Huge Mistake #4
Not being honest with your lawyer or doctor
Even though insurance companies are big, powerful entities, they usually avoid paying you money you deserve in one way: they try to make you seem like a liar. Insurance fraud is a legitimate reason for an insurance company not to pay you money. They will be on the lookout for anyone they can brand liar.
I had a client named Lou who fell in a parking lot and severely injured his back. At our first meeting, I asked Lou if he had ever injured his back before. He said, “Absolutely not.” It turns out that he was wrong. Lou had previously been trying to remove a refrigerator from his basement, and the refrigerator fell on top of him. He was taken by ambulance to the hospital and was treated many times by a doctor. When the defense found out about the refrigerator accident, they called my client a liar.
Lou was not a bad person, but he was worried that the other side would use his prior back injury against him. While sometimes the other side will argue that a prior injury disqualifies you from getting money for a current injury, we can argue back that the prior injury made you more vulnerable and that you are entitled to more money. It’s not a deal breaker by any means. But, being branded a liar can be a deal breaker.
The defense argued that Lou was a liar and that he deserved nothing. Luckily, we were able to settle his case for a reasonable amount of money. But, those prior injuries were a serious problem in his new personal injury case and put undue pressure on Lou.
Lying to a doctor can be just as problematic. The defense is entitled to medical examination to gauge the severity of your injuries and pain. The doctor seems independent, but they work with insurance companies and have an incentive to underplay your symptoms, injuries. Some people are worried that if the doctor says there’s nothing wrong with them, then they won’t get any money. THIS IS NOT TRUE!
Even if the doctor says you are perfectly fine, you can still get a settlement. But, if you try to exaggerate your pain or if you lie to the doctor that you are more injured than you really are, than the doctor will say that you are a liar. The insurance company will use this against you.
Any time you are dealing with an insurance company, a lawyer, or a doctor it is in your best interest to be 100% honest. People are worried that certain details about their case will disqualify them from getting money, but exaggerating or lying about these details is a huge mistake.
Also, recall the lesson from Mistake #2. You should not speak to a claims adjuster without legal advice.