We recently represented a client who was involved in a motorcycle collision.
We knew the driver who hit our client didn’t purchase enough insurance to fully compensate our client.
People get upset by insurance companies. They say that insurance companies are greedy, dismissive and unfair. Insurance companies latch on to the negative and ignore the positive.
The nice thing about insurance companies is that they’re predictable. It takes very little encouragement for them to be their worst selves. They’re like sharks.
So in our demand letter we were fully unfiltered about the facts of the case. We let the insurance company know:
- Our client had a BAC of 0.13 at the time of the wreck.
- Our client tested positive for marijuana after the wreck.
- Our client tested positive for opiates after the wreck.
- Our client had pre-existing injuries.
And then we made a policy-limits demand.
Making a demand for the at-fault driver’s policy limits has special significance under Washington law. If the insurer for the at-fault driver refuses to pay policy limits it is responsible for the full amount of any judgment we obtain. The theory behind the rule is that by refusing to pay policy limits the insurer is putting its own financial interests ahead of its insured.
So what do you think the insurance company did?
You’re right…. It offered a lot less than policy limits.
The insurance company just couldn’t help itself. Even though our client had bad injuries, it went crazy over the fact that he had a high BAC at the time of the wreck. Like a shark getting a whiff of blood in the water.
As the case moved forward the insurance company realized (too late) that it made a bad decision. It tried to offer its limits. But that train had left the station.
We ended up collecting six times the policy limits for our client.
We don’t want to trick insurance companies. But we do get a lot of satisfaction out of encouraging them to succumb to their worst instincts.