San Antonio, TX – More and more every day, automobile accident victims are being preyed upon – but the predators aren’t who one might think they are. Brazen auto insurance companies are engaging in a pervasive, predatory behavior, which is called swoop and settle. Swoop and settle is a pernicious behavior in which adjusters for the at-fault driver’s insurance company call the injury victim and persuade them, over the phone, to waive their legal rights for a small sum of money – often within minutes of the crash. “It happens all the time now. It’s probably the dirtiest trick I’ve seen insurance companies pull on auto accident victims,” says personal injury lawyer Eric Ramos.
“It’s deplorable,” adds Ramos, a proponent of Texas Watch, an insurance-focused consumer rights watchdog. “It shows just how little regard these multi-billion-dollar conglomerates have for injured Texans and their legal rights.”
Ramos goes on to explain how the scheme works: Unscrupulous insurance companies contact injury victims to settle their claims ‒ before the victims even realize they’re injured. “These companies take advantage of our human biology and our sudden misfortune without batting an eye,” Ramos reports. “In almost perfect synchronization with an automobile accident or another type of traumatic event, our bodies produce a surge of adrenaline, typically associated with the ‘fight or flight response.’ This adrenaline kick masks pain while energizing the nervous and cardiovascular systems. This effect can last hours or even days, and it can trick the body into thinking there is no injury.”
“That’s when they swoop,” says Ramos. “Accident victims are typically surprised to receive a call from the other driver’s insurance company, often within minutes of the collision. They’re usually pleasantly surprised when they’re offered a few hundred to a few thousand dollars ‒ over the phone. Adjusters sometimes even offer to pay for limited treatments like a handful of chiropractic adjustments. Injury victims often accept these phone-in-settlements, which are legally binding in the state of Texas, because at the time, they feel as if they’re physically fine.”
“In reality, what these accident victims don’t realize is that some of the most common auto accident injuries can take days ‒ or even weeks ‒ to manifest themselves. “Injuries like concussions, disc bulges, herniations, and tears can be masked easily by adrenaline and later present as soreness or tightness. When the injured victims realize the pain isn’t going away, they finally get checked out by a doctor. MRIs usually confirm the more serious injuries, but by that time, it’s too late. The case has been settled, and victims can no longer obtain compensation.”
“There’s no coincidence involved in this conduct. It’s deliberate,” adds Ramos. “Insurance companies spend millions to save billions. They research this stuff and pad their profits by paying out as little as possible.”
Is It All Legal?
Unfortunately, this type of conduct is legal – at least for now. A court opinion called Gilbert v. Fitz made even oral recorded settlement agreements enforceable against victims. Legal challenges have been presented, all of which cite the fundamental unfairness, undue influence, and coercion exercised by these unscrupulous insurers, but each challenge has failed to overturn the results of this power imbalance. Consumer advocates have introduced legislation to address the issue, but all the laws have been shot down by Texas legislators, many of whom receive campaign funding by big business interests.
Although no magic bullet currently exists, everyone can protect their friends, families, and communities by sharing this information with them. When someone is injured, they should be kept in the loop, not left in the dark. The best thing anyone can do right now is to get the word out, so no one else can be victimized by these greedy insurance companies. Write congressmen and congresswomen and support citizen advocacy groups like Texas Watch to help make meaningful change – change that affects the trajectory of the lives of everyday Texans.
Visit Eric Ramos Law, PLLC, at 7979 Broadway, #207, San Antonio, TX, 78209, or schedule an out-of-office meeting via phone at (210) 404-4878. For more information, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website.
Company Name: Eric Ramos Law, PLLC
Contact Person: Eric Ramos
Email: Send Email
Phone: (210) 404-4878
Address:7979 Broadway, #207
City: San Antonio
Country: United States