The State of Louisiana has sued State Farm Insurance Company for engaging in “unsafe and deceptive” auto repair practices. Although for a while it appeared the litigation would be brought in federal court in Orlando, Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell has moved the litigation back to Louisiana.
Basically, the suit has alleged State Farm made their customers use knock-off, junkyard parts of a far lesser quality than they are typically obligated to under a standard contract for automobile insurance.
State Farm is the largest auto insurer in Louisiana, writing roughly a third of all policies in the State. The suit also alleges that State Farm steered their insureds to “direct repair facilities,” which are forced through market pressures and contractual obligations to make vehicle repairs as quickly and cheaply as possible—many times leaving the drivers of repaired vehicles in unsafe vehicles.
In a statement last week, Attorney General Caldwell said, “State Farm has violated Louisiana laws by engaging in a pattern of unfair and fraudulent business practices aimed at controlling the auto repair industry and forcing unsafe repairs on vehicles without the knowledge or consent of Louisiana consumers…”
It will be interesting to see how this litigation proceeds. Many of our clients initially reach out to us because they have received an unfair and lowball estimate on their property damage. Hopefully, litigation like this will push insurers to meet their duties and perform all repairs as they are contractually obligated to.
The phone always rings after you’ve been hit in a car wreck. Some unusually friendly woman or man is going to begin asking questions about your property damage, what sort of speed you thought you were travelling, and maybe even whether or not you sought any medical care after the collision. Although it may seem harmless to answer such straightforward questions, many times the adjuster is simply trying to seal up a case for their insured driver. It is almost always a good idea to keep quiet, and seek the advice of a lawyer in such a situation.
After you’ve consulted an attorney, you should then start gathering all the “paper things” associated with your claim or injury. Such papers include the drivers exchange form (listing the names and insurance policy numbers of the people involved in an accident), any health or medical records, ER discharge instructions, medication education information, PIP forms (these are simply short forms sent out by insurance companies by the bodily injury carrier when there has been a claim filed), police reports, and any other papers or diagrams that may be in any way related to your claim. Keeping good track of any missed time off from work or lost wages is especially helpful whenever one of these claims in in their infancy. Both you and your attorney will be glad you did.
And at some point, you will end up making the decision about how to proceed with your case. You may end up settling before you ever formally sign an employment agreement with an attorney. You may also end up seated behind a desk during a week long jury trial. Although it is every lawyer’s duty to give you candid advice, you will end up calling some pretty big shots.
« Previous 1 2 3