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Nathaniel Fick
Nathaniel Fick
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Holding Others Accountable: Why Trial Lawyers Aren’t “Ambulance Chasers”

2 comments

Tell someone you’re a trial lawyer or you practice personal injury law, and many people will get an image in their mind of lawyers in pin stripe suits, business cards in hand, chasing an ambulance down the street in the hopes of signing an injured person up for legal representation. Hence the term, “ambulance chaser.”

The term ambulance chaser is used by many “grass roots” groups who pose as friends of consumers, when in reality many of these groups are backed by deep pockets like insurance companies. While the names of these groups attempt to portray an image of someone looking out for the consumer, in reality many are doing the exact opposite.

One way trial lawyers protect the rights of ordinary citizens is by representing them in bad faith claims against insurance companies who unlawfully refuse to investigate and pay their claims.

What is Bad Faith?

Under the law of most jurisdictions in the U.S., insurance companies owe policyholders a duty of good faith and fair dealing under the terms of their insurance contract. When an insurance company breaches that duty by unlawfully finding ways to delay, diminish, or deny payment of claims, it is considered to be acting in bad faith, and trial lawyers help policyholders hold them accountable through bad faith insurance claims.

If corporate America and big insurance called all the shots, they’d likely tell the rest of us what we can and can’t do, but trial lawyers stand in their way by holding those responsible for wrongdoing accountable for illegal and harmful conduct. Although many people criticize trial lawyers, saying they wreak havoc and are to blame for rising insurance rates, the reality is that if trial lawyers did not hold big insurance companies accountable, who else would?

2 Comments

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  1. jc says:
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    Who else would hold insurance companies accountable? Try consumers! An insurance company that consistently acts “in bad faith” and will not pay legitimate claims, ends up with a bad reputation among consumers. Seeing their neighbor treated unfairly means that the person seeking insurance will not buy a policy from the offending insurance company. Declining sales means declining profits and losses and eventual bankruptcy. Successful businesses have to protect their name and reputation or they will not be in business!

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    JC, thank you for the visit and comment. You are correct. When citizen jurors – consumers – have the opportunity to hear the actual evidence in bad faith cases, they do hold them accountable. You have the voice and power, not only in seeking a policy elsewhere, but in holding wrongdoers accountable as a juror. 7th Amendment right.