In recent years there have been class action lawsuits filed claiming that insurance providers violate their own contracts by failing to reimburse policyholders for sales tax, title transfer fees, tag transfer fees, and more after what is considered a “total loss” car accident.1

What does this accusation entail? Under certain coverages, an insurance provider may be required to pay for all costs associated with a totaled vehicle, specifically the taxes and fees that are paid when the vehicle is purchased. The aforementioned cases are brought when a provider is accused of failure to cover the total cost of a “total loss”.

Actuaries are employed by insurance companies to reduce risk and make sure the company is making financial decisions that are in its own best interest. Actuaries are paid well to do so, with the 2018 median pay for an actuary coming in at over $100,000 per year.2 This means that when you are involved in an automobile accident, there are many well-trained and well-paid people working to put the insurance company’s interests first.

It is not uncommon to hear of an insurance provider offering quick payment to an accident victim in exchange for signing off on closing the claim. This, however, should not be done until you know you are being fully compensated per your coverage and rights.

It is recommended to regularly review your insurance coverage to:

1) Ensure that you have the proper coverage for your vehicle.

2) Refresh your knowledge of everything that is covered under your policy.

This second point is important to ensure that you aren’t getting taken advantage of when an insurance provider offers payment in exchange for closing the claim.




Health Spending Grows at Snails Pace


According to a recent study conducted by analysts at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), health spending in the U.S. grew in 2013 at the slowest rate ever recorded.  Total spending on healthcare increased by just 3.6% last year to $2.9 trillion.  In comparison, healthcare spending in 2012 increased by 4.1% and health spending increased by nearly 10% back in 2002.

Reasons for the Slowdown in Spending

According to statisticians and economists who worked on the HHS study, the slowdown in healthcare spending was largely the result of sluggish economic growth.  The recovery from the “Great Recession” that ended in 2009 has been relatively weak.  A partial result has been modest increases in health spending.  The study’s analysts also contribute changes in the nation’s healthcare system to the spending slowdown.

Are there Benefits to the Slowdown?

The quick answer is perhaps.  Authors of the HHS study point to two possible benefits.  First, slowdowns in health spending have meant slower growth in the Medicare program.  This translates into relieved pressure on the federal budget.

Second, a reduction in spending has apparently eased the increase of premiums for commercial health insurance plans.  This so-called benefit, however, poses a problem.  Lower premiums have partly caused an explosion in high-deductible health plans.  Higher deductibles mean millions of Americans potentially face high out-of-pocket medical expenses.  This could lead to a decrease in overall health in the U.S. if citizens put off needed medical care to save money.

What does the Future Hold?

There doesn’t seem to be a magical crystal ball on the issue.  Analysts are somewhat unclear as to whether the slowdown will continue.  There does seem to be a large consensus, however, that wants to believe 2014 will experience higher increases in health spending.  To support this belief, many quickly point to the greater number of Americans that have gained coverage this year through the federal health law.

For the time being, it looks like all of us will have to see what the future holds.  Phillips Law Firm will continue to monitor the issue and will provide updates as soon as they develop.  In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.


VA Improving Access to Medical Care?


We recently informed on the shocking results of an audit conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  If you recall, this audit revealed that more than 57,000 new patients had waited at least 90 days for an appointment at a VA hospital and/or clinic.  Numerous citizens agreed with Phillips Law Firm that this was a completely disastrous situation; and, citizens were also vocal in agreeing that our Veterans deserve more.  Have these voices been heard?  Well, just maybe…thanks to the VA’s new Choice Card Program.

What is the Choice Card Program?

The Choice Program is a new, temporary VA benefit that allows some Veterans to receive health care in their own communities, rather than waiting for a VA appointment.  The program began on November 5th when the VA mailed a first round of Choice Cards to Veterans eligible for the program.  According to the VA, eligibility for the program is based on a Veteran’s place of residence and cards are being administered to Veterans who are waiting more than 30 days to be seen by their physician.

The VA announced on November 17th that it began mailing Veterans Choice Cards once again as phase two of the agency’s new program.  According to Robert A. McDonald, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, the “VA continues to focus on implementation of this new temporary benefit so that Veterans receive the timely quality care they need in a way that reduces confusion and inefficiencies.”  The Choice Program is part of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 (VACAA), enacted approximately three months ago.

