*The following is a real-life case scenario that our firm endured. We have changed the names, locations and details of two of our clients to protect their anonymity, but otherwise, everything is true.*
Sandy and Patricia were stopped at a Mc Donald’s drive thru when an older lady hit their car. There was no issue of liability because the older lady admitted that she could not stop on time. The impact caused the older woman to not only rear-end Sandy and her family once, but twice. With the children in the back, Sandy and Patricia immediately panicked.
The older woman was insured by Hartford insurance. The provider tried disputing the car accident claim in a somewhat radical way. They not only disputed the claim through a recorded release statement, but also distributed the settlement through a direct deposit method, instead of a check. Hartford was making incredible efforts to try and get out of reasonably compensating the family. The insurance company offered $200 per child that was involved in Sandy’s accident. While knowing that amount won’t suffice, the company further pursued their efforts by calling Sandy for a recorded release statement.
“This is Katie speaking with Sandy C. Today is June 20th, 2017 and the current time is 4:06 pm, Pacific Standard Time. (confirms full name, address, and date of birth). Also admit that you are over the age of 18 and understand that you are taking a statement under oath. Yes. And Ms. Sandy, do I have your permission to record the settlement release for your injury claim relevant to an automobile loss on June 13th, 2017 in Vista, California? Yes. As you know, this release will constitute full and final payment for this claim except for the Hartford Underwriters Insurance Company’s promise to pay certain incurred and future medical treatment related to the accident. Do you agree that the settlement of $800 as well as the promise to pay for all casually related expenses from necessary medical treatment incurred within 60 days from the accident, not to exceed the one ER bill, as well as up to $3,500 which will release Cynthia and the Hartford Underwriters Insurance Company, from any and all claims, legal causes of action, demands known and unknown personal injury arising out of an automobile loss, that occurred on June 13th, 2017 in Vista, CA. Yes. Do you also understand that the settlement of $800 and the promise to pay for certain medical treatment, constitutes payment for all claims, medical expenses, and any known or unknown liens arising out of this accident? Yes. Do you also understand that if you should fail to resolve a lien or any other obligation arising out of your accident that you will have a duty to indemnify and hold accountable with any claims that a third party make against Cynthia, and the Hartford Underwriters insurance company, that you are legally responsible? Yes. And have you voluntarily entered into the settlement agreement as dated above? Yes.”
The Hartford Underwriters Insurance Company had gotten the release from Sandy and Patricia, word for word. Unfortunately, our firm had to disengage with the family’s matter, as she herself settled the claim. Although the claim was closed for the two mothers, our case Manager, Diane, had requested the claim remain open for the children. This is in case the children endure some sort of whiplash, or experience a change in their health from the accident. Though the family could have gained more settlement for their damages, they gave into the insurance company’s act of belittlement – granting them a mere $800. Insurance companies may be sneaky when trying to get you to settle for far less than you truly deserve. In fact, Hartford didn’t even send a settlement check to the family. Instead, the insurance company directly deposited the settlement into the family’s account.
Whether it’s your insurance company, or the 3rd party’s insurance company, it’s best not to speak with these major providers at all. Once these adjusters see that you have a well-deserved claim, or see that you are represented by a successful legal professional, they may make incredible efforts to try and belittle you. Though you may be tempted to receive a quick offer, you must remember your claim’s true worth. Scenarios like what happened to Sandy and her family, can usually be pursued in a number of ways. Apart from filing a claim with their insurer, the family could also have sued Mc Donald’s under a premises liability lawsuit.
If the Mc Donald’s drive-thru lane was unsafe or defective in any way, this could have contributed to the accident. Drivers out there should understand this as another option when seeking settlement for a car accident. If Sandy and her family were not only trying to seek compensation from the older woman that hit them, but also from Mc Donald’s, she’ll need to prove that any injuries that occurred were also do to the property owner’s lack of proper maintenance and negligence. Furthermore, you’ll also need to prove that the property owner knew of the lack of proper maintenance, and still failed to make these adjustments. While many conditions may seem arguable, doing so without professional, legal assistance, may end up hurting you later. Other types of premises liability cases are the following:
• Slip and fall accidents,
• Snow and ice accidents,
• Improper maintenance of the premises,
• Defective conditions and errors on the premises,
• Inattentive building security leading to assault or injury,
• Dog bites,
• Fires; and
• Water leaks or flooding
Whether you have been the victim of a car accident, or a premise liability matter, our attorneys are here to help. Without having proper negotiation skills, or a vast knowledge in the ever-changing world of laws and policies, fending for your claim may be difficult. Don’t let these insurance companies get the best of you, you deserve fair settlement, now.
— Jack Ter-Saakyan, Esq.
Note: Attorney advertising. Nothing posted on this blog is intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. Blog postings and hosted comments are available for general educational purposes only and should not be used to assess a specific legal situation. Nor does any comment on a blog post create an attorney-client relationship. The presence of hyperlinks to other third-party websites does not imply that the firm endorses those websites, their contents, or the activities or views of their owners.