Like you, every other driver in Florida is required to carry insurance, which means you most likely have liability coverage in place to pay for damages you may cause in case you are at-fault in a car accident. Each of us can likely recall a moment where we were distracted, in a hurry, or simply made a bad decision and almost caused, or did cause, an accident. This is the precise reason we have liability insurance in place—to protect us in this situation by paying for the damages we accidentally caused. But, what you don't know is that the insurance company for the at-fault driver will often deny the at-fault driver is at fault. It happens all the time. Insurance companies often try to pay nothing at all or as little as possible to the other injured driver.
Fact #3: The Insurance Company Often Hires Experts to Give Them Favorable Opinions
As soon as a driver notifies his or her insurance company of an accident, the company's adjusters often begin looking immediately for evidence they can use to say the accident was not their policyholder's fault. This is true even if their policyholder was at-fault. This is because the insurance company has every incentive to find witnesses, take photographs, and gather evidence that would support an argument that their policyholder did not cause the accident so they can pay less to the other innocent, injured driver. This includes hiring experts.
Accident Reconstruction Experts Are Often Paid to Say the Accident Was Your Fault
In many car accident cases we have tried, the at-fault driver's insurance company hires an accident reconstruction expert and pays them a good sum of money to create a version of the accident they can use to say the accident was not their policyholder's fault. They do this so they can deny coverage and pay less on the claim. These accident reconstruction experts are often paid upwards of $300-$500/hour for every minute of work they do on the file.
Medical Experts Are Often Paid to Say the Injuries Are Not as Severe or Are Not Related to the Accident
Often the insurance company for the at-fault driver will dispute the injuries and require the innocent, injured driver to undergo what is called an Independent Medical Exam. To conduct this, the insurance company hires a doctor or other medical professional to examine the injured driver and, more often than not, render an opinion that the injuries claimed are not as severe or are not related to the accident. We have seen these experts go as far as to claim a neck injury the driver sustained in junior high is the more likely reason for their current neck pain rather than the whiplash they suffered in the car accident that occurred last month. These experts often sometimes do not even examine the other driver. They simply look over medical records then claim the injuries are not as severe or are not related to the accident. And, the at-fault driver's insurance company pays them handsomely, often upwards of $400-$600/hour, to do this. These experts are often paid even more per hour to come to trial, take an oath, and then tell the jurors opinions that are favorable to the insurance company for the at-fault driver.
Fact #2: The At-Fault Driver Will Usually Not Have to Pay the Judgment
As a juror, sitting in the box you will see two tables facing the judge. One is the plaintiff's table where the injured driver who is asking you to render him a verdict will be sitting with his attorney. The other is the defense table, where the at-fault driver will be sitting with her attorney. What you will not be told, because attorneys cannot under the law disclose this to you at trial, is that the entirety of the defense that will be put on by the at-fault driver is paid for by her insurance company. From the attorney sitting at the defense table who is usually billing by the hour, to every expert that will appear at trial and tell you opinions favorable to the insurance company, they are all paid for by the at-fault driver's insurance company.
And, when you render a verdict in favor of the injured driver and against the at-fault driver, she will not usually be the one who has to pay it. More often than not, her insurance company will. Just as yours would if you caused an accident that injured another driver. From the view in the jury box, however, you won't know this, and rendering a verdict against the driver sitting at the defense table may weigh on you mentally, particularly if she appears sympathetic. The insurance company knows this and often uses it their advantage. It is their most clever trick.
Fact 1: The Insurance Company Often Uses the At-Fault Driver as Their “Cover” at Trial
This is a sad truth many drivers do not know about their insurance policy. When you cause an accident and you have liability coverage in place for that very situation—to pay for damages you accidentally caused—your insurance company can still deny and fight the claim. This is true even when you know you caused the accident and you wish they would just pay. More often than not the insurance company will force their insured, who caused the accident, to sit through grueling depositions, answer written questions under oath, even sit through a multi-day trial where he or she (not the insurance company) is constantly watched and judged by jurors. The insurance company does this so they can hide behind their policyholder. Do not let the at-fault driver's insurance company's antics fool you. It is usually the insurance company who is really fueling and funding the dispute. While these tactics probably save insurance companies money by fooling some folks, it harms many ordinary citizens that wouldn't have to go through the time and expense of trial if the insurance company would simply have treated them fairly and paid the legitimate value of the claim.
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