Have You Hired An Attorney?
You receive a letter from what looks like your insurance carrier. It has their logo up top on the letterhead and looks official. The letter comes to you roughly thirty days after incurring medical care for an injury caused by a negligent driver. Along with the letter is a questionnaire that you are asked to fill out and return.
The letter begins…
We have learned that you may have been in an accident, or had an injury. Your health care plan, has asked us to obtain more information about your medical treatment received.
Please call us to discuss it. You may also answer the question on the back of this letter. Please return it to us in the enclosed envelope.
It is important that you fill the form out and return it to us within 10 days.
Thank you for your help.
But the letter ends with the name of a different company. And under the name it states, “on behalf of” your insurance company.
Then the form included has questions that they want you to answer.
Was the medical treatment the result of an injury?
If you answered no, please tell us why you had treatment.
Actual date of injury
Was this a car accident?
Were you hurt while working?
Were you hurt on someone else’s property?
Name of family members of members of household in accident
Please describe what happened. Please provide a copy of any accident reports: (police reports, insurance claims, etc.)
Please provide the location of the accident:
Name, address and phone number of other person(s) or property owner involved:
Name, address and phone number of other person(s) or property owner’s insurance company:
Insurance company contact information and policy/claim number for you or a family member:
If you have hired an attorney, please list their name, address and phone number:
If you have received any money because of this injury, please list who paid you and the amount you were paid:
Then the form states in big bold letters…
THE ABOVE INFORMATION IS TRUE AND CORRECT TO THE BEST OF MY KNOWLEDGE
And then it asks for your signature, date, address and phone number.
Notice how in the form they ask if you have hired an attorney? Well, I would actually encourage you to do so if you haven’t hired one and to pick up the phone before filling out the form.
The letter and questionnaire you received is from a 3rd party auditing firm that has been hired to collect information from you to help the insurance carrier determine whether they need to go after another party, settle or fight.
If you fill out the form without consulting with your legal counsel, you could be causing harm to your claim. These forms, when filled out, will end up being forwarded to an adjuster whose job it is to lower or dismiss altogether the amount of payout from their employer the Insurance Company, or to recoup money for their employer under the doctrine of subrogation.
Exercise Caution When Speaking With Or Answering Letters From an Insurance Company
There are two types of insurance adjusters that most people who are involved in automobile accidents will encounter after a collision: The ones who are against you, and the ones who are really, really, really against you. But most importantly, you will never deal with an insurance adjuster who is for you or on your side following a collision. Why is this? Because adjusters, whether hired by your own insurance carrier, or the insurance carrier for the other driver, both have a goal, and that goal is to serve their employers and save them money.
They will want to get “your statement” as to how the accident happened. They will want to know who is at fault, who was hurt, and who wasn’t. The important thing to remember is to wary, and to politely decline to comply with these requests for information without first consulting counsel, or being certain that you are contractually required to provide such information. When in doubt simply give them the name and number of your attorney. If you don’t have an attorney, then tell them you intend to contact one and then hang up. Under no circumstances should you give them statements about what happened, or sign authorizations for them to speak with your doctor, or your employer, etc., without first considering the situation carefully, and consulting an attorney if you are unsure about how to proceed.
Just remember in most cases, unless a benefit/insurance contract you are a party to requires it, you have no obligation to cooperate with these types of adjusters and ought to consider them as your adversary. Anything you say or do can and will be used against you if your injuries prove to be substantial and a lawsuit must be filed.
The Law Offices of David W. Holub is a personal injury law firm located in Merrillville, Indiana, focused on providing efficient and effective client-centered representation. Our mission is to provide top quality legal representation, which includes an uncompromising pursuit of our client’s legal interests, while being accessible and attentive to our clients during times of personal challenge.
To speak with one of our attorneys or to set up a consultation regarding your claim call +1 (219) 736-9700 today.