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How do I handle a uninsured motorist claim with my insurance company? And make sure I receive a proper claim settlement?

Atlanta, GA |

I was a car accident. The at fault driver did not have insurance at the time of the accident, so I am using my own uninsured motorist policy. I sustained neck, back, and foot injuries. I will miss 3 weeks of work and i have 6 weeks if rehab. My bodily injury limit is 25,000. My insurance company wants me to sign a medical release...do I have to? Can i give limits to what they can see? can i say they can see only records regarding the accident? My insurance company says I'm obligated to comply. I want to represent myself but not sure if I need a lawyer at this point. They are using colossus, how can I estimate my own claim?

Attorney Answers 10

Posted

Contact a local area personal injury attorney. You need one to help out with your claim against the insurance company who has plenty of assets and personnel. Good luck.

Mr. Crosner is licensed to practice law in California and has been practicing law in California since 1978. The response herein is general legal and business analysis.. It is not intended nor construed to be "legal advice" but rather it is analysis, and different lawyers may analyze this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.

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Posted

Colossus is designed to reduce your medical bills to some lowest common denominator that is not fair value. Further, most people find real permanent injuries turn great lives into good ones and good lives into tough ones. Pain and suffering, sacrifice and the like aren't accounted for by any computer or cynical adjuster.

I know you want to handle it yourself, but in this day and age, it's foolish. Lawyers get higher settlements and negotiate bills lower. And the sooner you are protected and not subject to the bullying deceit by some claims representative who considers you just a file on his desk.

Hire a lawyer. We'd be happy to help. It sounds like a good claim. Regardless, stay away from the large advertisers and the inexperienced. They are no better than colossus.

Jmp@knowthelawyer.com
800-6-know-law

Please CLICK the button if I HELPED or was BEST ANSWER. No attorney-client relationship is established and responses here are general first impressions. You should consult with a lawyer about your problems. More about our firm is located at www.knowthelawyer.com.

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Posted

Colossus is a loathsome project set up by insurers to underpay and deny injury claims. You have already made a gigantic mistake in talking to your insurer at all. Every conversation will be used against you. On average, people without attorneys see results 70-80% worse than people who promptly retain counsel. You need a lawyer ASAP to assess and review your claim. Until you hire one, do NOT say a word to your insurance company and do NOT sign releases.

ATTORNEY GLEN ASHMAN 404-768-3509 www.glenashman.com . If you find this answer helpful, please mark it here on AVVO as helpful. In answering you, I am attempting to communicate general legal information and am not representing you (and am not your lawyer). Do feel free to call me at 404-768-3509 if you wish to discuss actual representation (the phone call also does not retain counsel; that requires an office visit and appropriate paperwork). In that a forum such as this provides me with limited details and doesn't allow me to review details and documents, it is possible that answers here, while meant to be helpful, may in some cases not be complete or accurate, and I highly recommend that you retain legal counsel rather than rely on the answers here. (You can also email my office at geaatl@msn.com . An email also does not retain my office, but can help you get an appointment set if you prefer not to call). I am happy to discuss possible representation with you. Any information in this communication is for discussion purposes only, and is not offered as legal advice. There is no right to rely on the information contained in this communication and no attorney-client relationship is formed. Nothing in my answer should be considered as tax-advice. To ensure compliance with IRS Circular 230, any U.S. federal tax advice provided in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient or any other taxpayer (i) for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed on the recipient or any other taxpayer, or (ii) in promoting, marketing or recommending to another party a partnership or other entity, investment plan, arrangement or other transaction addressed herein. Note that I am only licensed in Georgia and thus cannot practice in other states. I am also required to advise you, if your question concerns bankruptcy, that the U.S. Congress has designated Ashman Law Office as a debt relief agency that can help people file bankruptcy.

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2 comments

Asker

Posted

If I dont sign a release can they say im not cooperating and drop my insurance claim?

Glen Edward Ashman

Glen Edward Ashman

Posted

As many lawyers have told you, without a lawyer, you probably get zero. This is 14 days after lots of us told you you needed a lawyer yesterday, and it is very disturbing that you have chosen not to do so. Unfortunately, every day you wait is likely to make your case go worse.

Posted

Every experienced attorney who reads your question is going to be familiar with Colossus. It has been the subject of a great deal of controversy in personal injury practice, and has gotten at least one major insurance carrier into hot water over its use.

I would venture a guess that you have Allstate as your UM insurer, based upon what you said.

I agree with the others. You will do yourself a huge favor by retaining an attorney. You will likely achieve a higher settlement and be better able to negotiate your bills downward, especially if you do not have health insurance or another source to pay them. The insurance company, though your own insurer, is not your friend in this matter. Do not be fooled by the jovial, humorous, somewhat sanctimonious insurance company commercials that are all over the television these days. While there are some good companies and some good adjustors, the cynical and unreasonable ones will make whatever arguments they can to convince you to take less than your case is worth. And you will not really have any good idea what the case is worth on your own.

Even though this is your own insurance carrier, to whom you pay premiums, the claims department typically does not care about that. They are not involved in marketing, developing business, or customer satisfaction. Their job is to keep claims costs down. Even with their own insureds. This is why there is a bad faith statute in Georgia applicable to property damage claims and bodily injury claims against one's own insurance company; they don't play fair a lot of the time with their own insureds.

