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Sat Feb 23, 2013, 10:18 AM

How to get sued for $1.5 million for personal injury while taking a shower.

I'm not kidding. Someone I know just called me for legal advice.

Last October, she was home, taking a shower. FedEx came to make a delivery. The housekeeper opened the front door. FedEx Guy is afraid of dogs and ran away. The dog is a big Newfoundland who's 8+ years and thought FedEx Guy was playing and ran after him. FedEx Guy fell forward on the lawn and claimed he was injured and called the ambulance.

My friend spoke with the FedEx Driver who claimed that FedEx Guy was her friend who was an "apprentice driver". Driver told my friend she wasn't aware of any injury to the apprentice.

My friend called FedEx several times and received no return call.

This week she received a summons and complaint for personal injury for $1.5 million. FedEx Guy claims the dog bit his penis. You read that correctly. How about a zipper burn as dogs in my experience go for dangling extremities like arms and legs.

That's bad enough. But my friend's homeowner's insurance won't litigate. It wants to settle and make the guy go away. This situation can be addressed via frivolous lawsuit or motion for dismissal. First, the ambulance report shows no injury to the body. Next, the driver finally admitted that this guy didn't work for FedEx. He was her friend and was unemployed. She let him dress up in a FedEx uniform and give people packages to give him a boost. So an imposter/fraud was making deliveries under the guise of a major corporation. That also means that this was a trespasser who assumed the risk of injury coming on her property.

My friend is besides herself that her insurance company not only will reward this guy with some compensation, but also her premiums will go up.

83 replies, 5537 views

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Reply How to get sued for $1.5 million for personal injury while taking a shower. (Original post)
no_hypocrisy Feb 2013 OP
Sekhmets Daughter Feb 2013 #1
Peregrine Feb 2013 #7
Sekhmets Daughter Feb 2013 #10
Laelth Feb 2013 #13
Sekhmets Daughter Feb 2013 #18
Laelth Feb 2013 #23
Sekhmets Daughter Feb 2013 #24
Laelth Feb 2013 #26
Sekhmets Daughter Feb 2013 #30
jeff47 Feb 2013 #33
Laelth Feb 2013 #37
jeff47 Feb 2013 #41
Laelth Feb 2013 #44
jeff47 Feb 2013 #46
Laelth Feb 2013 #48
jeff47 Feb 2013 #50
Laelth Feb 2013 #53
pnwmom Feb 2013 #81
Laelth Feb 2013 #82
jberryhill Feb 2013 #52
Laelth Feb 2013 #39
jberryhill Feb 2013 #35
Sekhmets Daughter Feb 2013 #38
jberryhill Feb 2013 #51
ronnie624 Feb 2013 #79
zbdent Feb 2013 #2
Robb Feb 2013 #3
Hassin Bin Sober Feb 2013 #27
no_hypocrisy Feb 2013 #4
Robb Feb 2013 #6
customerserviceguy Feb 2013 #45
jberryhill Feb 2013 #54
Laelth Feb 2013 #17
jberryhill Feb 2013 #56
jberryhill Feb 2013 #19
elehhhhna Feb 2013 #20
unblock Feb 2013 #5
no_hypocrisy Feb 2013 #8
Jersey Devil Feb 2013 #22
Robb Feb 2013 #12
Laelth Feb 2013 #21
unblock Feb 2013 #75
Laelth Feb 2013 #76
unblock Feb 2013 #83
Hassin Bin Sober Feb 2013 #9
no_hypocrisy Feb 2013 #11
MindPilot Feb 2013 #14
no_hypocrisy Feb 2013 #15
jberryhill Feb 2013 #16
Hassin Bin Sober Feb 2013 #28
jberryhill Feb 2013 #31
GiveMeFreedom Feb 2013 #43
alcibiades_mystery Feb 2013 #59
treestar Feb 2013 #25
jberryhill Feb 2013 #32
treestar Feb 2013 #34
jberryhill Feb 2013 #49
Jim Lane Feb 2013 #78
mzteris Feb 2013 #29
Turbineguy Feb 2013 #36
ronnie624 Feb 2013 #40
Sanity Claws Feb 2013 #42
Historic NY Feb 2013 #47
no_hypocrisy Feb 2013 #55
jberryhill Feb 2013 #57
pinboy3niner Feb 2013 #58
jberryhill Feb 2013 #60
no_hypocrisy Feb 2013 #61
jberryhill Feb 2013 #64
no_hypocrisy Feb 2013 #66
pinboy3niner Feb 2013 #62
jberryhill Feb 2013 #67
pinboy3niner Feb 2013 #68
richmwill Feb 2013 #63
alphafemale Feb 2013 #65
Codeine Feb 2013 #69
jberryhill Feb 2013 #70
TorchTheWitch Feb 2013 #80
jberryhill Feb 2013 #71
Initech Feb 2013 #72
jberryhill Feb 2013 #74
Sunlei Feb 2013 #73
JPZenger Feb 2013 #77

Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 10:22 AM

1. Why doesn't she press charges against the tresspasser? Too late?

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #1)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 10:29 AM

7. The FedEx guy wasn't trespassing

Any person has the ability to come up to your door. Even if your local government prohibits solicitation, that does not include delivery, political speech, and religious speech. If it could be considered trespassing, then I guess FedEx, UPS, and USPS will just leave your packages at the curb.

