I am amazed to hear from potential clients who call up because they just got an offer from the at fault party’s insurance company. The collision was within the last week or month. The offer is somewhere between $500.00 and $1,000.00. The message they got from the insurance company was:
1. We are completely at fault and we take complete responsibility.
2. We will offer you $500.00 to $1,000.00 right now in order to settle your claim.
3. Because of the law in Minnesota (the thresholds), we do not really owe you anything.
There are at least three legal determinations made in the statements above. The adjuster has removed themselves from their position as an employee working only for the insurance company and has gotten into providing legal advice to an individual as to the value of their claim and whether or not their case meets a threshold in Minnesota. It seems pretty clear that they are practicing law without a license.
Now let’s compare the statements of “we do not owe you anything” and “here’s money.” Do you see the inconsistency there? If you settle, the adjuster closes the file and the person lives with their decision.
Now if the person gets completely better, then they got money for nothing. They did not meet a tort threshold and they should not have even received that amount. However, if they continue to have problems and experience pain and have the rest of their life affected, they have basically given away their claim based on bad advice and the hope that they were going to get better.
Let’s add the kicker. The adjuster will then tell the person not to worry about their medical bills because they are covered by your company. They have shifted the burden of the future onto your company despite your company having a limit on what they would pay. If you get better and do not need all the $20,000.00 in medical coverage, that is great. If you do not, who is going to pay those bills beyond the $20,000.00? Who is going to take care of the damage for you beyond what was available from your no-fault company?
They are preying upon the weak, the injured, and probably the greedy. Throw in that possibility that you will not have to pay a lawyer and you will get this money, and I am sure for some it is a lottery. The reality is that if you have suffered an injury and continue to have problems, do not settle without talking to an experienced trial lawyer. Talk to somebody who is on your side and can explain the law in a way that protects you.
The commercials you see from some insurance companies talk about savings.
Hurt individuals are participating in those savings by closing files cheaply and at a huge detriment to themselves.
A founding partner with Bradshaw & Bryant, Mike Bryant has always fought to find justice for his clients—knowing that legal troubles, both personal injury and criminal, can be devastating for a family. Voted a Top 40 Personal Injury "Super Lawyer" multiple years, Mr. Bryant has also been voted one of the Top 100 Minnesota "Super Lawyers" four times.