I want to share an email that an injured client (“Rhonda”) recently forwarded to me. It was an email that Rhonda was sent by her own car insurance adjuster (“Sandra”) shortly after her injury. In the email, Sandra offered Rhonda advice about obtaining a settlement for Rhonda’s injuries. This is what Sandra recommended: “You will need to contact the insurance company at fault for the accident. Their contact information is………..their claim number is………… You will need to advise him that you were in the car that they struck and you would like to set up a casualty claim. They will assign an adjuster that will help you.”
What’s wrong with this picture? Sandra wasn’t obligated to provide Rhonda with the option of calling a lawyer instead of calling the wrongdoer’s insurance company. However, Sandra misleading stated in her email that Rhonda “will need to” (ie. must) call the wrongdoer’s adjuster to resolve her claim. Sandra also misleadingly stated that the wrongdoer’s adjuster “will help you.” Do any of you believe that the wrongdoer adjuster’s goal is to help you?
Sandra continued in her email: “How the process works: 1. They confirm your injuries (by doing an initial statement with you) 2. They will have you sign a medical release form so they can request our file. 3. Once they have received our file and confirmed your treatments, they will discuss a monetary settlement with you. The settlement is a onetime [sic] sum. It encompasses anything above and beyond what your own policy (me!) covers, wage replacement, transportation or anything that would have been an inconvenience to you as a result of this accident. Please keep in mind that we are a no fault benefit so we are unable to speak with them on your behalf. You do have to proceed with them on your own accord. If you have any questions regarding the above, please do not hesitate to contact my office to discuss further. Warm regards….Sandra.”
Sandra did not mention that Rhonda could claim money for pain and suffering. In fact, she used the word “inconvenience,” a word that Sandra considered a gross understatement, to say the least. Sandra’s email also encouraged a quick settlement. As injured people know, a correct prognosis of serious injuries can rarely be furnished quickly. No medical professional knows initially if injuries will resolve completely or how long it will take for healing to occur. Every injury is different and every person is different. A quick resolution of a serious injury claim is in the best interests of the wrongdoer’s insurance company, not of the injured victim.
Rhonda was very suspicious of Sandra’s “Warm regards” and she called me for my advice….