The insurance companies are now doing something which, if you cooperate with them, will almost certainly reduce the value of your claim. This may even be a significant reduction.
The insurance adjuster learns of your involvement in an accident with one of their insureds. They call you immediately. They discuss the damage to your vehicle. This is appropriate and you can make arrangements to get your car fixed or have a total loss paid for.
In the course of that conversation, they ask if you have been injured and if you have been to the emergency room or seen a doctor. No matter what your answer, they ask about your plans for future care.
It is not uncommon for someone who has been in an accident to not think their injuries are going to need much care. So the injured person tells the adjuster that they are unsure about future care.
The adjuster then offers to pay for any emergency treatment, agrees to pay for a minimal amount of additional care, such as one visit with a doctor or a short period of therapy, plus a small amount of money. If the injured party agrees to accept the money, then the adjuster asks for the agreement to be recorded.
THE RECORDED AGREEMENT AMOUNTS TO AN ENFORCEABLE SETTLEMENT!
There is something in the law called the Statue of Frauds. This statute says that certain contracts must be in writing in order to be enforceable. Those contracts are listed specifically. An agreement to settle your claim is NOT included in the Statute of Limitations, so it need not be in writing.
What often happens is that an injured person’s injuries persist. They wind up going to a doctor who prescribes physical therapy or they go to a chiropractor. The person goes through with the recommended care, which can cost many thousands of dollars. However, the claim to get this needed care included in the claim is now barred by the oral settlement agreement.
The injured person winds up getting much less than the value of their injury claim.
The reason the insurance companies are doing this is because they know from experience that the claim is likely to be worth much more than their initial offer. In my opinion, the insurance adjuster and their company know that they are underpaying the claim and are not paying what they could reasonably expect the claim to be worth.
DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU! Call me before you accept this kind of payment. For sure do not let your conversation be recorded until after you consult with me.
Remember, I do not charge for an initial consultation and I don’t believe that any other attorney who regularly handles injury claim does. Spend some time with me before you accept any money from the adjuster. I will not twist your arm to get you to hire me. I will honestly advise you. If you hire me you will be glad you did.