After an accident, dealing with insurance companies is stressful. Insurance companies have teams of experienced claims adjusters and lawyers working to defend against your claim. They use all of this experience and their vast resources to "trick" you into doing things that are not in your best interest. Remember, an insurance company wants to limit what they pay out. Their business model is simple. Take in more money than they pay out. And, they aggressively protect what they pay out.
In this video, we describe a tactic that we see from Progressive Insurance. Please know, Progressive Insurance is not the only insurance company that employs this tactic. What Progressive and other insurance companies are trying to accomplish is to get you to sign a release of liability as fast as possible so it limits their future exposure. For example, say you are injured in a car accident that was not your fault. You go to the emergency room and are still in pain. You agree to settle your case for $5,000 with "open" medical bills and the insurance company sends you a release. The insurance release states you agree to settle your claim for $5,000, and the insurance company will pay for medical bills up to $10,000.
Run away as fast as possible and do not sign that release! If you sign the release of liability, you are relinquishing your legal rights.
Let us say your emergency room bill is $8,000. You are in a lot of pain, so you go to a your primary care physician who refers you to an orthopaedic doctor. The orthopaedic doctor starts you with physical therapy, then recommends an MRI. In this scenario alone, without even looking at the noneconomic damages (e.g. pain and suffering, lost enjoyment of life, permanency) that you are passing up by signing the release, you are looking at far more than $10,000 in medical charges already.
Even if you have health insurance that pays for your medical treatment, your injury case is valued on unadjusted charges not what you actually owe. This is called the collateral source rule and it is a constant battle in Tennessee to hold insurance companies accountable to this rule. If you end up with $20,000 in medical charges and you took $5,000 as a settlement, the auto insurance company may not have to pay a dime in medical bills because your health insurance company paid for your medical treatment. But, unfortunately you just settled your case for pennies on the dollar!
The lesson here is when dealing with an insurance company following an injury-accident do not rush into settlement. We offer free consultations for this reason! Let us review your situation so that you at least know what your options are and what is best for you. Not what is best for the big insurance company. Injuries can alter your life forever. Take your time and make sure you have a plan that works for you and your family.