Some estimate that automotive rear-enders cause about three million cervical injuries (a.k.a. "whiplash" injuries) in the U.S. each year. The injuries are real. According to the Insurance Research Council, the average payout for these injuries, which includes medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering, is around $8,000. Do the math. The potential cost of these injuries to insurance companies is an estimated $24 billion annually.
The insurance companies evade, avoid, and outright refuse to pay such costs. In fact, to keep from paying, the insurance industry has developed a "no crash, no cash" policy. To keep from paying valid claims, the industry has created a fiction: if the vehicle is not damaged, then neither is the occupant.
Here are the tactics the industry uses to avoid paying:
• The insurance company tells the injured party: "Sorry, but we don’t believe injury is possible when the property damage is so low. We won’t pay." The patient has trouble finding an attorney because the attorney’s percentage of the amount recovered (remember, it averages $8,000) is not worth his time and resources.
• If the victim finds an attorney, the attorney is often outmatched by the insurance company lawyers who are intent on ensuring that the attorney loses money on the case so that he’ll never take another one.
• The insurance company lawyers will show a photo of the undamaged rear end of the car and tell the jury "This is a nonevent". The insurance company lawyers villainize the victim as a greedy plaintiff looking for a quick buck.
• The insurance company hires medical experts to spout their argument: "Injuries don’t happen in low-speed impacts; if they do they are like bruises and will heal within six weeks".
• The insurance company supports an entire industry of accident reconstructionists and biomechanists who may impress the jury with their PhD’s; and at the same time bore them with one-sided research articles, complex mathematical formulas and contrived statistics.
• The victim’s treating doctor, with limited courtroom experience, is ill-prepared to counter the insurance company’s hired guns.
• The plaintiff lawyer may be uninformed about the insurance industries’ prevailing strategy and unprepared to cross-examine the hired guns.
As a result, millions of folks who are injured due to no fault of their own go uncompensated by the insurance companies. Never mind that the insurance companies collect premiums to pay exactly that sort of victim.