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Last Post 11/12/2006 2:59 AM by  HuskerCat
Opinion or a statement? Watch what you say.
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host
CatAdjuster.org Founder
Posts:713


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11/06/2006 12:54 PM

    I ran across an article on a defamation lawsuit against an adjuster for what he told the insured\claimant. The lawsuit was first thrown out by a lower court that stated the comments that were made were the opinions of the adjuster. It was later reinstated.

    In the article it is stated that the adjuster told an accident victim that the Attorney just takes peoples' money and that they would receive more money if they wouldn't hire him and would deal directly with the adjuster instead.

    click here for the article>

     

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    Tom Toll
    Moderator & Life Member
    Posts:1865


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    11/06/2006 8:02 PM

    What it is

    The basic idea of defamation law is simple. It is an attempt to balance the private right to protect one's reputation with the public right to freedom of speech. Defamation law allows people to sue those who say or publish false and malicious comments.

    There are two types of defamation.

    * Oral defamation -- called slander -- for example comments or stories told at a meeting or party.

    * Published defamation -- called libel -- for example a newspaper article or television broadcast. Pictures as well as words can be libellous.

    Anything that injures a person's reputation can be defamatory. If a comment brings a person into contempt, disrepute or ridicule, it is likely to be defamatory.

    * You tell your friends that the boss is unfair. That's slander of the boss.

    * You write a letter to the newspaper saying a politician is corrupt. That's libel of the politician, even if it's not published.

    * You say on television that a building was badly designed. That's libel due to the imputation that the architect is professionally incompetent, even if you didn't mention any names.

    * You sell a book that contains defamatory material. That's spreading of a defamation.

    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
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    Ray Hall
    Posts:2443


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    11/06/2006 9:48 PM

    Seems this adjuster stuck his foot in his big mouth. Guess where his boss stuck his big foot !

     

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    CATdawg
    Member
    Member
    Posts:96


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    11/07/2006 6:05 AM
     It would appear that the mistake made by the adjuster was singling out a particular attorney rather than the legal profession as a whole, as in "Mr. X will just take his fee and your net will be less than if you hadn't hired him" rather than "I think the legal profession makes the claim-settlement process more complicated and expensive, often with little or no net benefit to the policyholder". Personally, I would have kept my mouth shut and just done my job, even if I thought I knew that this attorney is a shyster.
    Lee Norwood, aka "CATdawg"
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    Tiger
    Member
    Member
    Posts:26


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    11/07/2006 10:28 AM
    The basic idea of defamation law is simple. It is an attempt to balance the private right to protect one's reputation with the public right to freedom of speech. Defamation law allows people to sue those who say or publish false and malicious comments.


    Tom:

    Is it defamation if it is true and malicious. If someone has a good reputation because the public is not aware of the truth, do they have the right to protect that reputation by suppressing the truth?
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    Tom Toll
    Moderator & Life Member
    Posts:1865


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    11/07/2006 10:56 AM
    The explanation says false and maliscious. If an individual has a hidden past or is not what people think, then I would not think presenting this to the public would be considered defamation. You should, however, better have some very factual evidence to present and back up the defamation remark. This is my opinion only.
    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
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    gordon1
    Guest
    Guest
    Posts:12


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    11/07/2006 9:52 PM
    For what it is worth, I would not state opinions unless they were my professional opinion as an adjuster, to which I would confidently testify in a court pf law under oath. I would only state facts & let the other person draw their own conclusions. Can't get in trouble for stating facts.
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    Catmannn
    Member
    Member
    Posts:45


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    11/08/2006 8:09 AM
    Strange way to try to settle a claim.
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    Jud G.
    Senior Member
    Senior Member
    Posts:509


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    11/08/2006 12:25 PM

    Abe Lincoln once said, "Truth is generally the best vindication against slander."

    Yes, the truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off- I wonder if that's what got that attorney to file suit. 

    Granted, from a job standpoint, that adjuster screwed up when he said what he said.  That'd be a trip if the adjuster's defense did proove that his statements were true and actually won the case against the alleged slander...

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    Gale Hawkins
    PowerClaim.com
    Advanced Member
    Advanced Member
    Posts:386


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    11/11/2006 1:03 AM

    I guess this is both an opinion and a statement.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20061110...katrina_dc

     

    Katrina victims can't recover more than actual loss

    In an order on Monday, U.S. Senior District Judge L.T. Senter Jr., who is overseeing much litigation related to the August. 2005 disaster, said homeowners may recover only their "actual loss" under policies for homes and personal property….

     

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    PORTASATGUY
    Member
    Member
    Posts:49


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    11/11/2006 8:55 PM
    To me, during the 4 in "04" and in 05, I saw alott of this where the adjuster either said the same thing "the adjuster told an accident victim that the Attorney or the Public Adjuster" just takes peoples' money and that they would receive more money if they wouldn't hire him and would deal directly with the adjuster instead.

    Even though we do not like to deal with 3rd parties, and prefer to deal with the insured's directly, in a perfect world that would be nice, But the Attorney and the Public Adjuster was hired by the Insured in most cases, and we need to deal with them as we would the Insured's.

    Should not change your estimate and scope at all. Or at least for me anyway! I guess its the diffrence between wisdom, and non wisdom, experience and little experience? Dunno, All I do know is that for a few years for me it was job security!

    Go figure!
    R. Estes
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    HuskerCat
    Senior Member
    Senior Member
    Posts:762


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    11/12/2006 2:59 AM

    There have been numerous responses, but let's take into account whether the insured/claimant was already represented or just saying they were considering such.

    In my early years as a staff rep, I had policy limit authority across all boards.  My good leaders encouraged fair settlements, and as such.... we were also guided to be the good diplomats with the claimants as well as the insureds.

    Most attorney involvement will occur in auto accidents or slip/falls, etc.  In the midwest here, most people will not engage an attorney right away (if at all).  But the question always came up when I met with the accident victim "do I need to get an attorney?".  (Keep in mind this only deals with disputed or questionable losses.)

    I would start off by thanking them for their cooperation in helping us obtain the details/facts of the claim (taking their statement), and assure them that we were only interested in settling the claim as the facts determined as based on statements from everyone who witnessed.   I would also advise them that they were entitled to representation, but....if that happened,

    1) We could no longer converse;

    2) They may have to go thru their own carrier:

    3) Please give me the time to fully investigate the loss;

    4) If we did find that our insured was liable, and the claimant was injured, then give us an opportunity to work together.  

    The carrier I worked for allowed us to advance BI payments and treat the claimants as insureds.   This kept attorneys out of the mix a majority of the time on 100% liability cases.  I never badmouthed a plaintiff attorney, but just simply advised the claimaint that they could work with us and then if they weren't happy with the settlement offer...the attorney route was always open, and I gave them the specific statute of limitations. 

    This approach worked very well, but remember having policy limit authority as the face-to-face adjuster  is much different than what probably is more common place.  I would guess that a lot of times, there are too many bodies/voices in the mix.  That equals legal representation. 

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