The Harper Law Blog

The Harper Law Blog offers news, announcements, thoughts and articles on life, law and our practice areas of emphasis.

Recent CNN investigation points out insurance claims abuse

Posted Sunday, February 11, 2007 by Ed Harper

Recently, CNN and their investigation into auto accident claims have proven several insurance companies abuse of the claims process. By denying and and refusing to pay legitimate claims for medical bills and wage loss, State Farm Insurance and Allstate Insurance have forced many injured persons into court to litigate their claims. Jim Mathis, a former Washington claims adjuster in Washington when asked to describe the claims denial strategy to the CNN reporter:

JIM MATHIS: It really came down to three basic elements. A position of delay. A position of denying a claim. And then ultimately, of course, defending that claim that you denied.

GRIFFEN: The three D’s?

JIM MATHIS: Exactly.

GRIFFIN: Jim Mathis is a former insurance company insider who now testifies against insurance companies in court.

MATHIS: And the profits are huge. Profits are good. And as long as the public allows this to occur, the insurance companies will get richer and people will not get a fair and reasonable settlement, period.

Corporate greed should discouraged and should be watched closely. The insurance industry wants to prove a point and drive claims down. They set arbitrary monetary thresholds for the amount of property damage. In other words if the property damage estimate is below this arbitrary amount, or if the property damage does not look bad in a photo they will force you to court. The CNN story points out it is not a question of profit for the insurance companies but how much profit.

According to Anderson Cooper You might think all the savings would mean lower premiums for drivers. Well, guess again. The Insurance Information Institute says auto insurance rates have actually gone up 30 percent over the 10 years since this went into effect.

See Anderson Cooper’s blog on this http://www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/anderson.cooper.360/blog/

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Prescription drug errors in recent years have drastically increased death rate

Posted Tuesday, February 06, 2007 by Ed Harper

During the years 1999 – 2002, death rates from narcotic pain killing poisonings have shot up more than 91% according to the Center for Disease Control in a national study. In Washington State, unintended drug poisonings account for 650 deaths a year, according to state health officials. Thus the annual death rate of unintended deaths from "legal" drug poisonings now account for more deaths than deaths occurring in motor vehicle collisions. Additionally, officials are finding legal opiates are killing more than illegal substances, such as heroin. Physicians should take note of the increasing error rate and overdose potential. The effectiveness of these medications should be balanced by the addictive characteristics and the dangerous consequences of misusing these drugs. Please visit http://www.komotv.com/news/5549436.html to read the article.

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Proposed legislation will require drivers to provide proof of insurance upon licensing

Posted Tuesday, February 06, 2007 by Ed Harper

Proposed legislation will require drivers to provide proof of insurance when registering their vehicles. Washington is one of a few states that do not have this requirement. WA State legislators will likely enact bills in both houses which will mandate proof of insurance and carry with it the crime of a misdemeanor if one attempts to provide fraudulent documentation. Mandatory insurance is already the law in the State of Washington why should we threaten drivers with another crime and require the police and courts to be the state revenue collectors.

Here is a link to op-ed piece regarding this issue: http://www.columbian.com/opinion/news/02052007news100870.cfm

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Dept. of L and I starting new program on reporting claims

Posted Wednesday, August 02, 2006 by Ed Harper

Starting January 1, 2007, The Dept. of Labor and Industries (Washington’s workers compensation program) will allow some employers, 500 initially, to report injuries and occupational diseases of their workers. The present system requires physicians to initiate the claim. Dept. of L and I will track these 500 employers and compare the benefits of having employers report the injury. In the past physicians were unwilling to fill out the paperwork necessary to start the claim and employers would question the employees injury if the office visit to the physician occurred after work etc. Time will tell which process is more effective in having injured workers treated properly for their injuries.

Employers can sign up at this website. Employers without web access can get information from Shirley Morris, 360-902-6201.

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Washington Supreme Court upholds Defense of Marriage Act

Posted Thursday, July 27, 2006 by Ed Harper

On July 26, 2006 the Washington Supreme Court overturned King and Thurston County rulings upholding the Defense of Marriage Amendment. The decision was 5-4 in favor of the legislative enactment. In the case, Andersen v. King County, 5 justices agreed that the Act is constitutional. The lead opinion was authored by Justice Barbara Madsen.

Here is a link to the decisions: http://www.courts.wa.gov/newsinfo/?fa=newsinfo.internetdetail&newsid=707

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