Inevitably I will have clients that make the poor decision to try and work things out with the at fault party's insurance adjuster, thinking the at fault insurance company would "do the right thing."
As I have written in the past on "How Do Insurance Companies Make Money?" & since copyrighted my favorite quote:
"Would you listen to the devil on how to get to Heaven? Then why do you listen to insurance companies on how to settle claims against them?" -Trey Mills
Having only practiced close to seven (7) years doing 100% personal injury, it is hard not to be cynical and disbelieving of anything insurance companies do or say. As an attorney I am held to a higher standard legally and ethically but for some reason the insurance adjuster can dispense false "legal advice" with no consequences. Most times what you say, can not be proven. Always ask for what the insurance adjusters tell you in writing.
Therefore, when the insurance company offers to pay your medical bills at what you paid in co-pays or reduced costs because you are fortunate to have health or supplemental insurance THEY ARE TRYING TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOU.
In South Carolina the law states: The collateral source rule provides "that compensation received by an injured party from a source wholly independent of the wrongdoer will not reduce the damages owed by the wrongdoer." Citizens and S. Natl. Bank of South Carolina v. Gregory, 320 S.C. 90, 92, 463 S.E.2d 317, 318 (1995). A tortfeasor (at fault party) cannot "take advantage of a contract between an injured party and a third person, no matter whether the source of the funds received is `an insurance company, an employer, a family member, or other source.'" Pustaver v. Gooden, 350 S.C. 409, 413, 566 S.E.2d 199, 201 (Ct.App.2002) (citations omitted).
Stop being scammed by the insurance companies and start seeking out legal advice from lawyers. It costs you nothing to sit down and talk with most personal injury lawyers about your issues. Yes, if they take the case it will most times be taken on a contingency fee basis whereby they receive a percentage of the settlement they achieve for you. It's a symbiotic relationship.
Do yourself a favor and ask these two questions before you settle your insurance claim:
- Would you rather have someone working for you, ie attorney, or someone working against you, ie insurance adjuster?
- Do you think the insurance adjuster gets paid a bonus and/or receives a raise at the end of the year for paying out more money on claims, or paying out less money in claims?