Today I came across an interesting — but unsurprising — blog post by Fairfax, Virginia, super personal injury lawyer Ben Glass. In his post, Ben describes a personal injury case he is handling for a client who was injured when an impatient driver tried to avoid stopped traffic by passing on the right.
Apparently, the negligent/impatient driver was issued a traffic citation, but did the right thing by pleading guilty to the infraction and paying the fine.
When Ben’s office could not resolve his client’s personal injury claim, he did what any other good personal injury lawyer would do — he honored his oath to be a zealous advocate for his client and filed suit.
Apparently, USAA is the negligent driver’s insurance company. In keeping with standard insurance company protocol, USAA selected, paid, and directed an attorney to represent the negligent driver. When the negligent driver was asked to admit that he had admitted guilt, his lawyer filed a response that stated that his client did not possess enough information to admit it. Keep in mind this is the same client who recently personally plead guilty and paid the traffic fine.
The point of Ben’s excellent blog post was that injured people take a lot of heat in the media and corporate propaganda for filing “frivolous claims”. Meanwhile, insurance companies and their representatives file court papers like these all the time with virtual impunity. Very, very rarely is there any negative consequence to one of these defendants for asserting such a clearly frivolous defense.
Unfortunately, situations like these are not limited to Ben Glass’ clients or injured people in Virginia. Defendants assert frivolous defenses in Orlando personal car accident claims all the time. It would probably be shocking for non-lawyers to learn how many times defendants (albeit through their insurance companies and their selected lawyers) in straightforward rear-end accidents, refuse to admit liability and accept responsibility for their carelessness.
If insurance companies assert these kinds of defenses in cases where experienced personal injury lawyers are involved, imagine how they treat injured people who elect to handle their own claims? If you have a story about how an insurance company treated you in defending a claim, I would love to hear about it.