Fear of Using Liability Insurance in Texas

Attorney Doug Goyen, a Dallas auto accident attorney, has represented residents of Dallas, Texas who have suffered personal injuries as a result of car accidents since 1997. The Law Office of Doug Goyen provides experienced, aggressive, and powerful representation for our clients. We have proven results, we get top compensation for our client’s personal injury claims.

You cannot control what other drivers do. You can, however, reclaim control of your life after a car accident. The first step on the road to recovery is to contact a car accident attorney who will protect your rights, seek the compensation you deserve, and ultimately help guide you through your case with the experience, expertise, and desire for justice that your case deserves.

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Reluctance to Use Liability Insurance – Insurance companies attempt to instill fear of filing claims

Insurance companies try to persuade people that filing an auto accident insurance claim is a terrible idea. Insurance rates will rise, people will try to get something for nothing, there will be fraud, frivolous claims and lawsuits, and other such arguments designed to make people “afraid” of filing claims or supporting others who need to file claims. They have attempted to create an atmosphere in our country that portrays the injured person as a villain for daring to file a claim.

People used to understand what pursuing a negligence claim meant if they were in a car accident. It is about putting the burden of wrongdoing on those who caused you to be in a car accident. It is preferable for the wrongdoer to pay for the damage caused by his wrongful act than for the innocent victim, who did not cause the damage and is also unable to pay for the damage caused by the injury suffered. Forcing the wrongdoer to pay for the damage he caused would have a deterrent effect on that person’s future behavior. If the community felt that the act required additional punishment for deterrence, it could do so through the court system. These laws were enacted to protect the community’s self-interest. Protection from those who believe that laws and safety rules should not apply to them because they are too inconvenient for them to follow (interestingly, those who believe safety rules should not apply to them are the ones who cry the loudest when someone else violates a safety rule and injures them).

The insurance industry has turned this logic on its head in the last 20-30 years. They have attempted to persuade people that pursuing a claim against a wrongdoer after a car accident is bad behavior, causing insurance rates to rise for everyone, unnecessary litigation, and community expense. These arguments cannot be dismissed as completely false because they contain some truth; otherwise, they would not resonate.

But what rings even louder is the fact that our laws are designed to protect those who do the right thing. And to punish those who commit wrongdoing. They are intended to make wrongdoers pay for the harm, damage, and loss they cause. How can we be sure this is correct? Your instincts for survival tell you so. If you allow people to break safety laws without consequences, who will be the next victim of the wrongdoer – your child, parent, neighbor, or friend? We owe it to our community to protect it from those who would harm it. Forcing those who wrongfully cause injury and harm to others to pay for their actions is part of protecting our community. Pursuing a negligence claim assists the law in doing what it is supposed to do – protecting the community from the wrongful act that caused the injury.

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1) Pursuing a Negligence Claim Leads to Bad Behavior (Illusion):

Many people appear to believe that there is an overabundance of people out there faking an injury in order to collect on the avalanche of dollars that insurance companies are dumping all over fraudulent claims. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Insurers are so difficult to deal with these days that I can’t think of any job that would be more difficult or require more effort than faking an injury to make money.

In reality, pursuing your injury claim after a car accident helps to reinforce “good behavior.”

If the community (or a jury) decides to hold people accountable for their “choices” and illegal behavior, the community will become a safer place. For example, if a driver is held liable for an injury he caused in a car accident and his insurance company, his business, or he himself is forced to pay, his insurance rates will rightfully rise, and the burden of the harms, such as medical bills, lost income, and property damage, will rightfully be placed on the wrongdoer’s shoulders. This will cause at least some of these people to reconsider engaging in similar behavior in the future. The imposition of this burden on the wrongdoer will alter the behavior of at least some of those held accountable. This can and does save the lives and health of innocent families and victims who have been injured or killed as a result of the actions of these people. This is accomplished by having a deterrent effect on that individual from repeating the same unsafe, dangerous, or criminal activity in the future.

If the community (or a jury) decides to give the wrongdoer a pass by allowing the criminal, unsafe, or dangerous act to go unpunished, the community sends the message that this person’s behavior is perfectly acceptable. That person will continue to act in the same manner as before because they will feel vindicated. They will believe that they have been told that their behavior is not only “just an accident,” but that a court and jury have actually endorsed their behavior and that if they continue to do what they did previously that caused harm, they should not be punished in any way. As a result, more people are killed, injured, or suffer other harm.

Who pays for the medical bills, lost earning capacity, and health destruction if the person who caused the injury and death is not held accountable and forced to pay for their actions? The injured person will have one of two options:

a) copays, deductibles, and uncovered costs that they will have to pay, as well as lost income and productivity that they will be forced to forego under their health insurance plan. These costs are frequently unpaid because they are too high for the person or their family to bear while attempting to cover bills while their loved one is recovering and unable to work or contribute to the family.

b) If they do not have insurance, the bill goes unpaid because an injured person who cannot afford health insurance is typically unable to work for a period of time while recovering from their injury, which causes them to fall behind on their regular bills and puts them in a position where they have no way of paying the outstanding medical bills.

2) Pursuing my case financially harms the community (misconception):

If the wrongdoer does not pay these outstanding bills, and the injured person is unable to do so, who will? The people in the community do. The community pays in the form of higher taxes to cover unpaid injuries and tax breaks given to medical facilities and hospitals as a result of unpaid bills. The community pays in the form of higher medical bill rates and hospital rates; they must cover their losses in some way. As a result of those wrongdoers who cause the injury being unwilling to pay for their actions, those who CAN afford to pay medical bills are forced to pay higher amounts for medical bills. So, either the community suffers by paying higher medical bills and taxes because it refuses to hold criminal, dangerous, or irresponsible behavior accountable by forcing these wrongdoers to pay. The community suffers because it condones dangerous and criminal behavior, which encourages more of it, resulting in more injuries and deaths.

These are the ancient reasons why the law has chosen to hold wrongdoers accountable over hundreds of years. This is why the law requires you to take responsibility for your actions and pay for the harm you caused if you commit a crime, disobey a regulation or rule, or engage in a dangerous activity and cause harm to another.

These are also the reasons why, if you have been injured in a car accident caused by someone else who chooses to break the law, disobey a regulation, or engage in dangerous behavior, you have a duty to the community at large to pursue your case and force the wrongdoer and his insurer to admit responsibility, to send a message to the community that this behavior is unacceptable. This will deter at least some people from engaging in criminal, regulatory, rule-breaking, and dangerous behavior in the future. In the process, you will help to save the health and lives of those people who would have suffered personal injury or death if you had not pursued your case. You will play a role in shifting the burden of this type of behavior to those who deserve it: the person or people who caused the death or injury, rather than the community or the innocent victim.

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