New Insurance Company Scam
I’m David Holub, an attorney focusing on personal injury law in northwest Indiana.
Welcome to Personal Injury Primer, where we break down the law into simple terms, provide legal tips, and discuss topics related to personal injury law.
Today’s question comes from a person who called to say her brother was in an auto accident few days ago, and a day after he left the ER the other driver’s insurance company called and offered him $4,000, plus agreed to pay double that in medical bills, if the bills were submitted within 60 days, and all he had to do was sign a release, this all made the caller suspicious and she decided to call an attorney to get some answers.
This caller is very perceptive and quite right to be suspicious.
Whenever an insurance company wants to give you something in exchange for a release, you can bet your last dollar that it is doing it solely for its own financial gain and benefit, not yours.
Think about what the insurance companies accomplishes if it gets an injury victim to sign a release based on the type of offer made to this caller’s brother.
First, it is closing out any potential for a lawsuit within 60 days. The law provides that a party can sue for up to two years in most cases for injuries they have received in a crash or similar circumstance. Why does the law allow for two years? Well, very often it’s difficult to determine the extent of a medical injury within a short period of time like 60 days.
For example, in many auto crashes, it takes a couple of weeks to get an appointment with a family physician. Then once you see that physician, a few more weeks passes before you can get into have an x-ray or MRI image taken. Then you have to go back to the doctor again to have the doctor consult with you and review the screening images to determine treatment protocols.
Before you know it, within a very short time you could be beyond that 60-day time window, and not have a good handle at all on how seriously injured you might be.
Second, by entering such an agreement you cap the amount of money you can ever recover from the insurance company and defendant driver. That again is to the insurance company’s benefit.
For example, in the typical case the amount of money that you can recover for an injury is limited only by what a jury might decide after hearing all of the evidence about your medical condition.
Why would an insurance company want to put a cap or limit on its liability?
Easy answer, because it’s job is to make the most money for the shareholders of the company and to preserve company assets.
Any number of things can go wrong during what may seem like routine medical treatment. A person can develop a life-threatening blood clot for example, that leads to potential serious injury or death.
Sometimes a surgical procedure might at first appear to be a success, but later we find that something about the surgery did not go right.
The other day, for example, a woman called after having back surgery soon after an injury that seemed to be a success, but a short two months later, the hardware implanted near her spine broke and screws came loose, and a new surgery, well beyond 60 days after the crash, had to be performed.
Bottomline, you can bet that the insurance company is not doing you any favors when it tries to get you to sign a release and severely limit the damages that it might be required to pay out on a claim.
If they make such a proposal to you it is always smart to consult an attorney. Most lawyers will be happy to speak with you for free.
I hope you found this information helpful. If you have questions about your legal rights if you get hurt due to the carelessness of another person, or as a result of substandard medical care, or due to a product defect, construction injury, or any other type of personal injury, please give us a call at (219) 736-9700. You can also learn more about us by visiting our website at DavidHolubLaw.com – while there make sure you request a copy of our book “Fighting for Truth”.