Insurance companies “tricks of the trade.”
I am seeing a number of new personal injury clients who inform me that prior to hiring a lawyer, clear out of the blue, the insurance company is sending them a settlement check and a release to sign. The amounts fall between $500 and $1,000. For the unwary, that seems like some quick and easy money. However, once you sign on the dotted line, you are settling your case forever. If you continue to treat with a doctor, incur other medical bills, find out down the road you need surgery or have a permanent injury, you will have given your case away for peanuts; that is exactly what the insurance company is counting on, that you will be enticed with a quick settlement, sign off and not run to an injury lawyer. Ad upon ad on television from personal injury lawyers, warns about being taken advantage by the insurance company into a quick settlement.
What amazes me is that the insurance companies have the nerve to go ahead and send a settlement check and release without the injured party agreeing to settle or having any idea why the insurance company is sending a check. The unsuspecting injured party may think it is a check for the damage to their car, or to help pay their medical bills. While there may be concerns about money at the early stages of the accident case, you cannot be tempted by this snake oil tactic used by insurance companies for an injured party to basically give their case away. There is nothing any lawyer can do to help you once you accept that check and sign off on the release. Do the right thing and either rip it up and throw it in the garbage, or politely simply mail it right back to the insurance company with a note that says, “thanks, but no thanks.”
In a series of forthcoming blogs, I will also be discussing some other hard tactics insurance companies are using recently to be hard on injured parties and to force them to consider settling the case as opposed to hiring a lawyer and pursuing it or starting a lawsuit. If you have had a similar experience with an insurance company on your injury claim, I would like to hear from you about it. You can post your note or reply here.