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Jim Lewis
Jim Lewis
Attorney • (800) 752-0042

"Funny" insurance ads are offensive to this injury lawyer

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Insurance company advertising seems to involve lots of jokes these days. Obviously, some advertising executive has convinced the insurance companies that they can increase their profits [44 billion in 2006] and market share by having comic ads about insurance.

If you watch TV you’ve seen these insurance company ads, like the one for Zurich Insurance Company who shows gags about people yelling “four” before injuries, and being hit in the head with objects like fish parts. Liberty Mutual has a similar set of ads where they show a series of unusual near miss accidents. Nationwide Insurance Company’s goof on people hurt is “life comes at you fast”. Of course we have all seen the Geico Insurance ads with the cute lizard and the cavemen. These ads must help insurance companies to improve brand recognition. Even my nine year old kid can recite parts of the Geico Insurance Company ads. Given the record profits insurers are earning, they must be laughing all the way to the bank.

Having fought against insurance companies for the 28 years of my professional life as an attorney, I find very little to laugh about. When you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a car accident the results medically, emotionally, and financially are often severe further, wrongful death often results from careless driving on the highway. Knowing this, I resent it when insurers make light of injuries and accidents in these commercials. Really it is partially just propaganda to make the public who may serve on juries think that accidents are funny as if it were a Three Stooge’s routine. Insurance companies try hard to poison the atmosphere against people who have hurt in automobile accidents by making it seem like “fender benders” are a joke and like in the cartoons nobody really gets hurt. The fact is that people can be hurt even where there is not major smashed up damage to the vehicles. Any doctor who is intellectually honest and who treats people for spine injury or brain injury can tell you that the force of throwing you about in a whiplash situation does sometimes lead to permanent injury. The human body is much more fragile than the hard plastic and steel that cars are made out of. Again, doctors who are being forth right will confirm that the amount of property of damage in a car crash does not bear a direct relation to the amount of injury to the occupants of the vehicle. Sometimes people are seriously hurt and the cars don’t look that bad. Other times the cars can be mangled and the people walk away unhurt.

Because I deal with insurance claims representatives all day, I know the games that they play to try to get out of paying fair compensation to people who are injured in motor vehicle accidents. The insurance claims agents are trained to say “we are not going to pay you much” because the car didn’t look that bad. They are trained to say that “we don’t want to pay too much money” because your client is exaggerating their symptoms and injury. I know when I am dealing with these insurance professionals that part of the company and industry policy is to persuade the public that accidents are something to be made light of and just aren’t that serious. It’s essentially the “stuff happens” defense. Insurance companies forget that we’re talking about real people, with real injuries caused by the fault of someone else not using ordinary care behind the wheel of a vehicle. Maybe I am just sensitive to the issue, but the jock ads make me mad.