Why go to court for something that's covered by insurance?
News Service Jan. 27, 2012, 7:30am
So, what's the point of having car insurance?
That's the question we ask ourselves every time we hear about another person filing a lawsuit over an automobile accident.
The latest example, as reported in last week's edition of The West Virginia Record, involves Angela Bennett, who is suing the West Virginia Department of Transportation in hopes of winning compensatory damages for injuries sustained in a collision two years ago.
Bennett was driving on Route 92 near Greenbrier County on Dec. 14, 2009, when a DOT dump truck going in the opposite direction allegedly crossed the center line and struck her vehicle.
Two years later, on the second anniversary of the accident, Bennett filed suit in Kanawha Circuit Court.
Maybe we're missing something here, but the whole idea of compulsory car insurance is to make sure that a person who suffers injury or damages in an automobile accident is properly compensated by the person responsible.
Granted, there may be a dispute as to who the responsible party is, how great is the extent of the victim's loss, and what extenuating or aggravating circumstances may be involved. But, still, compensation for a car crash is something that ordinarily is settled outside of court.
Assuming that the DOT truck driver was responsible for the accident and that Bennett's injury claims were uncontested, whatever policy covers state employees under such circumstances should have provided appropriate compensation for her.
Did Bennett not accept an insurance settlement? Or, is she going to the well again?
For the ethically challenged, this may be a tough temptation to resist, especially in lean times. For the rest of us, it's a shameful waste of scarce state resources -– the cost of the trial, the cost of the award (if any), the cost of copycat cases, etc.
Our tax dollars finance these farces. This is money out of our pockets, and there's simply no excuse for it.
The point of car insurance is to cover losses of the injured and not to be the first of a two step process of turning a collision into a profit maker.