Thursday, July 31, 2008

An Incredible Day

Today I had the honor and privilege of meeting with a Holocaust survivor. I left the meeting in awe of the client's grace, dignity, and just overall kindness. It's hard to wrap your mind around the abject suffering this person endured, and how anyone can overcome it with such astonishing grace. It proves to me the unbreakable nature of the human spirit, how good can triumph over evil, and it was truly inspiring to be in this person's presence.

It sure puts things in perspective, and meeting such incredible people is one of the many great things about what I do.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Insuance Companies Are Right On This Issue......

As you can probably tell by now if you've read any of our previous posts, we believe that insurance companies have way too much influence and power in the courts and legislature, and use this influence to the detriment of Ohioans with legitimate injury claims. However, to be fair, there are some personal injury attorneys who abuse the system. A recent nationwide lawsuit shows that these abusers do so at their peril.

In March of 2008, Allstate Insurance Company filed a massive lawsuit against chiropractic clinics, certain physicians, and attorneys all over the country for allegedly using deception and coercion against accident victims.

According to the lawsuit, here’s how the scheme worked. Accident victims would receive a call and were told that either their insurance company, or the at fault driver’s company, wanted them to be “checked out” at a chiropractic or physician’s clinic. Upon arrival, accident victims were examined and X-rayed, told their injuries were serious or substantial, and were introduced to attorneys, who frequently interviewed the victims at the provider’s office. Obviously, Allstate figured out that when the same attorneys and medical providers were showing up over and over again on accident claims, something was up!

If the allegations in this lawsuit are true, the injured person is merely a pawn in someone else’s money making scheme. If so, Allstate and other insurance companies deserve restitution if some of these claims were actually fraudulent.

We have adamantly refused over the years to enter into any such "relationships" with medical providers. By not being beholden to anybody, we maintain our ability to be objective and exercise independent judgment for every one of our clients’ claims.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Another Technicality....And Another Victory For Ohio Insurance Companies

Here we go again. Another Ohio Supreme Court decision interpreting an auto insurance policy came out last week, and yet another victory for insurance companies. Here's the simple facts. A is a passenger in a car driven by B. Both A and B have their own uninsured and underinsured motorists' coverage. They are hit by C. B, one of the injured parties, claimed that he was insured under BOTH his policy and A's (the driver's) policy.

Here's how the law used to work: if you were a passenger in another vehicle, you were covered under BOTH the driver's insurance as well as your own insurance policy. This makes sense; most drivers would probably conclude that their insurance covers any non-family passengers in the driver's vehicle. Stated differently, no person has probably ever been told by his or her agent that their insurance doesn't cover any non-family passengers.

A fine print exclusion ended that fairness. Last week, The Ohio Supreme Court upheld an excusion in the policy such that you as a passenger are not covered under the driver's insurance if you have coverage under your own policy.

Why did the insurance industry write this exclusion? Because it could! Senate Bill 97, passed in 2001, allows insurance companies to basically write ANY EXCLUSION IT WANTS, as long as it's not vague or ambiguous. Bottom line: as long as the exclusion puts the screws to the policyholder in clear language, it's enforceable.

And remember, according to The Ohio Supreme Court, you as the policyholder "bargain" for this language when you buy insurance!!!!

Here's the lesson to take away from yet another decision that upholds insurance company technicalities: THE ONLY WAY TO PROTECT YOURSELF IS TO PURCHASE AS MUCH UNINSURED/UNDERINSURED INSURANCE AS YOU CAN! If you want to read more about this, you can visit our website and order our free book: "HOW TO BUY CAR INSURANCE IN OHIO TO PROTECT YOUR FAMILY." Or just call 330-452-8831 and we'll send you a copy.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Insurance Company Rules: The Real Reason Why Insurance Companies Win

The other day, I wrote about how the Ohio Supreme Court has allowed insurance companies to confiscate every penny of an injured person's auto settlement (known as "subrogation"). And then I discovered this video. It essentially shows in video form what I tried to explain in my last post about the absurdity and unfairness of current Ohio subrogation laws (and is much more effective and funny I might add).

Enjoy. This playful poke aside, if you think these ridiculous rules are limited to Ohio, go to to read Linda Shank's fight with Wal Mart. They battled her case all the way to The U.S. Supreme Court and won the legal right to take every penny of her $417,000 recovery after a collision with a large truck that left her permanently brain damaged (Wal Mart paid $470,000 of her bills and had a fine print subrogation clause that gave them the right to take every penny of her settlement as reimbursement).

Once the media discovered the story and skewered Wal Mart over its position, Wal Mart relented and dropped their reimbursement claim. BUT THE REAL STORY HERE IS THAT WAL MART HAD THE RIGHT UNDER FEDERAL LAW AND U.S. SUPREME COURT DECISIONS TO CONFISCATE EVERY PENNY OF MRS SHANK'S SETTLEMENT!

Congress (on a federal level) or The Ohio Legislature (on a state level) could change this oppressive and unfair law in a New York minute. Can you figure out why this hasn't happened yet? It tells you the influence of insurance companies in this country, and particularly in Ohio............

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Robbery In Broad Daylight: Insurance Companies Win--- And You Lose (Again)

Do you remember the popular arcade game “Pac-Man,” the darting head with an opening mouth that scurried across the screen gobbling up everything in sight? A 2004 Ohio Supreme Court decision has granted your health insurance company “Pac-Man” status when it comes to your injury settlement. Believe it or not, your health insurer can literally confiscate 100% of your auto settlement in certain situations, even if it leaves you without a penny.