Accelerated Care Initiative

As one result of the VACAA, the VA launched the Accelerated Care Initiative (ACI) over the past summer.  The Choice Card Program is closely associated with the ACI.  The ACI was essentially launched to improve service delivery for Veterans, namely to accelerate Veterans off of wait lists and into clinics.

To a large degree, the ACI has proven effective.  To date, VA medical centers have: increased access to care inside and outside of VA, added more clinic hours and work days, and deployed mobile medical units.  More specific results include:

  • Scheduling more than 1.2 million more appointments in the past four months than in the same period last year (VA medical centers have scheduled over 19 million Veteran appointments from June to October 1, 2014).
  • Reducing the national new patient Primary Care wait time by 18 %.
  • Completing 98% of appointments within 30 days of the Veterans’ preferred date, or the date determined to be medically necessary by a physician.

Justice Scores a Point

When Phillips Law Firm first reported on the VA’s audit, we were dismayed.  Our firm has always had an unwavering commitment to both our Veterans and to justice.  We were appalled that justice was not being upheld for those Veterans that deserve timely and efficient access to medical care.

We are happy to report that VA is apparently trying to turn matters around.  The Choice Program, the VACAA, and the ACI are all showing positive results in terms of assisting Veterans in receiving the medical care and treatment they deserve.  Granted, more time is required to ensure that the results continue.  However, for now, it appears that justice has scored a point.

The attorneys at Phillips Law Firm have assisted Veterans for years in recovering compensation for injuries and medical expenses.  These same attorneys have also stood committed towards accelerating the medical care of VA providers.  If you are a Veteran and are experiencing delays with getting the treatment you deserve, simply contact us today!


Gap insurance, of course.  The “GAP” in gap insurance stands for “Guaranteed Auto Protection.”  If an auto accident occurs, this insurance can protect a driver from having to pay the potentially significant difference between: (1) the amount the driver owes on his car loan; and, (2) the car’s estimated value.

Yes, insurance issues always have the likelihood of confusing.  Gap insurance, however, is relatively straight forward.  Let’s take a further look.

What Gap Insurance Covers and How it Works

Gap insurance typically comes into play when the driver of a car: (1) owes on a loan related to that car; and, (2) gets into a car accident where the same car is totaled (also called “total loss”).  In this situation, the driver’s collision coverage will only reimburse the driver for the current market value of his car.  An insurer will not cover any amount of money that the driver may still owe on his car loan.

Gap insurance was designed to provide extra coverage in this type of scenario.  Let’s consider a hypothetical.  Assume Fred purchased a car for $20,000.  At the time of purchase, he made a $2,000 down payment and took out a loan for $18,000.

Now, further assume that within a few months of his purchase, poor Fred was involved in an auto accident that left his new car completely totaled.  Fred still owes $18,000 on his car loan.  But, what happens once a buyer of a new car drives off the lot?  The car goes down in value.

After the collision, Fred’s insurer estimates that the fair market value of his new car is $16,000.  The insurer pays Fred this same amount via Fred’s collision coverage benefits.  In the end, Fred is left paying out-of-pocket for the $2,000 difference between the amount he owed on the vehicle and the amount he was paid by his insurer.

Now enter gap insurance.  Gap insurance essentially eliminates the deficit that Fred is left to cover out-of-pocket.  If Fred had gap insurance, then his insurer would have reimbursed him for the full $18,000 that he owed on his new vehicle.  In other words, gap insurance fills the gap between the fair market value of a totaled car and the amount still owed on that car.


An insurer must provide gap insurance if an insured asks for it.  But, this begs the question of whether a driver should even ask for it.  The answer to this question depends on a few considerations.

Please note that gap insurance is often required as part of a lease agreement.  Thus, if a driver leases a car, the lease agreement will typically include gap insurance into the overall equation.  Here, the driver is left paying a fee for the additional coverage.