This forum, though great for conveying general knowledge and answers, does not lend itself well to specific questions like valuation of a particular case. There are too many factors involved in valuation, some of which are entirely subjective. Even knowing the full amount of lost wages and medical expenses you suffered is only the beginning, and you did not mention those amounts specifically. Of course, you don't know the full amount of your medical expenses yet.

The insurance adjustor knows how to handle these cases, and adjustors handle them all day every day. Unless you have handled cases like this before, you will very likely make honest mistakes in dealing with them that they will be able to use against you later. Everything that you tell them is a potential piece of information that they can attempt to turn in their favor.

If you continue with this on your own, tell them as little as possible, and do not discuss your injuries. As far as the release question, unless your UM policy specifically requires providing one to them, which is unlikely, I would not give it to them. I do not provide insurance companies with releases like that for my clients. Instead, I provide them with the records and bills themselves, which I gather.

Good PI attorneys offer free consultations, and you should talk to some, from this service, or elsewhere, to get an idea of why you would benefit from retaining one. I offer free consultations, as virtually all of us do, and any of us would be happy to talk to you about your case.

Doug Kaleita
DOUGLAS F. KALEITA, P.C.
404 236-0064

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Posted

First, be aware that colosus is a complicated program with many algorythyms. Avvo is not a place that can give you the legal education you would need to understand and respond to its nuances. When u make an uninsured motorist claim your insurance company basically stands in for the insurance company the other driver should have had. Even though it is "your" insurance co. you are now proceeding in an adversarial manner against them and their job is to pay you as little as possible. If your policy states that in a UM situation you must supply an unlimited med. release to them, then you probably have to, although HIPPA may afford some protection. If they want your records, then as an adversarial opposing party they can always subpoena the records ang get them through discovery. You could then file a motion and supporting brief to quash the subpoena but you can already see that you are in way over your head. Better to hire a lawyer to maximize your recovery and minimize any damage you may cause trying to represent yourself.

Disclaimer: This response is provided to you by attorney Robert G. Rothstein (404) 216-1422 for educational and informational purposes only.No attorney-client relationship has been created hereby. Other attorneys may have different opinions or responses. If you found this response helpful, please indicate Best Answer to Avvo. Thank you.

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Posted

You ask: how do you "make sure [you] receive a proper claim settlement." THe answer is to retain a lawyer to handle your claim. I see my job as getting my client more money than they would be able to get on there own. Many studies show, including those done by the insurance industry, that someone with an attorney will net significantly more money than a person handling their own claim.
Colossus--Allstate right?--as you know is some computer program that estimates the value of your claim--comes up with some figure that represents how this injury impacts your life. Does that sound like something a computer can do and something designed to ensure you are fairly compensated for your loss? When the adjuster tells you that the computer says the value of your case is x dollars, what do you say?
You are obligated to cooperate with your insurance company including allowing them access to your medical records. Yes, there can be limits on what records are disclosed--again something better suited to an attorney to negotiate. For instance, suppose you had your gall bladder removed 10 years ago--do you think that has anything to do with your neck and back injury? Probably not. What if last year you had heart surgery, is that any business of the insurance company to see in this case involving a neck, back, foot injury? Well what if you are claiming there are many things you cannot do today or do as well because of the injuries you suffered in the car wreck. The insurance company will want to see those heart related records so they can argue you are really slowed down by your heart condition and not the car wreck. They are probably entitled to those records and if they can mount a "strong" similar argument with regard to those gall bladder records they probably can get those also.
You also say the uninsured driver is at fault. Don't be too sure that the insurance company will not try to place at least some of the blame on you. They are professionals at this. THey are trained to ask questions in a way to make you look responsible.
Retain a lawyer. Even with the fee you will still net more than if you try and go it alone.

If you feel this is the "best" answer or is "helpful," please indicate. Since I am limited to the information you provide, I cannot guarantee the accuracy of the answer. You should seek the advise of an attorney who can explore all aspects of your question. This communication does not form an attorney client relationship.

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Posted

Every personal injury lawyer is familiar with Collosus, as well as all the previous software used by the insurance companies. Retain a local personal injury lawyer to resolve your claim.

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Posted

It sounds like you really need to hire an attorney. You are not required to sign anything and should not. Do not give a phone interview either unless it's too late. Anything you tell an adjuster or anything they ask for is designed to reduce the value of your claim. They want to pay you the least amount of money possible.
There are also various damages you are entitled to that they are not accounting for. You really need someone with your best interest in mind to handle the insurance adjuster.
There could also be additional insurance money you are not aware of that a lawyer will know how to find.

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Posted

You are asking questions on this post that need to be answered by an attorney. You have injuries and are trying to hold another person accountable. It's very important that you not speak to the insurer directly. Even though it's technically your insurance because you paid for it, your Uninsured Motorist Coverage immediately becomes adversarial the moment you make a claim against it. The insurer now has the at-fault driver's interests to consider, not yours. It is a very complicated area of insurance law, and one mistake can jeopardize your entire claim. There is usually no up-front cost to retaining an attorney to handle a personal injury claim. The attorney or law firm is paid a percentage of whatever you recover. Hire one now, instead of poking around on the internet trying to get answers to basic questions every lawyer doing this type of work will know.

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Posted

Hire the lawyer with whom you feel most comfortable, and follow his or her advice. It's as simple as that. The lawyer will know what to do, how to do it, and when to do it.

Answers to questions on this web site are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Unless you and Troy W. Marsh, Jr. have signed a written contract, Troy W. Marsh, Jr. is not your attorney, and you are not his client. www.marshlaw1.com troy@marshlaw1.com

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