Should I Notify The Other Party’s Insurance About An Accident?
You are much better off letting an attorney handle all communications with the other party’s insurance company. Remember, as I am not a witness to the accident, I can feel free to say whatever needs be said and convey the necessary information.
What Happens If The Other Driver Is Uninsured?
Oftentimes, when talking to your own insurance company you feel comfortable because you think they are on your side. This is not necessarily true, especially when the other driver is uninsured.
There is a portion of your insurance policy dealing with “uninsured motorist coverage.” What it essentially says is that if someone hits me that either doesn’t have insurance or enough insurance to cover the accident, then “your” insurance company will pay you for the damages. However, in order to obtain this damages award, you have to prove to your own insurance company that the other driver, and not you, was at fault. In other words, you will have to obtain all of the evidence and prove to your own insurance company that you were not at fault for the accident.
For example, let’s say that I have auto insurance with a company that uses a lizard for a mascot. As soon as the accident happens, I call up “The Lizard” and tell them about the accident. But because the other driver is uninsured, simply reporting your claim to “The Lizard” is not enough. Because of the “uninsured motorist coverage” portion of your policy, “The Lizard” will now essentially take the role of the other driver’s insurance company, and therefore use any information you give to them to build up a case against you!
Many people will tell me, “Mr. Balke, I don’t want to sue my own insurance company.” I say to them, “Well, this is a portion of a policy that you bought and paid for and that you’ve been paying for all along.” To not use it would be kind of like going to Wal-Mart and buying a television, and paying a little extra for a guaranteed replacement warranty. Then, when you get home and find out that the television doesn’t work, you say, “Wal-Mart, I know I paid extra for the guaranteed replacement, but I think you need that money more than I need a new television.” Would Wal-Mart care if you do that? No. Same way with “The Lizard” people. That is ridiculous because you paid for the chance that this might happen. You’ve been paying for it all along, so why wouldn’t you use it now that you need it?
Uninsured motorist cases are often fly-under-the-radar type of cases. Even other attorneys may not realize what the uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist portion of the policy means. These portions of the policy say—and almost all policies are the same—that if you are in an accident, we, the insurance company, will pretend to be the other driver. A friend of mine had a case once where the person hurt was a patent attorney, and he had a large uninsured motorist policy with the “Good Hands.”
As the patent attorney got off the train (patent attorneys always take the train), he was struck by a hit-and-run driver. His leg was broken right near the knee. The attorney was stunned. He tried to get the license plate of the car that hit him while he was still lying on the ground. He tried to conduct his own investigation but never did find out who hit him. Well, a year-and-a-half later, he finally came around to meeting with a personal injury attorney. You only have two years to file this uninsured motorist claim, so his time was running out.
The “Good Hands” people never mentioned to the patent attorney that he had an uninsured motorist claim and that he was going to be forever barred from receiving a damages award if he waited more than two years to assert his claim. The “Good Hands” did not care about him or about anybody. (This is why people working at insurance companies are often miserable.) This is part of their psychological game. They make you feel that filing a claim is wrong, and you shouldn’t do that. But the “Good Hands” will sue anybody at any time for anything without a second thought. They will even sue people without insurance.
All personal injury cases are about insurance money; it is never about going after another person to get their personal assets because that does not work. The consummate example of this is the O. J. Simpson civil verdict. O. J. ended up losing the civil trial brought by the Goldman family. However, O. J. avoided the multi-million dollar verdict simply by moving to Florida.
The point is, is that anytime there is a personal injury case, it is really the personal injury attorney versus the insurance company. It is not personal for the insurance company, even if it is for you. Anytime you go to a courthouse as a juror, and you sit on a personal injury case, believe me, it is all about the insurance money. You will not hear that because it is something that the parties are not allowed to talk about. Insurance companies don’t care who is on the other side and will sue anybody for anything at any time but will turn around and tell you through various media outlets that if you sue, you are a bad person for doing so.
Almost every single person I meet with says to me, “Mr. Balke, I really didn’t want to do this. I really didn’t want to come to see you, but they left me no choice.” They—the insurance companies–do not care about you. They just hope that the marketing works and that you care about them: like a good neighbor. You are in good hands. We are American and we are your “family,” so you would not do anything against us, would you? Look at our cute little lizard. These are some of the psychological tactics that they use against you.
For more information on Interaction With Insurance Companies In IL, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (815) 495-5598 today.
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