In a non-lease situation, it’s up to the driver/purchaser of the car to determine whether gap insurance is in his best interest.  An important thing to keep in mind is the down payment amount paid at the time of purchase.  The smaller the down payment amount, the more important gap insurance becomes.

Please also understand that there are limits on how much a gap policy will pay.  Your particular insurance carrier will be best equipped to detail these limits.  Further, gap insurance may be limited to those policy holders that also have comprehensive and collision coverage.  Once again, your particular insurance carrier will be best equipped to discuss these issues.

A final consideration is Phillips Law Firm.  If you have any questions on whether Gap insurance is right for you, simply contact us.  Further, if you recently purchased a car and fell victim to a total vehicle loss, let our talented team of attorneys lead your way.  This team is experienced, dedicated, passionate, and ready to answer your call now!


Have you ever wondered how insurance adjusters determine what a personal injury case is worth?  The answer involves the use of a damage formula.  Adjusters use the formula to help determine a compensation amount at the outset of negotiating a personal injury settlement.  Let’s all put our math helmets on for a moment and take a further look at the use of damage formulas.

What’s the Reason for a Formula?

Before we dive right into equations and formulas, let’s consider why damage formulas are even used in the first place.  Consider a quick hypothetical where Sally and John are involved in an automobile accident.  John was clearly at fault in the accident and admits liability.  As a result of the accident, Sally incurred the following damages:  medical expenses, property loss, pain and suffering, and loss of family opportunities.

As a quick side note, it will help understand matters if we classify Sally’s damages.  The first two she incurred are known as “special damages,” or ones which are based on measurable dollar amounts.  The last two types are known as “general damages,” or ones based on intangible losses.

Returning to our hypothetical, John’s insurance company must reimburse Sally for her losses since John admitted liability.  The company can easily calculate compensation for Sally’s special damages.  Here, Sally will likely have bills and receipts that clearly show how much money was spent on medical treatment and property repair.  However, how does a company even begin to put a price tag on such damages as pain and suffering and lost opportunities?  This is where the damage formula comes into play.  The formula is basically used so that insurance adjusters can put a dollar amount on general damages.

How the Formula Works

Tighten that math helmet because here we go.  In mathematical terms, the damage formula is essentially:

Settlement Amount = Special Damages + x(Special Damages)

Don’t worry.  It seems complicated but it really isn’t.

Insurance adjusters typically follow a specific process when valuing a personal injury claim.  They first begin by adding together any special damages.  Again, these can easily be measured based on bills and receipts.

After special damages are valued, adjusters then try to place a value on general damages.  They do this by multiplying the amount of special damages by a figure of 1.5 to 5.  The specific figure used (between 1.5 and 5) depends on the severity of the case and the damages involved.  In cases involving minor injuries, a figure close to 1.5 will be used.  In cases involving more severe injuries, a figure closer to 5 will be used.  In our equation above, “x” represents the figure that’s used in multiplying special damages.

Once an adjuster determines an amount for general damages, he then adds this value to the total amount of special damages.  The total figure then becomes the number from which settlement negotiations begin.  All of this is expressed in our handy dandy equation, where settlement amount equals the amount of special damages plus the amount of general damages (which is determined by multiplying “x” by the amount of special damages).  See, math is fun!

Let the Negotiations Begin

We should reiterate that the final amount generated by the damage formula is just the number from which settlement negotiations begin.  A final settlement amount, that is higher than the amount calculated by the damage formula, can definitely be reached through careful and clever negotiations.  That is where we come in.

The attorneys at the Phillips Law Firm have years of experience in negotiating with insurance companies and claims adjusters.  If you have suffered damages in a personal injury case, please contact our firm for any assistance you need in negotiating a final settlement amount.  Our team of successful attorneys are quite familiar with the damage formula and they are well versed in its operation.  Contact them today for help.


insurance-croppedThere are some words in the English language that are just ugly.  Consider, for example, “tax,” “cacophonous,” “functionality,” and “downsized.”  Whether it’s due to sound, meaning, or appearance, many would agree that these words are simply unfriendly or unpleasing.

The term “subrogation” can arguably fit within a list of your top ten ugliest words.  It sounds weird.  The word itself appears complicated; and, its definition can prove upsetting or displeasing…especially if you’ve suffered damages in a car accident due to another driver’s fault.  Let’s take a further look at this word and see if we can remove some of its unpleasantries.