Never mind if you were attempting an argument reductio ad absurdum.

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Response to Peregrine (Reply #7)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 10:30 AM

10. But he wasn't a Fed Ex employee...

This is really an awful scam.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #10)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 10:37 AM

13. Doesn't matter whether the guy worked for FedEx or not.

As Peregrine rightly noted above, everyone has the right to approach your front door (absent a restraining order), and doing so does not constitute trespassing.

Besides which, trespassing would be no defense (in most jurisdictions) to an injury caused by an unrestrained dog. In this case, it appears the dog was unrestrained.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #13)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 10:58 AM

18. I see...

There was no injury...This whole thing stinks.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #18)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 11:14 AM

23. If there's no injury, you are right.

But, as a Plaintiff's attorney, I can't afford to file suit unless I expect to win. I can't afford to waste my time. I can't imagine any Plaintiff's attorney taking this case unless there was an actual injury. No injury = no victory = no pay.

As such, I suspect there was, in fact, an injury in the case we're discussing.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #23)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 11:18 AM

24. Well, that is true of most

but we both know there are some unscrupulous one's out there.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #24)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 11:28 AM

26. Unscrupulous? Or just dumb?

It's a dumb move for a Plaintiff's attorney to take a case where there is no injury. That attorney will waste a lot of time and won't get paid a dime for the effort.

In my experience, the unscrupulous attorneys work on the defense side--protecting wealthy people, large corporations, big banks, and insurance interests. That said, there are some dumb attorneys who work for Plaintiffs, and we may have found one in this case.

But I doubt it. The fact that the insurance company wants to settle is evidence, to me, that they believe they are liable. I.e., there was an actionable injury. Generally speaking, insurance companies do not settle unless they know they are liable.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #26)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 11:49 AM

30. I served on a jury that suffered through

a dumb plaintiff's attorney.

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Response to Laelth (Reply #26)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 11:57 AM

33. You're assuming the case will reach a courtroom

It seems to me the Plaintiff's attorney in this case is expecting exactly what is happening: The insurance company decides to settle before trial.

But I doubt it. The fact that the insurance company wants to settle is evidence, to me, that they believe they are liable. I.e., there was an actionable injury. Generally speaking, insurance companies do not settle unless they know they are liable.

Actually, they settle all the time even when they aren't liable.

It's cheaper.

Defending this suit at trial will require them to spend $X. Even if it's a slam-dunk that they will win. There's no practical way to collect on a counter-suit because the plaintiff has little money. So they will never recover a significant part of $X even if the claims are 100% frivolous.

So they offer something less than $X to settle. The case goes away, and they've saved a lot of money. Plaintiff's attorney gets a fantastic payday for relatively little effort, and the "victim" gets a little cash to feel that they did well in the scheme.

And let me tell you, it is infuriating when you're the defendant in situations like this.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #33)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 12:04 PM

37. Evidently, you and I work with (or against) different insurance companies.

The ones I work against never settle unless they think they are liable.

Now, I am not saying that nuisance lawsuits don't happen. Every civil rights lawsuit I have ever filed has been described to me by opposing counsel as a "nuisance," but these same people all ended up settling ... because they knew these suits were not nuisances at all. There was real exposure and real risk, so they settled.

In this case, where there appears to be an actual, physical injury ... well, I think it would be unwise to consider that a nuisance lawsuit. That's why, I think, the insurance company wants to settle. They know there's real exposure and real risk.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #37)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 12:12 PM

41. Is there an injury?

I'm still trying to work out how a dog would injure this guy's penis to begin with. A dog attacking is going to go for the limbs first. Penis would be waaaaaaaaay down on the list of targets for the dog.

And even better, the dog managed to injure this guy's penis without damaging his pants. I guess the dog has figured out how to work a zipper.

As described here, this suit reeks of insurance fraud. But insurance fraud happens because it works often enough.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #41)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 12:18 PM

44. We don't have enough facts to determine whether or not there was an actual injury.

I don't, at least. My point was that Plaintiffs' attorneys don't file suit without an injury because it's a waste of time to do so. As such, I'm guessing there was an actual injury. Of course, I could be wrong. As I noted above, there are some dumb Plaintiffs' attorneys who will waste their time filing suit when there is no injury, but they are few and far between. Most of us want to make money and can not afford to waste our time and energy (unlike defense attorneys who get paid whether they win or not).

