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.

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