You can’t be a New York personal Injury lawyer for very long without learning to hate insurance companies. I think it took me all of 6 months when I started out years ago to realize how brutal they were. You see, insurance companies “screw” good people all the time. Here’s just one recent example of a guy who got screwed by the insurance industry.
The client injured his lower back in a car accident, but did not immediately seek medical attention because he wanted to see first whether he was going to get better on his own. When more than a month went by and he was still in pain, he came to see me. He wanted to know what his rights were as far as getting medical coverage to see a doctor. There was an uncomfortable pause while I thought about how to break the bad news to him.
Before I tell you what I told him, let me give you a little recent history of New York’s “No-Fault Insurance” law. Only a few years ago, under No-Fault Insurance Regulation 68, auto accident victims had up to 90 days to file an application for no-fault benefits with their auto insurance carrier. (No-fault provides up to $50,000 in medical treatment and lost wages to car accident victims, regardless of fault.) But then the insurance industry lobbied New York State lawmakers to shorten the time limit to 30 days. The insurance industry claimed the shorter time limit was necessary to prevent “fraud”, but that argument never made any sense to me. Instead, I believe the insurance industry knew that many auto accident victims would inadvertently wait for more than 30 days to fill out their no-fault application. The insurance industry would thus save millions of dollars by denying these legitimate but “late” claims.
This is only one example of how insurance companies, the same companies who regularly malign us personal injury lawyers, screw the public. Other examples, too numerous to list here, include (1) giving low-ball settlement offers, especially to accident victims who have not yet hired a good New York personal injury lawyer to fight for them; (2) denying perfectly valid personal injury claims; and (3) inducing accident victims, before they have time to hire a lawyer, to give “recorded statements” by promising them, falsely, that this will help the insurance company “resolve their claim”, when in fact the intention is to torpedo the claim.
Insurance is one of the most heavily regulated industries, and for good reason. Can you imagine what they would be doing to us if they were not regulated? Too bad their lobby is so powerful that it weakens the government’s overseeing role.
My client could not believe what he was hearing when I told him about the 30-day rule. As he put it, “I got screwed”. He’s not alone. Don’t let them screw you! Hire a good New York personal injury lawyer from the get-go.
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to hear from you!
Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
michaels-smolak.com Central NY Personal Injury Lawyer Michaels & Smolak, P.C.