Plaintiffs' attorneys think like this: no injury = no victory = no money. Period. It's a very simple formula.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #44)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 12:53 PM

46. We can only go with what's here.

With the information here, it looks like they're trying to settle.

Also, there's plenty of plaintiff's attorneys who get paid regardless of victory - plaintiff's attorneys do not have to take all cases on contingency.

My point was that Plaintiffs' attorneys don't file suit without an injury because it's a waste of time to do so.

Well, here's the two cases I'm personally familiar with:

Car pulls out in front of a friend of mine in high school, and the friend hits them when they suddenly slow down. People in the car sue. Unfortunately for them, this friend's father investigates car accidents for insurance companies. So they quickly determined that 1) The plaintiff's had disconnected their break lights, 2) the accident did not have enough force to cause the injuries they were claiming and 3) the plaintiffs had switched which one was driving their car between the scene and the court papers.

Even with that information, the insurance company wanted to settle the case because it was cheaper than fighting it. And apparently this scam was quite lucrative - more than 90% of the business of the plaintiff's attorney and their doctor's business was car accidents. The "victims" had all been in lots of car accidents over the previous two years. The friend's father had to fight like hell to bring the case to trial.

They won the trial handily, and the information from the trial sent the plaintiffs to prison for fraud. The plaintiff's attorney lost his license (was a 'last straw' after a bunch of other issues), and the doctor retired before the medical board was done looking at him. But the insurance company really, really, really wanted to settle to save money. Despite the case being so much of a slam dunk it resulted in fraud charges.

The second case: My family builds houses. A third party asked to see the plans for a particularly unique house we were building, and we showed them to him. He asked for a copy, and we refused to give him one - that would violate the architect's copyright. He the sued claiming racial discrimination. An no, no one had used anything like a racial slur. His claim was that we would have given him copies if he was white. Literally. He did not claim any mistreatment other than not getting a copy of the plans.

Again, the insurance company insisted on settling. Even though the case was utterly absurd.

There's plenty of plaintiff's attorneys who will file a case to see if the insurance company settles. It costs the filing fee and a couple hours of time. If the insurance company settles, payday. If the insurance company refuses to settle, the case is dropped before it costs significant money.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #46)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 01:18 PM

48. Interesting cases.

I can assure you, those are not the norm.

I note that Plaintiffs' attorney in the first case did not get paid and wasted a bunch of time. As for the second case, I don't take civil rights cases on a continent-fee-only basis. I use a hybrid formula. My client has to fork over some cash and share in the risk that all of us are just wasting our time. That may have been what happened there. Hard to say.

Either way, when in doubt assume injury. Plaintiffs' attorneys can not afford to take cases that they know they are going to lose (as the first attorney in your two examples did).

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #48)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 01:29 PM

50. The point is he didn't know he was going to lose.

He thought he'd get a settlement. As had happened over and over and over again.

The only reason it fell apart that time is the father who investigates accidents for a living. Any other job, and the insurance company settles. And had over and over again, to the point where this attorney was making a living getting settlements from insurance companies.

I'm by no means saying all, or even a large percentage of attorneys do this. But it's not too hard to find one if one goes looking.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #50)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 01:39 PM

53. Well, there's no way to know that for sure.

I agree with you on that. The fact that the case survived summary judgment, in fact, usually means that Plaintiff ought to win. That, as I am sure you know, is how the system works. Plaintiff has to jump over quite a few hurdles just to get the case in front of a jury, and if Plaintiff gets all the way to a jury, he or she is really expecting to win.

That said, juries are unpredictable. Sometimes Plaintiffs lose.

But, surely, you can see this from my perspective. Try working for someone for two or more years and getting paid nothing. It sucks. Plaintiffs' attorneys avoid that if at all possible. I will not take a case unless I have good reason to believe (medical records are required, usually) that a real injury has occurred.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #48)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 05:14 AM

81. Do you have statistics that prove the norm you're claiming?

If insurance companies typically settle smaller cases, then a plaintiff's attorney might assume that they will settle with him, too. That attorney might expect insurance company lawyers to assume, as you have in this case, that the plaintiff is acting in good faith and the injury is real.

http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2011/05/23/prca0523.htm

A 1999 Rhode Island case, Asermely v. Allstate Insurance Co., established a strict rule that often prompts insurance carriers to settle rather than risk the cost of losing at trial.

In that case, the Rhode Island Supreme Court ruled that insurers who reject settlements within the insured's policy limits are financially responsible for subsequent trial awards exceeding those policy limits.

"It's a huge burden . It's staggering," said Michael Sarli, attorney for Medical Malpractice Joint Underwriting Assn. of Rhode Island. "Every state has a tweak on the standard, but our state's is pretty cut and dry."



http://tort.laws.com/liability-insurance

Deficiencies:

There are many deficiencies in liability insurance and in tort law cases. First, the victims can no always afford proper legal representation, especially when they are facing big insurance companies with unlimited resources. There are also cases in which the alleged victims take part in a frivolous lawsuit in hopes of getting compensation judgements, even though no real harm was done. For that reason, the courts in many jurisdictions have placed a cap, or maximum on allowable awards.

