Abuse by Insurers in Personal Injury Cases Highlighted by Recent Case

Posted by Benjamin R. Zimmermann

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Ben litigates personal injury cases, with an emphasis in the areas of defective products, medical malpractice, construction site accidents, and premises liability. Ben’s case wins have been upheld all the way to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Meet Benjamin

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Contact FormThe insurance industry is constantly bombarding the media and consumers with the idea that frivolous lawsuits are raising rates and taxing the court system. Experienced plaintiff lawyers who litigate and try cases know first-hand that these claims are largely false. A recently decided case in Middlesex County puts a dirty little secret of the industry on display. It is often insurers--loathe to pay claims and engaging in scorched earth tactics against injured people--that are costing the public trust and money.

In a case called Anderson v AIG, a Superior Court judge in Middlesex County found that AIG manipulated evidence, tampered with witnesses and testimony, and dragged a clear liability motor vehicle case through years of litigation rather than paying a claim. The opinion details how the insurer literally created evidence that didn't exist and, on videotape, changed the testimony of their main witness.

The case started with a bus driver of a privately-owned shuttle who admitted to AIG and its lawyers that he was at fault for badly injuring a pedestrian. There was no defense. A responsible insurer--one concerned about cost and the public good--would simply pay the plaintiff the value of the claim. Instead, AIG embarked on a years-long, incredibly costly legal battle in an effort to wear down the plaintiff and avoid paying the claim. It did this at the expense of the court, the jurors, the policyholder who paid good money to AIG for coverage, and the public trust.

Amazingly, AIG, just a few years ago, was found to have engaged in abusive settlement practices against a paraplegic woman injured in a clear liability accident against one of AIG's insureds.

Cases like this make you wonder how much of your insurance premiums and tax dollars are being spent on insurance companies defending indefensible claims, and why we never hear about it. It also underscores the need for vigorous representation of injured people by lawyers with substance and experience. Hats off to the plaintiff's lawyers in this case, who did not let go and did a service to all of us.

SUGARMAN attorneys have an extensive history of representing clients who have been injured in motor vehicle accidents. If you have been hurt in an accident and wish to speak to one of our attorneys regarding liability, please fill out a Contact Form, call us at (617) 542-1000 or e-mail info@sugarman.com.