Our advice on to how to work with insurance companies is very simple:
DON'T DO IT!!!
1) Dealing With The Other Parties' Insurance Companies:
Concerning the OTHER parties' insurance adjusters, no matter WHAT they tell you, you have absolutely NO legal obligation to cooperate with them, fill out their forms, give them a statement or even TALK to them for any reason whatsoever! In fact, we STRONGLY advise that you not speak with them at all. It is usually a mistake to do so.
If they call you before you call us, tell them you are about to call Ellis Law and you do NOT wish to speak to them. They may then try everything possible to get you to talk, including threatening not to pay on your claim, scaring you into thinking you will lose your rights, etc., but do not be fooled. These are lies!
If you wish, you can get forceful with them and tell them you read on Ellis Law's website that you have no obligation to cooperate with them, and that you will NOT do so. If they continue to push you, which they should not do out of respect for your injured condition, hang up! Then, call us immediately and from that point forward, you will never hear from them again.
Why should you not deal with them? In spite of what their advertising tries to make the public believe, insurance companies are not some benevolent, charitable entity that exist to take care of accident victims, look out for their needs, and pay them for their injuries or other damages. They are corporations that exist SOLELY to make a PROFIT, in order to keep their high-paid top executives and their shareholders happy!
Thus, it is no surprise to learn that insurance adjusters are trained and paid to SAVE THEIR COMPANY MONEY! They do so by approaching unknowing, often vulnerable injury victims, and asking questions and obtaining statements designed to harm or destroy the victims' chances of recovering the money they deserve for their injuries.
The adjusters know the law. You do not! They know what evidence the law requires for their company to avoid paying full compensation to you, and they know what questions to ask and what answers to obtain from you to provide their company with the evidence it needs to defeat your claim! Call Ellis Law BEFORE you give away your legal rights forever!
2) Settlement Offers From The Insurance Companies:
Sometimes the adjusters will even offer you money in exchange for signing a release of all future claims. Rest assured, they are NOT offering you the full value of your claim. If they were, they would not have a job! The insurance adjuster's job is NOT to give you full and fair compensation. The adjuster's job is to save money for his or her employer for job security, and to make sure there is plenty of money left over to go around at company bonus time!
Think about this. If the insurance company was going to AUTOMATICALLY pay injury victims the FULL value of their injuries, there would be no need for adjusters. The company would just need bookkeepers to write checks to all injury victims for the full value of their claims!
The adjusters' position EXISTS because the insurance company needs someone who is trained to save the company money, by paying victims like you much less than full value! The adjusters' job is to "adjust" the claim DOWNWARD and close it out before the victims gets to an injury attorney who knows the TRUE value of the case. That is how the company makes a profit and stays in business.
Ellis Law's experienced accident attorneys will even the playing field — since we are trained on how to fight for YOU, and we know from experience how to insure that you receive the FULL amount of money you are entitled to.
3) Handling Auto Damage Or Personal Property Damage Claims:
Some law firms make the property damage claim part of the personal injury claim, and thereby justify charging the 33 1/3 percent standard personal injury contingent fee to the property damage settlement money too. We do not believe in doing this. We do not feel we should take a fee on money that you need to get a new car, or to replace your damaged personal items. Plus, the property damage claim is so simple it is something most people can handle on their own without the need for a lawyer, so why should we charge you to do something you can readily do on your own?
However, this does not mean that we abandon you. When you hire Ellis Law, we make sure your personal injury rights are protected, while guiding you through the process of obtaining money for your property damage, FREE OF CHARGE.
4) Dealing With The No-Fault Insurance Company:
You have already been advised that it is very dangerous for your case for you to be dealing with the other party's insurance company. We must stress how important it is that you not speak with them for any reason.
However, in an auto accident case, you do have a duty to cooperate with the no-fault insurance company in order to obtain benefits for your medical bills, lost income, etc. We recommend that you talk to us first so we can assist you in filling out applications, medical forms, lost wage or disability forms, and any other forms that are needed. If the no-fault company insists on taking a statement from you or sending you to one of "their" doctors for an examination, which they are entitled to do, we will patiently guide you through those steps too.
Unfortunately, even if the no-fault company is your own insurance company, they may still not have your best interests at heart. Thus, you must proceed cautiously, since they may attempt to find ways to deny or limit your no-fault benefits as your treatment progresses. Remember, even if they are your OWN insurance company, their primary goal is to make a profit! It is important that you have an experienced car accident law firm like Ellis Law protecting you in dealing with no fault and indeed, throughout the course of your medical and lost wage claims.
Sometimes the entire no-fault process can be confusing and even intimidating, but do not worry. We will gladly walk you through the process step by step, and answer any questions you may have as your no-fault claim progresses. Rest assured, if you hire the auto accident lawyers at Ellis Law, we will give you guidance throughout your no-fault claim about what to do and how to do it, FREE OF CHARGE.
Some of the things that need to be addressed in a typical no-fault claim are listed below.
a) A no-fault application must be filed WITHIN THIRTY (30) DAYS of the accident date! Failure to do so may result in a denial of all no-fault benefits. This is why it is extremely important that you contact us right away.
Also, you must be VERY careful about how you fill out the no-fault application. The way you describe your injuries and how the accident happened can both be used against you in your personal injury claim. If you hire the car accident lawyers at Ellis Law, we will gladly file this application for you free of charge to insure your rights are protected.
b) All of your medical bills must be submitted to the no-fault company in a timely fashion by either you or your doctor. Failing to submit them on time could result in a denial of payment and leave you liable for hundreds or thousands of dollars in medical charges. We will explain more about this process as your case progresses. If your medical treatment costs exceed the amount of available no-fault coverage, we will fight with the party-at-fault's insurance company to get you money to pay those charges.
c) For your lost wage claim, your employer will need to fill out forms proving you are missing time from work and the amount of your lost income. Also, your doctor will need to fill out forms verifying that you are being kept out of work due to your injuries. If these are not handled properly, your lost wage claim may be denied. Also, because lost wage claims have a limit, your no-fault payments may leave you with a lot less income than you normally bring home. If that happens, we will fight with the party-at-fault's insurance company to recover that excess lost income for you.
d) You may be entitled to additional money (up to a limit) from no fault for reasonable and necessary expenses you incur because of your accident, such as travel costs, or the cost of hiring household help for duties that your doctor says you can no longer perform due to your injuries. You will need to submit proof of the need for such help from your doctor, and bills from the person helping you, in a timely fashion. Of course, we will guide you through this process like we do with all other matters related to your no-fault claim.
e) Eventually, under New York State law, you will likely have to submit to one or more "Independent" Medical Examinations. We have placed the word "independent" in quotation marks for a reason. These examinations are performed by doctors who are paid by the no-fault insurance company! The exams are designed to determine if you continue to need medical treatment.
Although these exams are called "independent," the doctors performing them are hired to perform dozens or even hundreds of these exams each year for the insurance company. Unfortunately, many times these exams result in a reduction in or outright denial of all payments for future treatment. The automobile accident lawyers at Ellis Law will prepare you for what to expect at these exams, and will explain what your rights are if they lead to a no-fault denial.
f) There are other factors involved in your no-fault claim, which we will gladly discuss with you as your case proceeds.
While all of the foregoing may sound complicated and seem difficult to deal with, especially in light of your injuries, you have nothing to be concerned about if you decide to hire us to represent you. We are here to guide you with care and patience and as your lawyers, we will be happy to do so.