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Insurance Claim Game: 10 Tips to Follow

I hate to reveal the secrets of personal injury litigation that help me reduce my student loan debt and feed the families of my staff.  However, I was given a second chance at life for a reason and that reason could be to educate you on not getting screwed by your insurance company or an at fault party’s insurance company.

As with any legal endeavor the most important factors are the facts and circumstances surrounding the issue, or problem. Each case is different and there is no universal answer for every case. These are the most basic rules I could think of without leading you astray.

  1. Liability/Contributor to Negligence– Who? What? Where? When? and How Many?  are questions you need to identify in regards to how you incurred the damages, either personal or property, with your claim.
  2. James K. Ferrellof the Memphis Injury Law Blog gives a great 10 Step Guideline to follow after an automobile accident. No need for me to recreate the wheel. I would just replace #10 with “Call Me”.
  3. Ken Dolan of Dolans.comhas an article entitled “How to Win the Claim Game” for property claim tips.
  4. Pictures are worth a 1,000 words– take them of the area in question, pot holecar wreckbroken porchmalfunctioning productdog biting you, etc.
  5. Devil is in the Details– Do not, I repeat, DO NOT trust what insurance claims adjusters tellyouInsurance adjusters work for the insurance company. DING, DING, DING. That means they are not looking out for your interest but their employer’s interest.
  6. Yesterday, I had a client come in that had been in a rear end collision and he went to visit with the Farm Bureauadjuster for that at fault driver. The Farm Bureau adjuster offered the gentleman a check for $215.00 for ALL CLAIMS arising out of the accident.  My client was savvy enough to realize that his car alone may have more damage than $215.00 much less the Emergency Room visit, several follow up appointments with his family care doctor, and the MRI that he was sent for in regards to his neck pain.
  7. Another time, I had a client hit while exiting a school bus. The Nationwide Adjusterwas looking for his parents that night and offered them $700.00 to settle his claim. My client had just gotten back from the ER and referred to an orthopedist for his leg.  I ended up getting them more than $10,000.00.
  8. Why do insurance adjustersdo this? If they can get you to take a check for $215.00 now before you realize the true extent of your injuries they just saved their company tens of thousands of dollars. 
  9. Once you sign the adjuster’s form you have just signed your rights away against the at fault party. Read my Can You Read? article.

Consult Someone that Does this for a Living– don’t ask your friend, mama, daddy, boss man, insurance adjuster for the insurance company, or Joe the Plumber. Ask someone that handles these type of cases. Reference my Do I need a Doctor, Lawyer, or Preacher articles.
a.    When I needed to remodel my foreclosure home, I called a contractor.
b.    When my Tahoe breaks down, I call a mechanic.
c.    When I hurt my arm in a wreck, I consulted a doctor.
d.    When my tooth hurts, I go to the dentist.

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Personal Injury Protection (PIP), Medical Payments Insurance

P.I.P, or Personal Injury Protection/Medical Payments, insurance coverage is not well known or well publicized.  This type of insurance coverage can play a crucial role if you or someone you love is involved in an automobile wreck.  The most advantageous element of this coverage is the “no-fault” aspect.

  • C. Code Ann. § 38-77-144indicates that PIP coverage is not mandated but if an insurer sells no-fault insurance coverage which provides personal injury protection, medical payment coverage, or economic loss coverage, the coverage shall not be assigned or subrogated and is not subject to a setoff.
  • What does all this mean?  Insurance is just that- insuring against a potential risk.  As I mentioned in my “Full Coverage”article, you get what you pay for.
  • PIP is optional insurance coverage and is relatively inexpensive.
  • PIP covers you and the other occupants in your car that have your permission to be there.
  • If you cause the wreck, you still have coverage.
  • If you did not cause the wreck, you still have coverage IN ADDITIONto any personal injury claims that may arise.

G.I. Joe always helped information sink in when they parted by stating,“Knowing is half the battle!”

Tell your insurance agent you want PIP/h.Medical Payments coverage on your insurance policy-today.

DISCLAIMER: I do not get kickbacks from insurance agents! However, if you have been injured, I can not go after coverage that you never had to begin wit

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South Carolina Insurance Scheme Uncovered

Andy Paras with “The Post and Courier”, reported on an insurance scheme that was uncovered in Colleton County.  It appears the same group of people were reporting similar incidents in the same area.  As the article indicated,

“ The scheme was relatively simple: Run an older car into a tree and claim that someone or something ran you off, then say a bunch of your friends and relatives were injured while in the car with you in order to claim more money, court records show.”