What is Subrogation?

Assume Sally is involved in an automobile accident with John.  As a result, Sally suffers neck injuries that require medical care and treatment. Sally files a claim with her insurer and the insurer pays her doctor for all treatment expenses (assume these expenses totaled $20,000).  John admits he caused the accident.

Subrogation is basically the process by which an insurer tries to recover its costs from the negligent party in a personal injury matter.  In the above example, Sally’s insurer would most likely try to recover its costs (or, the $20,000 it paid for Sally’s medical treatment) from John (or, John’s insurer).  This, in a nutshell, is subrogation.

Why Does Subrogation Matter?

So far, subrogation doesn’t sound half bad, right?  What is really wrong with an insurer trying to recover its costs?  Well, let’s look at subrogation in a different  manner.

Let’s return to Sally.  Assume she accepted a settlement offer of $30,000 with John’s insurer for all aspects related to the car collision.  With John’s insurer now out of the picture, where does Sally’s insurer turn for repayment of its costs?

The answer is…Sally’s settlement.  With subrogation, an insurance company that paid an insured’s medical expenses basically holds a lien on any settlement reached; and, it is entitled to repayment from the settlement.  Given that Sally’s medical treatment cost $20,000, subrogation means that her actual settlement award could be cut by two-thirds and she could be left with $10,000.

Granted, this may not seem fair to some.  But, this is the nature of subrogation.  This is also why the mere term “subrogation,” can seem ugly to an insured.

We should also note that an insurance company will expect the full cooperation of an insured throughout the entire subrogation process.  Cooperation typically means that an insured must notify his insurer prior to finalizing a settlement agreement with the at-fault party.  This helps protect the insurance company’s right to subrogation.

Can an Attorney Help with Subrogation?

Definitely.  Despite any perceived unfairness within the subrogation process, an insured is still obligated under his auto insurance policy to reimburse his insurer for costs it has incurred.  An attorney can work with an insurer to make certain that the insured’s rights are protected.  An attorney can also help negotiate the exact amounts and terms of repayment.

As to this last point, please note that an attorney can try to waive an insurer’s subrogation claim.  Waiver essentially means that an insurer will dismiss their subrogation rights.  If this took place in Sally’s example, her insurer would have dismissed any claims to the $20,000 it paid in medical costs.  The result is that Sally would have pocketed the entire settlement award of $30,000.

Waiver of a subrogation claim is a fantastic thing for an insured.  However, a waiver may not always be available.  Nonetheless, an experienced personal injury attorney can often work with an insurer to get them to reduce, even greatly reduce, their subrogation claims.

A note from a local chiropractor:

Thank you Phillips law firm.

I do appreciate the clarification on the minutia associated with subrogation. However, I believe there are more important reasons for legal representation, even in the event of PIP (Personal Injury Protection) coverage.

In my 25 years of practice, mainly automobile crash victims, I have noted that insurance companies seem to take better care of the other insurance company, than they do their own insured. Just because a person has PIP does not mean their medical bills will be paid, leaving the patient on the hook for the balance of the bill.

The insurance companies like to use shallow and vague reasons why they did not pay standard and usual bills for reasonable and necessary treatment. The patient is responsible for the bill to the medical provider, no matter what.

It is sad that we have come to this: sometimes we need an attorney to help us get fair treatment from our own insurance companies.

It is difficult to feel that ‘we are in good hands,’ when it comes to our own insurance companies.

Respectfully, Dr. JP Mahar.

The attorneys at our firm have extensive experience in working with insurance companies to protect the rights of our clients.  This experience and protection includes countless hours of subrogation negotiations.  To better maximize your settlement agreement, please contact our firm today.  Our attorneys stand ready to answer your questions and are ready to work towards the justice that you deserve.

Image Credit: Alan Cleaver via Flickr


Let’s start with a hypothetical.  Assume Shirley is driving her car down a Seattle residential road and comes to a four-way stop.  She stops her car.  She looks right.  No cars.  She looks left. She views one car approaching the intersection, driven by Joe, but the car is about 20 yards away from its own stop sign.

