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July 2014 Archives

Warning: Progressive Insurance Co. Tactics

For a few years now Progressive insurance company has been pursuing an aggressive policy about settling personal injury claims against them. Shortly after an accident is reported (usually within a few days) Progressive will dispatch one of its claims adjusters in one of those little white trucks to visit the injured person. Ostensibly this visit is to discuss the claim and make sure that everything is okay. However, what I am seeing more and more is that these meetings turn into a high-pressure sales visit in which the claims adjuster does everything they can to get the injured person to sign off on the claim for an immediate cash payment of some small sum, usually in the area of $1000-2000.It would be a very serious mistake for anyone to sign such an agreement. Oftentimes it can take weeks or months or even longer for the true nature of any injuries to become apparent, and effective treatment received. Everyone wants to think that they will get better soon. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.Once one of these releases is signed, it is very, very difficult to get out of them. It can be done, because the courts don't like to see people being taken advantage of, but it is a discretionary call on the part of the judge and some judges have little or no sympathy for consumers who try to practice law for themselves, without a license.The best advice I could give someone is to hold off on any settlement. If Progressive is offering $1000 today, I can almost guarantee you that money will still be on the table a week or a month from now. In fact, it's likely to go up. I'm not saying you need to run to an attorney right away, but I am saying that you should hold off on signing anything until you know for certain what is wrong with you, how it is going to affect you now and years down the road, and what kind of medical treatment you are going to need to deal with this problem.

Latest Traffic Accident Statistics for Minnesota

In this morning's Star Tribune was a short article discussing the annual report on car crashes in Minnesota from 2013. Apparently some department at the state keeps track of this sort of thing and releases this report once a year. The statistics of interest are:1. 387 traffic fatalities in 2013, which was a slight drop from the 395 fatalities in 2012.2. Drunken-driving (95 deaths) and not wearing a seatbelt (94 deaths) were the two leading causes of fatalities.3. Speeding accounted for 76 deaths.4. Distracted driving led to 68 fatalities. In other words, texting while driving and doing other things other than paying attention to the road cost 68 Minnesotans their lives last year alone. Seriously, whatever it is, it can wait until you aren't driving.5. All told there were 77,707 reported crashes during the year. That's about 212 crashes every single day.6. More than 30,000 people were reported injured. This figure probably under estimates the total by a significant number. Many people state that they are not injured at the crash scene only to begin developing serious and sometimes disabling symptoms hours or days later.There is hope for the future. Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai, for example, now sell cars that come equipped with a crash avoidance system that detects when the car is approaching another object and then automatically applies the brakes if the driver doesn't. Once that system becomes standard equipment across the board, I would predict that traffic accidents will decrease by 50% or more.