DNA Lounge: Wherein I tell an old story that probably I shouldn't.

So here's a funny story. And by "funny" I mean, "so funny that I sometimes have a hard time getting out of bed."

This is an old story, and has nothing to do with our current battles with the government. Or with any other absurd lawsuits we might or might not currently be dealing with. I didn't tell this story back when it happened because there were lawyers involved, and they always advise you to never say anything to anyone. But it's long over now, so now it can be told. I guess.


Several years ago, there was some kind of scuffle and one of our customers who was dancing on the stage fell off and hurt her ankle. She sued us. I'm not sure what exactly her reasoning was, but she did, because this is America, and you can sue anybody for anything. She claimed she had spent $4,000 on medical bills (chiropractors!) and asked for $500,000 in pain and suffering.

We learned in the discovery phase that this woman had also been in three automobile accidents in the previous two years, for which she had been going to chiropractors already. How about that.

We submitted this claim to our insurance company, like you do, and their lawyers handled it. They ended up settling the case by paying her around $11,000. And here's where it gets fun:

Our deductible was $10,000. So the lawyer, who was working for the insurance company, did right by the insurance company. It only cost them $1,000! But he didn't try to negotiate anything lower, because that would have been a waste of his time, since he wasn't working for us, and that was the part we would have to pay. Oh, but it gets better.

It turns out that the fine print on our insurance said, in longwinded, 4-point, incomprehensible legalese, that the rates we had been paying for years were merely "estimates". So after our claim, the insurance company "audited" us, and retroactively raised our rates for the last four years by $20,000 per year. So the fact that we filed a claim at all caused the insurance company to demand an additional $80,000 from us.

At that point, we hired our own lawyer who negotiated that $80,000 down to $40,000, paid out over a year instead of being due immediately. Plus several thousand more for the new lawyer, obviously.

In summary... Customer with a fake injury sues us for half a million dollars. Ends up getting $11k, of which her lawyer probably takes half. We're out almost $60k. Insurance company turns a $40k profit.

What's the lesson here, kids?

I think it's, "people are scum" and/or "never start a business."


I would be remiss were I not to take this opportunity to mention our legal defense fund.