Love, Barnes & McKew: Just File Suit

These small independent claims adjusters are absolutely the worst. I just hung up with an adjuster from Love, Barnes & McKew, who does rent-an-adjuster work in “the Washington-Baltimore Corridor, Northern Virginia, Southern Maryland and Maryland’s Eastern Shore.” Why I send a demand package to these people is beyond me. I just hung up with the most irrational adjuster who I’m thisclose to naming, who told me that my 66 year-old client, with no prior injuries, whose car was totaled by a tractor trailer should not have gotten diagnostic testing or worn a back brace after the accident. I really can’t remember a more irrational insurance adjuster in my career.clipboard

She refused to claim that this woman is faking her injuries, but pointed out that her pain levels increased about the same time she started talking about a workers’ compensation claim. Now the woman retired from the National Cancer Institute years ago, but don’t let that interrupt the conspiracy. Now look, I realize that citing insurance adjusters for unreasonable offers is like giving out speeding tickets at the Daytona 500. But even in a business that a certain level of insanity is the norm (for plaintiffs’ lawyers, too), this is just insane.

Not for nothing, this adjuster confided in me that she had been a serious car accident. You would think this is a sign that an insurance adjuster is a sympathetic person who can feel better feel the pain of another human being. But, I’m telling you, it has the reverse effect on many of these adjuster. “My pain was so great. Yours was not.” I don’t want to get carried away, but it can’t help but remind you of the whole “abused are more likely to are more likely to abuse” adage.

Crazy thing is that we thought this was a big case. Again, this woman was creamed by a tractor-trailer and was badly hurt. I was operating under the impression she had a serious and permanent injury. But, she recovered remarkably well. She has approximately $7,500 in medical bills which is unbelievably low. The Love, Barnes McKew offer for this woman was $5,000.

If you are a trucking company or a small insurance company looking for adjusters, I realize that hiring a Gallagher Bassett or a Sedgwick is probably a far more expensive play. I still think they are a better investment than hiring one of these small agencies like Love, Barnes and McKew. Sure, from the plaintiff’s lawyer’s perspective, those adjusters jump on the edge of the calculation between unfair and insane in their offers. But, at least they sell it with some modicum of logic that does not necessarily force the client to do what I’m going to do right now: call the client and strongly recommend that she file a lawsuit. So the few dollars that you are saving, you are going to pay back because you are going to face more lawsuits.

Update: Eventually, this case settled for more than twice the initial offer after we sued their client.

Updated:
  • I feel your pain. But it’s not just the small independent adjusters… This week I’ve been dealing with a similarly frustrating adjuster saga involving one of the big carriers. Would love to spit out the name of the carrier, but… meh. Better not.

    So. Family comes to us with horrible case involving a tire tread separation. Mother of three is paralyzed. The carrier has the wrecked vehicle and tire which is evidence. We call carrier and tell em’ we want to come get wrecked vehicle to move it into our own warehouse so our experts can inspect for potential case asap. No big deal, I think, we do this all the time and it’s never an issue. Besides, it’s my client’s own car so no issue, right? Ha. Silly me.

    Young adjuster says no, you can’t have the car. My client’s OWN car. He says he gets to keep the car “to protect the interests of other people in the car” or words to that effect. Seriously.

    I tell him it’s my client’s car. I tell him I’ll send him a letter or whatever he needs to document his file. He says no dice. He says it’s NOT my client’s car anymore, it’s the carrier’s now, because they paid off the lien under the collision policy. “With whose permission?” I ask. Not my client’s I tell him. She’s sort of been pre-occupied with having just learned she might never walk again. Nor from any family member either.

    Well too bad, he tells me. Your client can’t have her own car until we get releases from everyone else in the car.

    At this point steam was coming out of my ears. Almost called the Sheriff’s office and filed a police report for theft. Was ready to file for an emergency injunction. After talking with my partners who have cooler heads than me, decided to swallow pride, try to get releases from other passengers quickly, and get the vehicle under the terms demanded by the idiot adjuster.

    Point is, it ain’t just the little guys. The big company adjusters can be recklessly irrational too.

  • Ron Miller

    Interesting story, particularly the swallowing your pride part, which I frequently do because waging war on collateral issues is not in the clients (or my firm’s) best interests. But it is hard.

  • These small independent claims are the real deal. While signing with them, it looks like a piece of cake to deal. It is highly recommended to discuss in detail every point, rule, and even the dot because they know how to play with words.

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