Shirley continues forward assuming that Joe will stop his vehicle.  She gets half-way through the intersection before Joe strikes the left rear side of her auto.  Joe was obviously negligent because he failed to stop at a stop sign.  At the scene of the accident, Shirley learns that Joe is uninsured (Shirley carries a standard auto liability policy).

Shirley later suffers minor neck injuries from the collision and requires physical therapy.  Since Joe is without insurance can Shirley get reimbursed for her physical therapy bills by her own insurer?  The answer is…maybe.

Mandatory Motor Vehicle Liability Insurance

Washington State law mandates that all drivers carry motor vehicle liability insurance of not less than $25,000.  This insurance covers damages that an insured causes to another driver on account of the insured’s negligence.  In our hypothetical, if Joe followed the law and carried a sufficient auto liability policy, this policy would cover the cost of Shirley’s physical therapy.

Unfortunately, however, Joe is not alone.  Despite strict penalties for the uninsured motorist, thousands of drivers in Washington operate a vehicle, every single day, with no liability insurance.  Is there any hope for Shirley, or does she simply have to pay for her therapy out of her own pocket?

UM and UIM to the Rescue

Uninsured Motorist insurance (UM) and Underinsured Motorist insurance (UIM) are essentially liability policies that a driver can select to help manage the risk if he gets hit by a driver without, or with very minimal, insurance.  UM provides compensation to an insured when he is injured by a driver without liability insurance.  UIM provides compensation to an insured when he is injured by a driver whose liability insurance is insufficient to provide full compensation for the injuries.

Both UM and UIM policies act as insurance for the adverse driver with no or minimal insurance coverage.  If an insured selects a UM or UIM policy, he will be able to make a claim against his own insurance company for the negligent conduct of an uninsured, or underinsured, driver.  An easy way to think of this is to simply note that your own UM and UIM policies will become the policies of the adverse driver, and you will be able to make a claim against your own insurance company as if they were the insurance company for the adverse driver.

UM and UIM not Required by Law

While Washington law requires all insurance companies to offer UM and UIM coverage to their insureds, Washington law does not require that an insured accept this offer.  That is, Washington drivers are free to reject both UM and UIM coverage if they believe such a rejection is in their best interests.  If they do, then these drivers must express their rejection, in writing, to their specific carrier.

Keep in mind that if a driver rejects UM/UIM coverage, there is a real risk that he will go without sufficient financial resources if struck by a negligent driver that carries no liability insurance whatsoever.  This is why our firm typically advises to carry UM/UIM coverage.  The expense is not that great, but the peace of mind and security can be insurmountable.

Joe, Shirley and Physical Therapy Expenses

If we return to our hypothetical, Shirley will have to pay for her physical therapy expenses out of her own pocket since Joe failed to carry liability insurance.  However, if Shirley opted for UM/UIM coverage with her carrier, prior to her accident with Joe, then this coverage will definitely compensate Shirley for her therapy expenses.  See, an insurance hypothetical can be fun!

Of course, the Phillips Law Firm understands that “insurance” and “fun” are often not found in the same sentence.  Although difficult to make matters fun, we undoubtedly know that we can make insurance issues easier to understand.  If you have questions about your own auto liability policy, contact us.  If your were recently involved in an auto accident where the at-fault driver had little or no liability insurance, contact us as well.  Our experienced and dedicated team of attorneys is ready to assist with your questions and case.


Insurance Bad Faith Claims


Bad Faith - Claim DeniedAccording to Woody Allen, “There are worst things in life than death.  Have you ever spent an evening with an insurance agent?”  Yes, insurance agents and insurance companies often get a bad wrap.  This is because many insureds, or persons covered by insurance, believe they are unfairly dealt with when they submit a claim under their policy.

Unfair denials, poor settlement amounts, and lack of communication are just a few complaints many of us have when we are forced to deal with insurance carriers.  In this light, the term “bad faith” may sound like a perfect phrase to use when discussing an insurer.  But, bad faith actually refers to a cause of action an insured may have if his insurance company wrongfully denies a claim.  Let’s look further.

