More Sneaky Insurance Tricks – Digital Signatures
We were contacted recently by a potential client who was trying to decide whether a settlement offer that is being made to her by an insurance company for her personal injury claim was for a fair value or not. (It wasn’t.) This woman had already received multiple documents and requests for information from the third-party insurance company – the bodily injury liability insurer for the negligent driver who had caused the woman’s injuries – and the attorney in our office with whom she was speaking cautioned her not to respond to those documents and requests until we had an opportunity to review them and give her advice.
It is very common for insurance companies to send out very broadly-worded medical record releases, for example, which – if signed by the injured party – allow the insurance company to go on “fishing expeditions” through a person’s complete medical history. Much of what an opposing insurance company may ask for is not relevant to a specific injury claim. Even when it is relevant, it is important to provide that information only at the proper time.
Or an insurer may forward a release form for a property damage claim – this is almost always done fairly quickly when liability is clear. It is perfectly proper to get the property damage claim resolved promptly. But still, the document needs to be thoroughly reviewed and understood before anything is signed. Helping a client do this is a key service that an experienced personal injury attorney will provide.Especially Be Careful What You E-Sign!
Unfortunately, a sneaky insurance company slipped a bodily injury claim release document into a batch of emailed documents in this particular instance. Without realizing it, this potential client had electronically signed a full and complete release of her injury claim for a completely inadequate value. The document was well-worded, covering all the elements of damages for which the woman might receive settlement value, and the digital signature was properly executed. There was effectively no way to back out of the settlement agreement she had signed without even reading it.
This situation is becoming an increasing danger with more and more legal documents now being electronically signed, both due to the pandemic conditions starting in 2020 that have made it healthier to avoid in-person document signing, as well as the simple fact that digitally signing documents is just a whole lot more convenient. Unfortunately, many of us are accustomed to ignoring the multiple paragraphs of “terms and conditions” we may be presented with when we’re installing a new digital application or making an on-line purchase, and just zip through the digital document to get to the “I Agree” button. This can be very dangerous when dealing with a sneaky insurance company trying to trick you into a quick settlement.
It is best simply not to respond to the insurance company requests until retaining the services of an experienced personal injury attorney and receiving advice from that attorney.Tricks, Tricks, and More Tricks!
The list of techniques that insurance companies will employ to deny, delay, undervalue, and otherwise resolve claims for something less than a full and fair value is long and ever-expanding as they come up with new ideas all the time. Just a few of these tricks include:
- Trying to Settle Quickly – either with an above-board offer (for too little money) or by sneaking one in like the example above;
- Taking a Recorded Statement – to ask the questions they want to ask for the information they want to collect, not necessarily the full and complete story;
- Acting Like Your Friend – hint: they’re only friendly with the settlement dollars they can hang on to;
- Pointing the Finger at Another Cause – it wasn’t our driver in this accident that caused your injury . . . it must have been something you were born with . . . or developed years ago . . . or long after this accident happened.
Call me, Ed Smith, for free, friendly advice. The list of insurance company sneaky tricks may be long, but we’ve seen them before. I promise to give you my full efforts at helping you get a full and fair verdict or settlement for your personal injury case. Please call our office today at 916-921-6400 or 800-404-5400, or you can also reach us through our online contact form.
:gm cha [cs 738]