In contrast, the accused may have a benefit in tort liability cases, if they have a liability insurance company representing their case. The liability insurance companies do everything in their power to avoid large payouts, especially when they believe it can be avoided. In some cases, it is cheaper for the accused and the victim, to settle outside of court. Unfortunately, some tort liability cases include settlements even when the accused is obviously innocent. Liability insurance companies may choose to settle simply because it is cheaper than the costs involved with taking the case to court.


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Response to pnwmom (Reply #81)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 08:33 AM

82. Well-presented post. Thanks for this response.

I would add a few things, however.

Over 90% of all cases filed in all Courts in the United States settle (or are otherwise disposed of) before they reach a trial. So, it's not like the insurance industry is unique in its willingness to settle (or otherwise dispose of) cases. Everybody does that. The insurance industry isn't especially prone to settlement--no more than any other person or industry. At least, that has been my experience.

Speaking for myself and for all the Plaintiffs' personal injury attorneys I know, it's useless to send a demand letter to an insurance company (the usual step before filing suit) unless there are some medical records supporting a client's claim to be injured. I'm no doctor. I can't tell if a client has been injured or not, but if a doctor has declared that a client has been injured, and I have that in writing, and if I believe the insurance company is, at least, partially liable, I will send a demand. The insurance company would laugh at my client's demand (and would ignore it) without some medical records showing an actual injury. If the AMA wants to blame tort attorneys because some doctors produce flimsy, or unsupportable, or even fraudulent medical records, that's not the attorneys' fault. Blame the doctors. Because the doctors don't want to blame themselves, and because it's easier and more popular to blame attorneys, I am very suspicious of anything they have to say about tort law. (This is in reference to your first citation.)

Georgia also has a provision that "encourages" settlement, in the same way that the Rhode Island case sited above does, but it's not exactly a boon to Plaintiffs. It's not like you can waltz into court and expect a jury to give you a big verdict without some medical evidence supporting the injury claim. How this rule usually plays out is like this. Say the defendant has a liability policy with a $25,000.00 limit (the minimum in GA). My client is uninsured and has $30,000.00 in medical bills related to the injury. Under those facts, I have to file a "Holt demand" (that's what it's called in GA) so that, if the jury awards meds., lost wages, and pain and suffering beyond $25,000.00, then my client's doctors, at least, can get paid (their bills alone often exceed minimum liability coverage). When trying to settle these cases, I usually have to negotiate with the doctors to see what they'd be willing to take so that I and my client can get paid something. Without this provision, the insurance company would just fork over their limits ($25,000.00) after the trial and tell us all to have a nice day ... win a big jury verdict for $100,000.00, but you only get $25,000.00 to split three ways (client, doctors, attorney). Instead, this rule encourages the insurance industry to just go ahead and fork over their limits, in a case like this, in order to avoid a trial. If client, attorney, and doctor can all agree to reduce their expectations and divide up just $25,000.00 and avoid a trial, settlement may be reached. If not, we go to trial, and, if a Holt demand has been filed, the insurance company, if they lose, is on the hook for whatever amount the jury awards. For smaller cases, a Holt demand is no threat to the insurance company ... no way the jury is awarding more than $25,000.00 on an injury case where there are only $1,000.00 in medical bills. I've never encountered such a thing, in any event, here in GA. Either way, this rule does encourage settlement of some types of cases, but it does not really work with a frivilous one or one with low meds.

I agree with "law dot com" that "here are many deficiencies in liability insurance and in tort law cases," but frivolous filings are not the problem. Of course, frivilous lawsuits do get filed (usually one big company suing another big company--the majority of the truly frivolous lawsuits I have seen), but, from my experience, it's really rare in the field of personal injury. We need medical records. If you think these cases are frivolous, blame the doctors, not us. Most of us can not afford to work without getting paid.

-Laelth

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #46)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 01:38 PM

52. The plaintiff is unemployed

So it is safe to assume he does not have a lawyer on retainer.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #33)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 12:06 PM

39. Let me add ...

I have been a defendant in a lawsuit, and I know it's not pleasant.

Nobody ever said our legal system was pleasant. It's especially unpleasant when one is a potentially-liable defendant.

-Laelth

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #18)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 11:59 AM

35. The OP refers to an ambulance report

It may not be the claimed penis injury, but if there is a skinned knee, that's enough.

Whether it is a 5 dollar injury or a 5 million dollar injury is a question of proof for trial, but the 5 dollar one gets you through to courthouse door.

And, as noted, it doesn't matter why the guy was on the property. There is no general right to set dogs loose on people who come to your door.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #35)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 12:04 PM

38. And you see nothing wrong with this?

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #38)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 01:37 PM

51. Define "this"

Last edited Sat Feb 23, 2013, 02:17 PM - Edit history (1)

Do I see nothing wrong with what?

