Personal Injury Attorney Ben Schwartz gives insight into ways insurance adjusters take advantage of injured people after an accident.
Today we are going to talk about three ways unscrupulous insurance company claims adjusters take advantage of injured people after serious accidents. You know I had a conversation with a friend of mine named Tracy just the other day and Tracy was essentially telling me that, you know I do a good number of videos. We put them out on the internet, and I talked about how bad it is dealing with insurance companies. I never highlight any of the good things that insurance companies do, and you know I have been thinking about this. Am I being unfair when I talk about the damage done by unscrupulous insurance companies? I have really been thinking about it and I do not think so.
I think that the general public needs to know how some insurance claims representatives handle things. The general public ought to know some of the pitfalls or some of the traps for the unwary. If you have had an accident, you have become injured and you are dealing with an insurance company before you can get to an attorney. What are some of the things you ought to know about? I do not think that all insurance company people are unscrupulous or unethical but there certainly is a good number of them that do not act in a manner that I consider to be aboveboard or honest.
So today I just want to talk about three things. It is just three things, that sort of come to the top of my mind in this conversation I had with my friend Tracy. Three things, three ways that insurance companies take advantage of people. Hopefully, these are things that you have not fallen victim to. Hopefully, by watching this video or sharing this video with your friends and family, these are things that you and your friends and family will never fall victim to.
All right, so number one, you know in my practice, in my law firm we see a good number of people who come in, who have sustained really server injuries after being injured on the job. You know sustained really server injuries after having an accident on the job and they are coming to us because they are considering making a workers’ comp claim. And when I say considering making a workers’ comp claim, I would have to say maybe eight out of ten cases, our client is really sort of hesitant about making a workers’ comp claim. Because someone on the job has told them, well look if you make a workers’ comp claim you might end up losing your job. You know we do not want a bunch of workers’ comp claims.
Maybe they have a broken leg or a broken back or a broken neck and their boss or their supervisor, you know or someone on the job, is putting pressure on them not to make a claim. Just put it through health insurance, just let short-term disability carry your lost wages. So people come to us and they are really anxious about doing this. Or maybe they have talked to the workers’ comp insurance company and the claims adjuster has intimated that maybe by completing forms and making the claim maybe their job was in peril.
Now I think that in most states in the United States, there is a law in the books called an anti-retaliation law that says that if you make it workers’ comp claim because you are injured on the job, it is illegal for the employer to take adverse action against you. I do workers’ comp claims in the state of Delaware, and I know that we have a law in the books here. I believe in most states, if not all states, there is an anti-retaliation law. So if you have been injured in Delaware, I can tell you that law exists. If you have been injured in another state, get with a workers’ comp attorney in the state, you know where you work, where you were injured and find out what your rights are. That is one thing that insurance claims reps and employees, you know people in the employment of the job, often do or say to try and prevent people from exercising their legal right in making a workers’ comp claim for whatever reason.
Another unscrupulous practice that I have seen quite often is what I would refer to as a sucker settlement. You know you got in a car accident. The at-fault drivers’ insurance claims representative contacts you and they are very friendly, and they are very easy to deal with. They say to you something along the lines of, listen you know, we realize with your injuries, you may not be able to cover the rent or maybe you are not going to be able to afford food to put on the table. Can we give you a check, you know we can give you a check for five hundred dollars or a check for seven hundred and fifty dollars. If you accept that check, you may be waiving all your legal rights against the at-fault driver or against the at-fault party.
In fact, when I started practicing law, one of the local insurance claim offices in the town where I started practicing had a claims representative, her name was Karen. Karen would go out and she would wait at the home of the accident victim and when they came home from the hospital, she would jump out from behind the bushes, and she would have a checkbook and she would lay this spell on them about she is there to help them out. She wants to give him a check, here just sign for it. What these people are signing is a release waiving their rights. I consider this to be completely unethical and completely unscrupulous. If you have been injured in any type of accident you should be aware that some of these insurance companies do this. They send someone out trying to be helpful but what they are really trying to do is get you to waive your rights. So, you never if you have been in an accident, you never want to sign anything for any insurance claims representative unless you have thoroughly reviewed it.
All right here is a third example of how these unethical insurance companies function. I have had more than one case that says a slip and fall case where someone slips and falls in a store, they get severely injured. They ripped up the tendons in their knee or they ripped up their shoulder or they crack their head on the cement on the floor of the store and knock themselves out. Now they have got a concussion or what have you. Okay, this slip and fall case happening in a store or an apartment complex or something like that. The client comes to me, and they say I am really not sure if I want to hire an attorney and go through the process, you know because the store’s insurance company or the apartments insurance company offered me a settlement of five thousand dollars. And I say to them, well you know what you have in the way of medical expenses. Well, I have got five thousand dollars in medical expenses. We contact the insurance company and we come to find out that what they are offering is money from their med pay policy rather than from their liability policy and they are wanting this client to sign away all their legal rights in return for payment under med pay.
Now if you are injured in a store or injured in an apartment complex, you know oftentimes if it is commercial premises, they have got an insurance policy and the insurance policy has two parts, one is med pay, one is liability insurance. Med pay is no-fault insurance coverage that pays your medical bills regardless of who is at fault. Liability insurance is insurance that covers a lawsuit that covers your pain and suffering. It covers other things. If you have a permanent impairment etc., that is where the money comes from if you file a lawsuit based on fault or based on negligence. And what these unscrupulous claims representatives are doing is taking the money that they are required to pay out, it is no-fault insurance. They are required to pay it out and pay it to the medical providers instead of just paying it out the way they are supposed to. They take that money, and they say you know we can give you this money as a settlement, just sign your right to make a claim and then they never have to pay out anything under the liability policy. I consider it to be completely unethical.
You know if that claims representative were your attorney or your doctor or some other professional working for you, they would have an obligation to advise you. This is where the money comes from. We are not doing any favor. We are paying out the money that we would have had to pay out anyways but because they are the adverse party’s insurance company, they do not owe you that obligation in most cases and so they are not going to volunteer anything. If they can get away with murder, they will get away with murder.
So anyways you know this a conversation I had with my friend Tracy. It got me really thinking, just off the top of my head I can think of three ways that insurance claims representatives regularly are trying to take advantage of the people that come to us for representation, and I think it is a bad practice. I think it is something that should stop. Thanks for watching this video. If you have had an unethical or know a dishonest claims representatives take advantage of you, I would be interested in knowing about it. You know tell us your story in the comments to this video or send me an email. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for watching!