung all the way from concern over legitimate abuses of the legal system to outright lies. Take a recent case of mine, for example. My client had suffered a brain injury, and to prove it, we’d lined up a bunch of experts, including a neurologist, a neuropsychologist, the treating doctor, and an orthopedic specialist. The insurance company didn’t have any witnesses of any kind, but they still claimed my client wasn’t injured! These illegitimate denials are disturbing. Not only do they cost people an arm and a leg to fight, but they can also delay benefits by as long as two years, extending the pain and suffering of those injured. Instead of “frivolous lawsuits,” we now have “frivolous denials” at the expense of ordinary people, all so insurance companies can profit. It’s the world’s least funny April Fools’ joke. These shady practices are the reason I always tell my clients never to trust their insurance companies to treat them fairly. Even if your insurance company says you don’t have a case, always get a second opinion from a lawyer you trust if you’ve been hurt because the insurance representatives are probably misrepresenting the facts, the law, or both in their conversations with you. I hope you’re never in this situation, but if you are, know that you can trust me and my team to give it to you straight, without any misrepresentation or lies. In our office, it’s only April Fools’ on April 1 — and as much fun as we have joking around, it never touches our work. –Gary Christmas
I always get a laugh out of those prank attempts, and that’s how it should be! April Fool’s Day is our one day a year to crack people up, get their goat, or surprise them by saying the opposite of what’s true. Unfortunately, in my line of work, I see a much less funny version of April Fools’ play out almost every time I step into the courtroom. My kids having a laugh at my expense is one thing — insurance companies doing it to one of my clients is something else entirely. In many personal injury cases, the positions taken by insurance companies are the opposite of the truth. They make claims as ridiculous and unbelievable as the pranks my sons pull, and yet they do it routinely in order to deny deserving people benefits. Their goal is always to pay out as little as possible or nothing at all in order to keep making the record profits they’ve been raking in for the last 25 years. It’s not an exaggeration to say my team and I see this every day. Decades ago, insurance companies started accusing lawyers and their clients of looking for “jackpot justice” and filing “junk lawsuits” or “frivolous lawsuits.” Back then, I think those companies had good intentions. They wanted to uncover fraud, and those rare bad apples were definitely out there who deserved to be caught. But these days, it’s gotten to the point that insurance
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