There is nothing wrong with seeking compensation for an injury caused by someone letting their dog loose to chase someone. Even if they came to your door. Even if they weren't really a FedEx employee. And, yes, I own and love dogs. But dog owners are generally held to strict liability for consequences arising from interactions between their dogs and others.

Did the guy injure his penis and is he entitled to 1.5M? I don't know. I wasn't there and don't have the ambulance report. That is stuff that gets sorted out on the facts at trial, if any.

Do I think someone is trying to pull a scam, as a matter of personal impression? Yeah, sure.

Are you asking some kind of moral question or a legal one?

The legal question is pretty simple - if the guy was injured by the dog chasing him and falling, the homeowner is liable for any injury shown to be caused by that. There is utterly nothing wrong with that.

The extent of his injury, if any, and the amount of his claim are not "legal questions". Those are questions of evidence and proof.

Being in the shower, whether he was employed by FedEx, whether the dog was playing... All of that has nothing to do with anything.

Or are you asking whether I believe it is okay to set your dog loose on anyone who comes to the door? No. I don't think that is okay.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #51)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 01:31 AM

79. Excellent post. n/t

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 10:24 AM

2. File a countersuit ...

saying "attempted rape" ...

I mean, why would this guy get bit on the penis if it wasn't out of his pants?

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 10:25 AM

3. Tell FedEx about it.

I doubt they will be so cavalier about drivers letting friends ride around and deliver packages for giggles or self-esteem building.

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Response to Robb (Reply #3)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 11:30 AM

27. I thought I read somewhere a lot of FEDEX drivers are contractors.

Maybe driver was an independent contractor and had a helper hired on his own accord.

FEDEX = union busters

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 10:25 AM

4. Here's the problem. The insurance company has instructed her to speak with nobody

including the police.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Reply #4)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 10:26 AM

6. Let's make lemonade.

Tell me the name of the insurance company; I've got some penis-biting lawsuits to file!

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Response to Robb (Reply #6)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 12:22 PM

45. Will they stand up in court? n/t

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Response to customerserviceguy (Reply #45)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 01:46 PM

54. If it stands up in court, it probably isn't injured

They might even catch him tampering with the evidence!

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Reply #4)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 10:56 AM

17. That does not strike me as a problem.

The insurance company has decided to handle the case. That's a good thing.

If the insurance company wants to settle, why should she care? A settlement actually protects her. She is almost certainly liable, as far as I can tell from the facts given above. If I were her, I would cooperate with the insurance company to the best of my ability and not second-guess their efforts to protect her and themselves.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #17)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 01:53 PM

56. "why should she care?"

Because some undeserving unemployed guy might get a small amount of money.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Reply #4)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 10:59 AM

19. So what

She can talk to anybody she wants.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Reply #4)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 11:00 AM

20. SHe subrogated her rights to the insurer when she bought the policy

Here's the deal: THEY KNOW the guy's full of crap. They also KNOW that defending this suit/countersuing, no matter how bs it is, will cost WAY more than just giving this scammer some "go away" money. Tell your friend to let it go. Her rate won't go up much, if at all, depending on her claims history.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 10:26 AM

5. countersue, claiming he committed beastiality.



actually, i would refer the case to the attorney general, this is certainly fraud.

the homeowner could sue, and in theory recover damages for increased insurance costs as well as emotional distress and whatnot, but there's time and effort involved in pursuing that, and it may not pay off as the fraudster doesn't seem to have deep pockets.

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Response to unblock (Reply #5)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 10:30 AM

8. She wants to pursue prosecution except that

she's held hostage by her insurance company. She'll breach her contract for liability protection if she goes rogue.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Reply #8)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 11:03 AM

22. There is no basis for any countersuit

If someone has a legitimate countersuit the insurance company would not stand in the way, but in this case what is the offense and damages? Someone delivered a package who wasn't who they were supposed to be. How is that actionable and even if it were, what were the homeowner's damages?

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Response to unblock (Reply #5)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 10:32 AM

12. FedEx does.

Remember it was their driver's negligence that let this loon in the property.

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Response to unblock (Reply #5)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 11:00 AM

21. Fraud?

I don't see that at all.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #21)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 03:34 PM

75. a non-fedex employee shows up at your door in a fedex uniform, claiming to be a fedex employee...?

nah, nothing fraudulent about that....


i'm with you the implication of some of your other posts that the homeowner has more than 0% liability as the unrestrained dog thing is certainly a no-no. but presenting in a fraudulent uniform is also a big no-no, as if filing a fraudulent insurance claim.

depending on the jurisdiction (and the jury!) the homeowner might actually have a strong argument for releasing the hound if there were reason to believe the person was not really a fedex employee.


