Thursday, September 3, 2009

Little Blank Spaces

When a liability insurance claims office gets a report that one of its insureds has been in an accident, it immediately sets up a file, gives it a claim number, and assigns it to a claims representative. Typically, the company’s guidelines require that certain information about the claim be obtained before it will consider making a substantial offer. The required information includes basic documents about the accident (police report, witness statements, e.g.), plaintiff’s lost time and earnings from work, medical bills, medical records, whether the plaintiff has reached a medical end point, etc. I tell plaintiffs that the claims rep has lots of little blank spaces on his or her computer screen and, until those spaces are filled in, the money faucet will remain closed.

It follows that if you represent an injured plaintiff, you will want to find out what those blank spaces are and help the claims rep fill them in as soon as possible. If you don’t know what they are, ask. By thus accommodating the company’s protocol, you won’t turn a doggy case into a winner, but you should enhance your credibility with the insurance company in meritorious cases and help set the stage for a successful mediation.

For more on the same subject, see my article entitled, "Dealing with Insurance Company Claims Representatives," written in 2006.

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