Insurance Bad Faith

Washington law states that an insurance company cannot deny a claim for false or bogus reasons.  Rather, insurance carriers have a duty to basically treat others the way they themselves would like to be treated.  Or, they must give the same considerations to the interests of their insureds as they do their own interests.

For example, the law imposes several duties upon insurance companies.  Some of these require insurers to:

  • Carefully investigate a claim
  • Conform to specific rules when settling a claim
  • Make payment, for valid claims, in a reasonably timely manner
  • Provide specific reasoning as to why a claim is denied

When an insurance company fails to abide by these duties, the law says they’re acting in bad faith.  If an insurer acts in bad faith, the insured may file a legally valid bad faith claim.  If successful, the claim can recover: the benefits under an insurance policy, emotional damage, and/or attorney’s fees and costs.

Claim Denial v. Bad Faith

It’s important to note that there is a difference between an insurer simply denying a claim and an insurer acting in bad faith.  The best way to describe this is by means of an example.  Let’s assume you’re involved in an automobile accident and damage the bumper on your car.  You take the vehicle to a repair shop and spend $250 to repair the bumper.  You then file a claim with your auto insurance company for reimbursement of the $250.  Provided that your insurance company is acting in good faith, they can deny the claim for various reasons.  This is basically a claim denial and it’s perfectly legal…assuming the insurer is acting in good faith.

A bad faith claim kicks in when the insurer engages in flagrantly wrongful conduct.  In our example, assume the insurance company denies your claim after throwing your claim, and all supporting documents, into the garbage without even a simple review.  This is acting in bad faith and you can bring a bad faith claim against the insurance company.

If successful, the claim is designed to punish the insurance company for its wrongful acts.  This means compensation is not limited to the amount of the bumper repair bill.  Compensation can include additional monies (ultimately left for a jury to decide) that will vary from case to case depending on the specific nature of the insurer’s bad faith act.

Insurance Fair Conduct Act

The Insurance Fair Conduct Act (IFCA) is a piece of Washington legislation that codifies much of the State’s insurance bad faith laws.  It’s important to highlight a few details on the IFCA.  These include:

  • It only applies to claims a policyholder makes with his own insurance company.
  • It does not apply to health insurance companies.
  • Despite the last point, the IFCA does apply to other types of insurance policies that include medical costs (e.g., auto and homeowner polices).

The Phillips Law Firm Knows Insurance

Our firm has years of experience in handling insurance related claims.  Our firm has also assisted numerous clients understand the myriad of complex insurance policies and provisions that flood the industry.  Our passionate attorneys are ready to answer your questions and assist in your insurance related case.  If you feel you have recently been a victim of an insurer’s bad faith acts, contact us today so we can help.


personal injury protection attorney - Autumn PalumboEvery month, the Phillips Law Firm will devote an entire post to the topic of PIP, or personal injury protection insurance.  The reasoning behind this is twofold.  First, our firm is dedicated to helping personal injury victims seek justice.  In a sense, personal injury protection is our middle name.

The second reason is that PIP is an insurance related topic.  While many of us quiver at anything insurance related, our firm is brave enough to face the insurance world. We’re also committed and insightful enough to know that the insurance world can be a bit confusing at times.  Confusion is of little help when trying to understand complex topics.  Thus, we simply thought it would be helpful to clarify the convoluted world of insurance for you.

So, without further ado, let’s discuss PIP for a moment.

What Exactly is PIP?

PIP is an acronym for Personal Injury Protection.  In terms of insurance, PIP is an insurance coverage that you can add to your auto insurance policy.  If it’s added, and you’re in an auto accident, PIP will help pay for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Wage loss
  • Loss of services
  • Non-traditional medical expenses (e.g., chiropractic care)
  • Funeral expenses

Who Does PIP Cover?

A good thing about PIP is that it usually covers more than a person named on a policy.  For example, in the event of an auto accident, PIP insurance would cover:

  • A policy holder
  • A policy holder’s household residents related by blood, marriage or adoption
  • Any non-family passengers and pedestrians involved in an accident

What do the PIP Laws Say?