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Response to unblock (Reply #75)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 06:26 PM

76. Fraud

Fraud requires, if I recall, 1) an intentional misrepresentation 2) upon which the Plaintiff reasonably relies, and 3) an injury to Plaintiff caused by his or her reasonable reliance on the misrepresentation.

In this case, the homeowner did not reasonably rely on a misrepresentation. There was a misrepresentation, to be sure, but did the homeowner rely on that? Was she injured as a result? No. Not that I can see.

Only if the housekeeper could make a jury believe that she would have never opened the door unless it was a Fed-ex person outside, and only if homeowner could then prove that she was injured because her housekeeper opened the door, would we have a possible case of fraud.

Seems to me that Plaintiff was not injured at all. The dog did the injuring. The homeowner is probably liable. imho, for what that's worth.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #76)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 10:34 AM

83. i'm hearing that the homeowner was injured to the extent of rising insurance premiums

and i'm also hearing that the fedex fraudster wasn't injured at all.

true, we're only hearing one side of the story, and then not first hand, nor are we getting all the detail.
for instance, was it pick-up or delivery? if the fedex fraudster picked up a package, that would certainly be an added dimension because that certainly looks like theft.

as a practical matter, it sounds like the real fedex guy was subcontracting his job to his unemployed buddy to help him out, so the intent probably wasn't to steal anything, but the moment a non-fedex employee accepts something a customer believes is being handed to a duly authorized agent of fedex, that's certainly problematic.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 10:30 AM

9. How much are they settling for?

Are you an attorney ?

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Response to Hassin Bin Sober (Reply #9)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 10:31 AM

11. I'm an attorney but not personal injury or insurance.

It's too early to know how much they're going to settle for.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 10:38 AM

14. Possible this is insurance fraud?

Stage it all for a big payoff, enough to risk losing your job over. I would imagine that being an accessory to impersonating a UPS driver would be frowned upon in that establishment.

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Response to MindPilot (Reply #14)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 10:40 AM

15. That's how I'm leaning.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 10:53 AM

16. "the ambulance report"


Okay, so whatever is or is not the extent of injury, the basic outline is that someone came to the door, the dog was let out and chased him, he fell down, and was hurt badly enough that an ambulance was called, is that correct?

Whether he was or was not employed by FedEx is neither here nor there. People can come to the door for all sorts of reasons. Even if he was a Jehovah's Witness handing out tracts, or some other unwanted visitor, it does not mean that it's okay to set the dog on him.

The guy is not going to get $1.5M or anything close to that. It sounds more like the whole setup is an insurance scam. But be that as it may, if he was hurt by running away from the dog, he'll most likely get a nuisance settlement of some kind, and if the housekeeper is going to open the door for people when there is a playful dog, she should keep a hand on the dog's collar.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #16)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 11:35 AM

28. You would think an attorney would know these things.

I mean the OP claims to be an attorney but uses language like "trespassing" and "frivolous"

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Response to Hassin Bin Sober (Reply #28)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 11:52 AM

31. Well there's that...

Yeah, the OP seems to believe there is an "open season on trespassers" rule. It's pretty basic that you can't have tiger pits and trip wires in your yard, and that you certainly can be held liable for injuries to trespassers. It is also clear that the masquerading FedEx guy was not even a trespasser - someone with authority opened the door for him.

Secondly, while the claimed injury and damages may be questionable, if a dog chased the guy and he fell down, the suit is not "frivolous".

What I found interesting, aside from wondering why an attorney would seem to miss spotting the basic issues in what seems to be a take-home quiz for torts class, is the hook of the question - specifically:

- A homeowner well off enough to have a housekeeper is concerned that an unemployed person might get an insurance settlement as a consequence of being chased by their dog -

The concern here seems to be that the insurance company - whose job it is to avoid paying money on claims whenever possible - despite their obvious superior qualifications to deal with claims like this, may confer a windfall on some low class scumball who was merely pretending to be employed and was, at bottom, providing a service to the homeowner for free.

Now, sure, it could be an attempted insurance scam, but I can't fail to miss the class condescension in the story as stated.

Most of us who take our showers during business hours and have our housekeepers deal with our deliveries often fret about those of lower stations grasping for the undeserved handout after we've set the dogs on them.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #31)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 12:14 PM

43. Class condescension

A homeowner well off enough to have a housekeeper...
That struck me right off in the article too.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #31)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 02:10 PM

59. +1 million

The OP is surely some kind of social experiment, because it cannot be serious.

Great reading of this whole laughable "case."

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 11:20 AM

25. Well he won't get 1.5 million

Lawyers put extravagant amount in the complaints so as to be sure not to state too low an amount and have the jury award more than they asked for.

It's not a lawsuit that can be dismissed - that section is highly misunderstood. It applies to lawsuits brought in bad faith for some other purpose than recovery. Not lawsuits we think a jury would award a defense verdict for. It's not about being a winner but about suing for improper purpose - to create leverage or just be vengeful and create trouble.

