Property Damage Claims: My Dad’s Battle with Ameriprise and Thoughts on Handling Property Damage Claims Without a Lawyer

Last year, my Dad was in an auto accident where the Defendant admittedly ran a red light. Believing in his superhuman ability to drive an automobile, he did not have collision insurance on his car.

The insurance company, which shall remain nameless (Ameriprise), denied liability claiming that my father did not react quickly enough to avoid the accident Ameriprise’s theory of the case was that Dad is 71 years-old and therefore must have reacted too slowly to avoid the accident. What Ameriprise didn’t know is that my father was driving home from playing three grueling sets of tennis in the summer heat with me. I’ll bet money he can react better than the Ameriprise adjuster that denied the claim.

So I sent them a draft complaint and discovery in the case and they quickly changed adjusters, accepted liability, and threw in $500 for his injury claim even though he never sought any medical treatment (which we never would have asked for had they simply paid on the property damage claim).

But the whole thing got me to thinking about the incredible disadvantage property damage victims find themselves facing in these situations. No halfway decent accident lawyer is going to consider getting into a property damage liability dispute case. So property damage victims are forced to file a lawsuit on their own. In Maryland, if the claim is over $5,000, there are procedural requirements that are going to slip up the vast majority of property damage claims made by plaintiffs.

  • baba booyer t

    sounds like the carrier used the last clear chance defense in a contributory negligence state. I don’t think your telling the whole story, but what would one expect from a PI attorney…Thanks

  • Ron Miller

    With all due respect, “last clear chance” is not a defense asserted by defendants in Maryland. It is asserted by plaintiffs. The last clear chance doctrine is a plaintiff’s defense to a defendant’s claim that the plaintiff was contributorily negligent.The doctrine of last clear chance permits a contributorily negligent plaintiff to recover damages from a negligent defendant if each of the following elements is satisfied: (1) the defendant is at fault; (2) the plaintiff is contributorily negligent; and (iii) the plaintiff makes a showing of something new or sequential, which affords the defendant a fresh opportunity (of which he fails to avail herself or himself) to avert the consequences of his own original negligence.

    This has been the law of Maryland for the last 140 years.

  • Vee Kay

    Having Ameriprise insurance is like not having any insurance at all. They won’t pay out to your victim no matter what. They’ll find a contradiction that has nothing to do with the situation (did you eat a cheeseburger or a hamburger?) and deny your claim.

  • laurie

    My battle with this sleezeball insurance has been going on for 2 years. My 12 year old son was in a parked car that was hit by a alcoholic. I would warn everybody to stay away from this insurance company. Also, complain to Costco to complain about this company.

  • SJ Homowner

    I have Ameriprise too for my home insurance and had my swimming pool plumbing and some concrete and the fence damaged by neighbor’s walnut tree and my claim was denied saying it was not an “instantaneous” event, the roots grew overtime and damaged the pool. I told them there is no way for me to know or see roots under the ground but it hasn’t gone very far. I am contemplating hiring an attorney. appreciate any information you may have on how I should deal with this.


  • Avadon

    This is a criminal company. I’m currently suing Ameriprise because their insured hit me hard from behind while I was stopped at a light. I lost 28 days of work, suffered tremendously from severe whiplash and although they paid my property damage and medical bills they wanted to only give me $700.00 for my suffering. A lot of emails later they up’d it to $1000. Lol like if you lost an entire months of income and suffered through it that would be worth a thousand dollars. This company is the worst! I’m going to sue their insured this summer.

    My wife was hurt significantly more and they only want to give her $1500. It seems like the only way to get money from this company is to sue them.

    • Ron Miller

      There is no question that Ameriprise makes extremely low settlement offers in many cases. You take Ameriprise’s power away when you file a lawsuit. Because then Ameriprise is not longer the decider of the value of your case.

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