In the State of Washington, all automobile liability insurance policies must carry at least $10,000 in PIP benefits (higher limits are definitely available).  This means your insurance company must provide you with PIP coverage when it comes to insuring your vehicle.  But please know that you do not have to have PIP coverage.  In the end, PIP coverage is solely your choice.

This means that buying PIP is up to you.  Yes, by law, your insurance company must offer it to you.  But, it’s up to you if you want to purchase it.  If a driver does not want PIP, he must reject it in writing.  If not rejected, an insurance company simply adds it to your automobile policy and charges you for it.

Do You Need PIP?

This all depends on the type of driver in question.  If a person drives by himself all the time and never gets into accidents, then PIP might not be a wise choice.  However, if a driver is always on the road, transporting family and friends, and/or seeks greater protection in the realm of accident risk, then PIP might be a valued addition to an auto policy.

How Much Does PIP Cost?

The exact cost of PIP coverage will depend on your insurance company.  However, PIP coverage is usually quite cheap.  “Quite cheap” typically means a few dollars a month (depending on the amount of vehicles covered in a single policy).  This is why the majority of drivers in the Seattle area, and the State of Washington, have PIP.  The coverage is almost too good to pass on.

Do What’s Right for You

Insurance coverage decisions are normally difficult to make.  This is because they depend on analyzing risks, budgets, statistics and  behaviors.  Most of these factors are unpredictable.

We are always here to help if necessary.  Our firm possesses an ocean of knowledge when it comes to insurance matters and insurance policy coverage issues.  Take advantage of this knowledge.  If you have PIP questions, or any other insurance related questions for that matter, contact us and let us help answer them!


Aflac Insurance takes great pride in their all-knowing mascot, commonly referred to as “the duck.”  While “the duck” may make for entertaining commercials, we have issue with one of the duck’s most recent accomplishments.  That accomplishment is the duck’s seemingly positive ability to settle an insurance claim quickly…actually in four days.  Take a quick look for yourselves.

Why the Duck is Confused

The duck, and Aflac for that matter, is confused because the successful settlement of an insurance claim is simply not, measured by the quickness within which that claim can be resolved.  The settlement of an insurance claim is not like a race in which quickness matters.  What matters most is the successful resolution of a claim.  Successful in this context is by no means best measured in terms of being fast.

What do we mean?

Insurance companies that receive a settlement claim basically have a goal.  That goal is to pay a person as little as possible, if not at all.  This does not mean they are not being fair.  It’s just the nature of their business.

So, if an insurance company wants to settle a claim quickly, what does that mean?  Well, in general, it basically means that they don’t want to negotiate and are offering a quick settlement amount in the hopes that the claim goes away.  Again, this is just the nature of their business.  Why would an adjuster pay you a reasonable amount on a claim when he could get away with much less?

Let’s Examine this on a Different Level

Settlement negotiations on insurance claims should not take place over night.  They also should not get resolved in a mere four days.  Settlement negotiations should start with a person’s (the insured’s)  reasonable expectations regarding payment.  The reasonableness of this payment should be upheld throughout negotiations.  Odds are that an insurance adjuster will downplay this payment.  But once again, that is their job.  The result is a back-and-forth numbers game that should involve substantiation on both sides.

The entire process of substantiating a claim can take weeks, if not even months.  Granted, this time is greater than four days, but ideally, negotiations will go on as long as necessary until a fair agreement is reached.  A key to know is that if an insured is dealing with an insurance company all on his own, he is on their turf.  He does not, in the least, have home-court advantage.  The result?  The insurance company will seek to reach a quick settlement in the hopes of paying out less for what the claim is actually worth.

Does an Attorney Help Matters?

Yes.  An attorney can step in and deal with negotiations on your behalf.  In addition, a good and experienced attorney should be able to see through the quickness within an insurance company’s willingness to settle a claim.  A good attorney should be able to divert this quickness in order to replace fastidious with reasonableness.

Phillips Law Firm possesses this type of insight.  We understand that, at times, the duck is confused.  We’re not about to follow the message from a commercial when that very message could negatively impact the rights and benefits of our clients.  Our firm is not about quick results.  Rather, we’re about just and righteous results that are in your best interest.