The insurance contract likely makes it up to the insurance company about settling.

Being in the shower is irrelevant - it's just about owning the property, not saying she did something wrong herself.

It does sound like fraud though, and insurance companies are usually more motivated to fight that. It wouldn't be hard to get records from Fed Ex in discovery to show someone was not on the Fed Ex payroll.

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Response to treestar (Reply #25)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 11:54 AM

32. The FedEx thing is a red herring IMHO

I don't think it matters why the claimant was on the property.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #32)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 11:59 AM

34. Could be. But there's something about letting a non Fed Ex employee

dress up as a Fed Ex employee that raises my suspicion a little bit. Like they were doing it to cause a personal injury accident - variation on the swoop and swap or whatever it is called.

The Fed Ex person could have done it herself, but then it would just be worker's comp.

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Response to treestar (Reply #34)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 01:27 PM

49. Yes

There could be something fishy going on, but whatever they were up to is not relevant to the basic outline of the claim.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #32)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 12:49 AM

78. Not strictly relevant, legally, but would be a factor in any settlement

The plaintiff's credibility is part of this case. In the unlikely event that it ever went to trial, the defense lawyer would make sure that the jury knew that the only reason the plaintiff got into this situation in the first place was that he was lying about being a FedEx employee.

Yes, it's an argumentum ad hominem, but it would have an impact beyond its logical relevance. As Willie Stark said in All the King's Men, "If you use the right kind of argumentum you can always scare the hominem into a laundry bill he didn't expect."

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 11:43 AM

29. they won't even insure her

unless she gets rid of the dog. No one will.

She'll have to tell them the dog died or she gave it away. And miraculously, some time later adopts another dog that looks just like the first one - so she gave it the same name.

I think a counter suit is in order. She should talk to an attorney herself. The insurance company just wants to settle and get it over with.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 12:03 PM

36. You're just not an American until you get sued.

Last edited Sat Feb 23, 2013, 09:52 PM - Edit history (1)

I suspect the insurance company is trying to settle because it's cheaper than going to trial and winning. Even for attempted fraud. When I got sued the insurance company settled. The plaintiff made a number of claims with regards to lost earnings. The insurance company said, OK, if you're earning 350 grand per year howzcome you're living in a singlewide and driving a 17 year old pick-up? I don't recall if my rates went up.

Your friend should try and relax and let the insurance company take care of it. Insurance companies are good at not paying. Forget the principle of the thing, it's all about the money.

Once he makes a claim, his name goes into an insurance database. If he ever gets a real injury, he'll already be in the system as a scam artist.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 12:09 PM

40. I guess we need some "tort reform", don't we?

Lol.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 12:14 PM

42. Settlement offer of less than one thousand

The insurance company will offer a piddling sum, less than a thousand. They figure it is cheaper than filing an answer to the complaint.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 12:57 PM

47. You'll want an incident report, medical treatment forms...

etc.... that actually shows he reported this to Fed Ex he was acting as their agent - ask for injury photos too. You entitled to all legal documents in the case, if they refuse FOIL them.


If you insurance company caves then they are morons. Make them take it to trial in front of a real jury or a judge. At the very least them get this on the record, with an EBT (examination before trial), which is sworn testimony.

Just because they sued doesn't mean they should be rewarded for lying and deceit .

Yes I've been involved in several mega million lawsuits, we made our town insurance lawyer go to trial in a couple after the ambulance chasers filed suit. We testified and the town won saving the taxpayers millions. I also testified in a Federal lawsuit..apparently the other side never thought I'd travel to testify and the government would settle.






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Response to Historic NY (Reply #47)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 01:53 PM

55. He lied that he was employed by FedEx.

His friend worked for FedEx as a delivery person and allowed him to dress in a FedEx uniform and deliver the packages. He even lied on the police report that he was an employee.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Reply #55)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 01:59 PM

57. So what?

Look, if the dog chased him and he got hurt, your friend is liable for any provable injury.

I don't believe for one red hot second you are an attorney of any kind, if you think him lying about being employed has anything to do with your friend's potential liability for injury claimed to result from her dog chasing him.

Wtf does him lying to the police about his job have to do with anything?

He may have been committing a dozen other crimes at the time, but they don't impact the potential liability of your friend for injury caused by setting the dog on him.

Are you saying the dog is trained to detect fake FedEx employees?

Aside from all that - did your friend get the package, and was she otherwise happy with his free service of bringing it to her door?

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 02:02 PM

58. The dog SHOULD'VE bit the dick's dick

At least the owner could say, "Good boy" and reward him with...BACON!

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Response to pinboy3niner (Reply #58)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 02:14 PM

60. Why?

Because he was unemployed and working for free, he should be attacked by dogs whom the servants let loose on those of his ilk?

