In a recent bike ride up to nearby Mount Weather, Doug Landau was reminded of advice he gives his injured and disabled clients: “Pretend that the insurance company has the drones of God!”
In other words, your mindset should be that as soon as the insurance company gets word of the potential claim, they could be watching your every move! Lawyer Landau adds, “If you tell the truth, then that will prevent problems from arising later on in the case. Also, sharing your pre-injury health history, work history and claims history will enable us to represent you more successfully.”
While most Abrams Landau law clients take this advice to heart and do a great job at filling us in to prior accidents, injuries, bankruptcies, lawsuits and other things that may pop up on the insurance companies radar, every so often a client “neglects” to tell us about some important prior event, or fails to remember a prior lawsuit, major crash, significant injuries or medical care. When this happens, it creates all sorts of problems for the case. Defense lawyers claim that the injured victim is not credible, maybe guilty of perjury—which is a felony in prison for which someone can be put in jail for more than a year—or that they are committing “insurance fraud.”
One of the things injured victims find hard to believe is that the unsafe defendant’s insurance company has “indexed” them even before they ever thought of bringing a claim or hired a lawyer. In other words, as soon as an accident is reported, the insurance adjuster or claims investigator has gone into the network to come up with the injured victim’s: claims history, lawsuits, criminal record, bankruptcies, and other litigation in order to find “dirt” on them to use later. This happens automatically.
When the defendant has no insurance or has less insurance than the injured victim, the victim’s own insurance company will do the same thing in order to have facts to use against the very person who is paying the premiums.
In several cases that the Abrams Landau law team is going to go to trial in 2021, Doug Landau’s clients have been offered the full policy limits from the unsafe driver’s liability insurance coverage, but their own insurance company is unwilling to reimburse them for all of their harms and losses, and has defended the case based upon information learned by their indexing process prior to the lawsuit even being filed.
So what are the takeaways?
1. Do not give any tape to written statements for insurance companies until you speak to experienced legal counsel
2. Experienced legal counsel should advice you to understand that the insurance company knows a lot more about you than they let on
3. Tell the truth
4. If you remember past injuries, lawsuits, treatment, or other litigation, share this information with your legal team. They will appreciate it. As the saying goes, “better late than never.” We would want to have at least the same information as the insurance company, if not more.
If you or someone you know has been in a car crash, attacked by a dog or injured by a defective product and you have legal questions, please give us a call (703-796-9555) or email us at Abrams Landau, Ltd.