For example: You're hit by a drunk driver. Your shattered leg needed 3 surgeries, you missed 9 months of work, and you had $100,000 in bills paid by your health insurance. Buried in your health benefits booklet is a "subrogation” clause, which means this: “If you’re injured due to the fault of another, and we pay your bills, we get repaid out of any settlement you get.” Translated, “subrogation” means that your health insurance company has its reimbursement fingers in your settlement.

Until 2004, Ohio law used to prohibit health insurance companies from leapfrogging in front of you and getting reimbursed out of your auto settlement if you did not get full compensation for your injuries (after all, you’re the one who broke your leg and needed surgery, and you paid for your health insurance coverage to boot).

The 2004 Ohio Supreme Court case of Northern Buckeye v. Lawson changed all that. In that case, the injured person’s health insurance company had a fine print subrogation clause that basically said “even if you as the injured person/insured are not fully compensated for all of your injuries, we still have first priority for reimbursement over any settlement you obtain.”

The Supreme Court of Ohio (in a 4-3 decision) ruled that the insurance company was entitled to leap over (and step on)the injured person and recover every penny of bills it pays, even if it leaves the injured person with little or no recovery. After this decision, your health insurer can now legally confiscate your entire settlement pie in certain situations. The Court’s reasoning? “Hey, it’s a contract.” As long as the insurance company spells out in the contract that it can stand first in line and take every penny of your auto injury settlement, it can. That’s right – you purchased health insurance, paid your premiums, weeks later got your policy in the mail with all these one-sided clauses that take away your rights– and you “bargained” for this contract, according to four members of the Ohio Supreme Court! It is laughable to suggest that all the fine print and exclusions in an insurance contract are "bargined for" by the consumer.

This is one of the worst decisions in years, because it makes an injured person nothing more than a collection agent from one insurance company to another. And now it is the law of Ohio. As King Louis XVI said in Mel Brooks "History Of The World" movie, "It's good to be the king!" Only that was comedy. There's nothing funny about injured persons getting their settlements confiscated %100 by their insurance companies. I used to think that happened only in Russia. Heck, even the IRS doesn't take all of your income in taxes............

Stay tuned. More to come. Unfortunately.

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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

83,000 Versus.................5! What "Lawsuit Crisis?"

Here's a short quiz:
1. 79,000 of these lawsuits were filed in Ohio in 2006, and 83,000 in 2007- What kind were they?

A. Malpractice lawsuits against physicians and hospitals.

B. Products liability cases against manufacturers of consumer products.

C. More spilled hot coffee cases against fast food chains.

D. Foreclosures.

Answer: D

Foreclosures are exploding in Ohio and clogging our courts due to the mortgage crisis and unscrupulous lending practices(otherwise known as corporate greed). Conversely, there were only 348 products liability lawsuits filed in Ohio in 2006 (no, that’s not a typo). And only 3 went to a jury trial. That shockingly low number of products liability suits was not some anomoly. In 2007, THERE WERE 372 PRODUCTS LIABILITY SUITS FILED AND A WHOPPING 5 JURY TRIALS THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE STATE! So much for the claim that Ohio corporations are being held economic hostage by scores of product liability lawsuits against product manufacturers.

Yet, business groups like The Chamber of Commerce and others claimed in a series of radio ads last year that Ohio's horrible legal climate is driving businesses out of Ohio (go to to listen to this laughable ad). Why is it laughable? Because The Ohio Legislature granted businesses and The Chamber a wish list of legal "reforms" in 2005 that limit YOUR recovery for things like tainted Chinese toys and food, bad medicines, and any other products that harm Ohioans, no matter where made.

After the reforms passed, Ohio was voted 4th in the country and 1st in the Midwest for having a "great legal climate for business", courtesy of The Pacific Research Institute (go to to read the Institute's report). This "Institute's" Board includes Altria (huge tobacco conglomerate), ChevronTexaco, ExxonMobil (Exxon has contributed a meager $445,000 to the Institute since 1998), Microsoft, and other megabusinesses.

Strangely, however, in 2007, two years after The Legislature gave big business all the reforms it wanted, and one year after it's "Fourth Place" ranking, Ohio's legal climate for business somehow dropped to 32nd place in the USA. Why? Because the Chamber's Institute For Legal Reform said so, that's why. And this formed the basis for all those radio ads.

Now, however, we have the true numbers for what is really happening in Ohio regarding lawsuits. And unlike bogus "studies" and cooked position papers from "Institutes" funded by big oil and big tobacco, the numbers show the truth of things. Are we really to believe that less than 400 product liability lawsuits and 3-5 jury trials per year for a state of 11 million people was crippling Ohio businesses and causing massive job losses? Or was the problem EXAGGERATED, perhaps, by big businesses that didn't NEED these reforms, but simply WANTED them from a rubber stamp Ohio legislature to increase their bottom line?

Well, it's been almost 3 years now since big business got its legislative wish list. Is Ohio's economy now booming? And has big oil, one of the biggest lobbies for "tort reform," passed those savings on to you in the form of lower gas prices? To twist a phrase from the movie Jerry McGuire, would somebody please "show me the savings" from all this tort reform???

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