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #60)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 02:18 PM

61. Let me clarify:

1. The dog didn't "attack" the "delivery person".
2. The dog did leave the house and was chasing him in play.
3. The delivery guy slipped and fell while running which the dog interpreted as playing.
4. The dog's mouth never made contact with him. The dog just "jumped up".

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Reply #61)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 02:27 PM

64. Doesn't matter

You are definitely not an attorney. Is this a take home torts exam?

The dog was loose, scared him, he ran, he fell down, and claims to be injured. It doesn't matter if the dog was "playing" - a lot of people are injured by playing dogs. Yes, I own a dog, and perfectly understand that she won't do a thing to anyone - unless they run away from her. It's an instinctive behavior, and she and the neighborhood kids have great fun with it.

And yes, I assume the claimed injuries come from him falling, and not from a dog bite. It's not relevant.

Let's run this with "no dog" and say that he merely tripped on the porch steps because he was clumsy. Even if we take the dog out of the picture entirely, is you friend liable for injuries from someone tripping on their property? Yes. I mean, duh, "slip and fall" accidents is the primary reason why people HAVE insurance in the first place.

But here we have a situation where someone was scared and ran from an unrestrained dog, fell down, and is claiming injury. There has to be something really odd which prevents an attorney from immediately grasping that the homeowner will be liable for provable injury from that sequence of facts.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #64)


Response to jberryhill (Reply #60)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 02:21 PM

62. No, because of the later developments

Of course no one should be attacked by a dog in the original circumstances. But if you're going to be sued frivolously and your insurance company is going to settle, it would be nice if somebody else (you or your dog) at least got something out of it.

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Response to pinboy3niner (Reply #62)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 02:33 PM

67. Oh, well, you want the advanced course

In that case, here's what you do.

You, the homeowner, make a deal with the guy, tell the insurance company and everyone else, "OMG you should have seen the blood gushing from the guy's crotch".

Then, not only do you split the settlement with the guy in question, but you go after FedEx because their driver had this guy along for the ride, and you've been permanently traumatized by seeing his penis mangled.

Then, you hide the money, divorce your spouse, and run off with the housekeeper.

This case needs more lawyers!

But at the end of the day, it is a run of the mill "slip and fall" claim, that is the basic premise of homeowner's insurance.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #67)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 02:41 PM

68. We can count on you for the opinion that "This case needs more lawyers!"



Just joshing. Your knowledge and background makes you the go-to guy here on legal issues, and many of us appreciate your contributions.

ETA: Oh, yeah--your sense of humor also is a delight.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 02:26 PM

63. Sounds like a scam, pure and simple.

Dress up in a FedEx uniform, act "scared" when you see a dog, run away and throw yourself on the ground, yell out "Owww- I'm injured!", and try to clear 1.5 million in a settlement. Wow- I'd be livid too.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 02:30 PM

65. Well, maybe the sorry sue happy jerk will use that payday to OD in a short time period.

And rid the planet of his no count ass.

I'd counter-sue FedEx for allowing low life scum like that to impersonate a driver and get access to my home.

Go ahead and alert me. Sometimes it's fucking worth it.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 02:46 PM

69. I really don't believe very much of this story at all.

It pushes too many Bullshit Buttons.

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Response to Codeine (Reply #69)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 02:49 PM

70. +1

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Response to Codeine (Reply #69)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 04:36 AM

80. neither do I n/t


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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 02:50 PM

71. What was in the package anyway?

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 03:03 PM

72. My dad once got sued - get this.

It was at a plant he designed. So recycling plants have to drop trash onto trucks from one platform to another. These two guys were in the process of stealing an old television that had been recycled. They dropped it because they were loading it incorrectly onto the truck bed. Now these guys sued literally everybody they could find for injury damage claims. Including the plant owners and the designers of the plant.

Needless to say most of those suits got dropped or laughed out of court. I don't know if the two guys got arrested or anything.

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Response to Initech (Reply #72)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 03:31 PM

74. If we had national healthcare, incidentally

Most of the suits seeking compensation for injury would go away.

That includes medical malpractice suits too, by the way, since the biggest component of them is recovery for corrective treatment.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 03:07 PM

73. so she should get a lawyer and sue FedEx as their drivers are trained what to do when a dog is there

Fedex doesn't allow their drivers to take along guests.
My parents were hit by an oil company truck that broadsided them. Turns out the driver wasn't an oil company employee and didn't even have a license. (probably a contracters crew worker) Their own car insurance kicked in right away and paid for the totaled car and the direct emergency treatment. They had to sue the oil company and it took 5 years to finally get the oil company to pay.

Yes, their car insurance went up as insurance does whenever there is a claim against it. Tell your friend to talk to a Lawyer

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 07:18 PM

77. Refuse to renew your policy

Companies are often looking for excuses to cancel homeowner policies if you have claims. (They particularly hate anyone who says they have mold, because they are fearful of repeat claims for it.)

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