Auto insurer preys on car crash victims when they’re most vulnerable & without injury lawyers with absurd, low-ball settlement offers presented as quick, extra money
How do you know if Progressive Marathon Insurance Company is trying to cheat you out of full and fair compensation after a car crash?
Within a very short time of your car accident, they’ll send you a settlement check you never asked for, accompanied by paperwork explaining the money represents a “Full and Final Settlement of all Bodily Injury Claims.”
Progressive Marathon’s tactic to take advantage of unsophisticated car crash injury victims
What our auto accident attorneys have seen time and again is Progressive Marathon deliberately attempting to take advantage of people. This is because they are aggressively attempting to contact you as soon as possible after a car crash, hoping you have not been fully informed of your legal rights by an experienced auto accident attorney, and this is also at a time when most people are worried about how they will pay bills or get by if they are too hurt to return to work. In short, it’s often when people are at their most vulnerable.
And that is when they will offer to you — sometimes completely out of the blue — a very low settlement offer. Accept this, and you could very well lose out on a substantial legal recovery for pain and suffering compensation.
How do I know this is what Progressive Marathon is up to?
The auto insurer has tried this on more than one of our Michigan Auto Law clients.
I also know because this is not the first time Progressive Marathon has tried this.
Progressive Marathon isn’t the only guilty insurer
To be fair, other insurers — like Citizens — have also tried the “full and final” trick to dupe other unsuspecting motor vehicle accident victims into settling what may be very serious auto accident injury cases for very low amounts.
This is why an auto insurance company would try something like this:
- They’re preying on auto accident victims when they’re at their most vulnerable: their world has been turned upside-down, they’re hurt and they’re scared.
- Most people who are worried about how they will pay medical bills and the money they are losing from not being able to return to work are not aware of the full extent to which auto No-Fault PIP benefits will cover not only medical care expenses, but also lost wages and replacement services.
- So, in the confusion and turmoil after a motor vehicle accident, car accident victims who do not know the law and who have not been informed about their legal rights by an experienced auto accident lawyer may give in to the temptation presented by the insurer — mistakenly believing they “really need” the money to help them get by.
- The insurers are deliberately trying to contact these people while they are still unrepresented by an attorney, because they also know that a person who is represented by an attorney can settle the same car crash case for up to four times more than an unrepresented person, according to the insurance industry’s own research.
The significance and importance of this last point cannot be overstated.
Not only is there scientific research by the insurance industry itself, showing that recoveries by auto accident victims who are represented by attorneys are nearly four times higher than recoveries by victims who don’t have lawyers.
But we’ve seen this phenomenon first-hand.
In one of our cases, Esurance tried to settle an unrepresented car crash victim’s pain and suffering claim against the insurer’s at-fault driver for $500 — only to eventually settle the case for $20,000 after one of Michigan Auto Law’s attorneys came to the victim’s aid.
Why can Progressive Marathon keep trying to cheat car crash victims?
My theories for why Progressive Marathon and other insurers have kept trying this scam — and will continue to try — is because Michigan law lacks several basic and essential deterrents:
- No bad faith law.
- No meaningful Consumer Protection Act.
- No punitive damages.
- No prohibition of such scams as the unlawful and unauthorized practice of law.
- No fraud watchdog to go after unscrupulous, overreaching insurers.
On the last point, however, there is some hope with Rep. Joseph Graves’ (R-Argentine Township)’s recently introduced House Bill 4672, which proposes to create a “Michigan Automobile Insurance Fraud Authority” that would:
- Identify and evaluate auto insurers’ “unfair settlement practices and claims practices” and “[r]ecommend any changes to existing laws to reduce [the] costs” incurred through “unfair,” “bad-faith” “claims practices.”