Charles Rehn - Democrat for President 2004

A Conversation With America
Questions That Must Be Answered
Web Edition (c) 2002, 2003 Charles Rehn All Rights Reserved




Lawyers & the Intent of the Law
(Living in a "make me" world)

The only reason I'm addressing this issue is to counter yet another propaganda lie of the Bush Administration and the Republican Party.  I'm sure that lawyers can take care of themselves.  But that's not the real issue here.

The real issue here is about political smears. In this case, it's comprised of 3 separate components:

1) Damage the reputation of attorneys

2) Target John Edwards

3) Promote the erroneous idea that Democrats are in favor of a litigious society

The Election of 2000, all by itself, proves the hypocrisy of these tactics.  When Al Gore legitimately asked for a recount of votes in Florida, the first thing that happened is that the Republicans enlisted leagues of lawyers to block it.

When the Federal Election laws were changed to limit "soft-money" contributions, George Bush signed the new legislation with full knowledge that lawyers would be engaged to battle the attempt to make elections fair by challenging its constitutionality.

Personally, I believe the only free speech issues in an election are those that equalize the ability of candidates to address voters, as well as ensuring the free speech of citizens in assessing the will of the people.

They say John Edwards made his money as an ambulance chaser, as a personal injury lawyer.

They say that health care costs and our health system as a whole is being damaged by lawyers.

Latest statistics show that more than 50% of denied health care claims filed by consumers are overturned through litigation, arbitration or basic appeal processes.   The statistics also show that 25% of Americans feel no remorse about filing false claims.

The role of an insurance company is NOT to provide health benefits to people.  It is to make a profit, and reducing expenses by NOT paying claims and providing services.

The statistics are an indication of two conditions.  The first, the denial of benefit payments, is clearly based on a practice of disallowing benefits for profits.   It is not unusual to find that insurance companies, as a matter of policy, deny services in hopes that consumers will give up and pay out of their pockets instead.

The second statistic, the 25% of Americans who file false claims, is a statement of contempt for their benefit providers, and not a simple matter of trying to cheat the system.  We have been trained, by our leaders and unethical business practices, that the bottom line is about getting what you can, regardless of ethics or justice.

It's part of the pattern of a "make me" world.

It's the same world that has Corporate CEO's defraud investors and the corporations themselves, because the penalties are less than the profits reaped by unlawful and unethical activities. 

It's the same "make me" world that has polluters justify their crimes and harm people because it's less expensive to pay fines than to be responsible for their activities.

It's the same "make me" world that has companies conducting corporate espionage and sabotage, as well as monopolist practices, because the penalties are less than the profit, and because gaining marketshare is worth much more in the long run than the penalties.

According to the stance of the Bush Administration, lawyers are great for Republican politicians and corporations, but demons when they use their skills to defend the rights of victims and citizens' rights.

This "have your cake and eat it too" propaganda campaign is nothing more than another attempt to manipulate you into believing that the Democrats support a corrupt regime of lawyers, and forget that these lawyers protect you from those who would cheat and harm you.

I could tell you a number of stories dealing with this issue, but I'll focus on this one, which is about my attempts to deal with a situation without a lawyer.

I believe it was in 1998 that I was sitting in a borrowed car at a stop light, patiently awaiting the light to turn green when all of a sudden another car slammed into the back of the car at about 50 miles per hour. 

The vehicle I was in had only about $1200 in damages. The vehicle that hit me was nearly totaled. As reported by the police, there was no question that the other driver was at fault.

In the process, though, I injured my right shoulder.  Initial tests indicated that I had suffered a torn rotator cuff, which would have cost in excess of $10,000 for the surgery, rehabilitation and drug prescriptions. 

At that time, I was involved in a work situation that required a great deal of my time.   If it had been a case where only my work would have been affected, I would have pursued immediate treatment.  But, other people's futures were directly at risk.

So, I got a preliminary medical examination, one by my general practitioner, another by a specialist.  My personal insurance would not cover the expenses because the liability was that of the driver of the other car and A Major Insurance Carrier in College Park, Maryland.  The coverage of the vehicle I was driving was limited to less than $1500. In Maryland, they have a law that allows for medical liens in such cases, but the medical providers in the area would not perform surgery or such expensive services unless a provider was identified who would absolutely take responsibility for the debt.

I called the insurance company and told them my situation.  I assured them that I was not interested in anything more than the medical expenses being paid.  They sent me some forms, which I filled out and returned to them. Twice. And then I waited for their response.

Time after time I called them, and time after time (a matter of months) they told me I had to fill out the same forms again.  So I complied.  Finally, when I was tired of calling them and filling out forms to no avail, I decided I would call an attorney.   But, a friend volunteered to call them on my behalf and see if they could help to resolve the situation.

The insurance company's response was to have the field agent scream at my friend that they were lying, and an accomplice in fraud by calling them.  Then, an attorney called my home, and screamed at me, using a great deal of profanity, that I was a liar, that I was committing fraud, and that he'd see my f-ing ass in jail.

I called an attorney.  The bottom line:  that the months I had waited, attempting to resolve the matter without legal representation, would make it appear to the courts that my claim was a fraud.  Bottom line number two: The insurance company knew that if they stretched it out, that any attorney I hired would have the same opinion. I called many attorneys, and received the same response.

If I'd had the cash in hand, I would have gone ahead with the surgery, and I would have sued Allstate for the damages, with pain and suffering as part of the suit. As it stands, they won, and I have not had the surgery I needed.

We live in a make me world.  If I'm ever in a similar situation again, I will hire an attorney immediately, and seek all the possible damages I can legally get.  That's the system that has been created by companies whose interest is in seeking means to deny claims.  It's an irresponsible practice, used in many industries,  that leads to the litigious culture that has evolved.

Now you may say I was foolish in the first place.  Personally, I thought I was doing the right thing to try to resolve it amicably, as well as to "save the system" from unnecessary legal fees and "punitive" payouts.  I believed it was a simple situation, and that they would respect my integrity.  I was clearly wrong.  It was clearly their policy to get out of taking responsibility any way they could.

The moral of the story is simple as well: don't blame the attorneys for defending the rights of citizens. Thank God someone does. And they deserve to get paid, too.  If these companies would live up to their responsibilities in a fair manner in the first place, and respect the intent of the law, attorneys would not be required for such things in the first place. The same could easily be said not just of health care, but of companies that pollute and refuse to clean it up and hundreds of other examples.

I'll have more to say on this matter on a variety of issues and situations.


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(C) 2002,2003-2009 Charles Rehn Jr IV  All rights reserved