Poor Lawyers Can Poison the Well


As Allstate began its defense in a $1.425 billion-dollar lawsuit, it became clear that the case might have been damaged irreparably by the plaintiff’s previous lawyer. The Kentucky woman who was suing Allstate for bad faith insurance practices had hired a lawyer who practiced obstructionist tactics to try and get her a better settlement for her auto accident claim, but he may just have given the insurance company exactly what it needs to weasel out of the case.

Allstate’s lawyers came forward with arguments that their practices are an attempt to settle claims quickly and fairly, while being on guard against fraud that would unduly cost themselves and their policyholders, and said that while internal memos referred to “boxing gloves” being employed, the memo referred to unscrupulous trial lawyers, chiropractors, and claimants, such as they charge of the claimant’s former attorney.

Allstate attorneys testified that the lawyer, Paul Kaplan, was uncooperative, refusing to agree to routine requests for medical records, forcing the Allstate attorneys to get two court orders to get the records. One said, “He was delaying, and accusing me of delay, at every turn.”

The reasons why Kaplan was refusing to turn over medical records soon became clear, as the claimant was revealed to have a pre-existing back condition not discussed in the claim and a prior worker’s compensation claim, also not discussed, both of which were damaging to her case.

Allstate pointed out that the claim was settled within a month of receiving the records.

This case is highly instructive, both from the standpoint of learning insurance company practices, but also about some very important considerations in taking on a lawyer to represent your case. Lawyers can practice bad faith as well as insurance companies, and if your lawyer is too bent on getting a huge settlement, it can leave you in a position where, after a long and arduous trial, you get little or nothing at all. It just shows the importance of my momma’s lesson: you better shop around. PersonalInjury.com is made up of a team of lawyers from across the country and can get you in touch with many possible representatives. If you or someone you know has suffered a serious personal injury, contact us today to make sure you get a lawyer who will fight fair, one who is honest and hardworking and will make sure you get exactly the settlement you deserve.