I am happy to see that some bad apples were caught so as not to spoil the whole bunch, compunctum cito corrumpit sibi junctum.

It is important to remember that if you are in a wreck, the more details, proof, or evidence you can present, the better able both your attorney and the potential at fault driver’s insurance company will be able to assist you. Some helpful tips from someone that has settled, taken to trial, and/or mediated hundreds of wreck cases:

  1. Keep a camera, disposable or digital, in your car!  If something bad happens take as many pictures as you can of the accident site, property damage (both visible and not readily visible[frame] of all cars or things involved), skid marks, witnesses, at fault driver, posted speed signs or traffic signals.  You can buy disposable cameras for less than $2.
  2. Take down any witnesses contact information and DO NOTassume that the highway patrolman or investigating officer has gotten that information.  (People do lie, sorry to break the bad news).
  3. The accident report you are given can not be usedin the courts of South Carolina as proof that it is the other driver’s fault, as indicated on the accident report.  Do not depend on this one sheet of paper to prove the other person was at fault. (Take a look at Article IV of our Evidentiary Rules to see what else the jury will never hear about in court).
  4. Are you really taken care of if the at fault driver has no insurance or minimum insurance? Read my article on “Full Coverage”.
  5. MIST-Minor Impact Soft Tissue is an acronym some insurance companies use (Allstate) to try and minimize their financial impact and publicize a subconscious thought of an unproven theory.  Their theory is that the correlation of property damage is relative to personal injury.  WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!  Read this article entitled “Low Impact Injury Accidents”.

You would not go to “Joe the Plumber” to get your car fixed?  Think long and hard before just consulting with the at fault driver’s insurance company that makes money when they get you to settle for less money than your case is worth.  Consult a personal injury attorney, the CONSULTATION IS FREE!

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Workers Compensation Lawyers in Anderson, SC

When Do I Hire an Attorney vs. Handling It Myself?

Through various avenues and referral sources, I often times get some interesting questions about “potential” cases. Lately, I have been looking over my shoulder for the hidden camera or wondering which one of my friends is playing a joke on me. I’m not sure it’s a result of our litigous nature, the dying art of customer service, or people just dont have time to properly deal with issues that arise.

 

So ask yourself these 3 questions to determine if you need a lawyer.

 

1) Are you dealing with an insurance company or adjuster?

YES, you need a lawyer. Insurance companies make money off of the money they don’t pay out in claims. You obviously have a claim and they want to minimize the payout to you regardless of how nice they may initially seem.

-Just ask yourself this: “Would you listen to the devil on how to get to Heaven? Then why would you listen to the insurance adjuster about how to settle a claim against them?”–Trey Mills

 

2) Are you dealing with a rude employee, disgruntled employee, or frontline of a company?

Probably Not. You need to make sure you document whatever the situation may be. Then reach out to the next level of management or ownership. If the wrong, or negligent act, that has been committed on you is not addressed by the next level of management or ownership then you need to determine the damages you have incurred.If those damages are simply hurt feelings and/or pride you don’t need a lawyer. If those damages are monetary and amount to more than a few thousand dollars then you may need a lawyer. If those damages are less than a few thousand dollars you may have alternative routes such as Magistrate Court, or Small Claims court. (Charleston County has online FAQs) You do not need a lawyer to represent you in Magistrate Court in South Carolina, or most states. Think Judge Judy but less dramatic, not on television, and not as timely.

 

3) Are you trying to pursue a wrong from a company or person that has no assets, money, or insurance because “it just ain’t right?” 

Probably not. You have certainly heard of the term, “You can’t get blood out of a turnip.” If not click on the previous link and don’t tell anyone you didnt know that. When I question the viability of a case or know that there is little to be gained from it, I request a retainer fee. That fee may very depending upon the case but it is usually at least $5,000.00. Are you willing to spend that much money to pursue your case? If not, then you don’t need a lawyer.

When you have performed this quick 3 step analysis and determined you need a lawyer, reach out to one. We don’t bite.

We represent clients  that have been injured at work, in wrecks, dog bites, slip and falls, nursing home abuse cases, and product liability claims arising out of South Carolina and Georgia.  Call us toll free at 1-800-483-0880, contact us on Facebook, Twitter, or just stop by. We offer free consultations to determine if we can assist with your legal needs.

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