Guy S. DiMartino, DC, JD discusses the wealth of information that insurance companies mine on personal injury clients.
For those who were not required to read George Orwell's 1984 in high school, I will provide a two sentence description. In 1949, George Orwell published the book 1984, which was a satire on mass surveillance in society. BIG BROTHER was a fictional character in the book and was used to keep the masses under control. Everywhere folks would go, there were large screens reminding them that Big Brother was watching them. This is not unlike Jim Carrey's Truman Show.
How Does This Play Out in a Florida Personal Injury Case?
A while ago, I received a phone call from an insurance adjuster. He said, I just received your demand letter and I would like to take your client's statement when he gets out of jail. (You may be saying, DiMartino you're written that you don't allow your client's to give sworn statements to insurance companies. Your right, but this is a UM case and the client is required to give a statement under the contract). Clearly, the insurance adjuster knew something that I didn't know and he used the phone call to reiterate the point and as a bargaining chip. First, you may be saying.
Well, back to the story. I get off the phone, call in my paralegal, and say let's find out what's going on. She does some research and finds out that my client was arrested for an altercation two days before the phone call. I said to myself, What! So Fast! How did the insurance find out so fast!
Well the answer is quite simple. They have a computer program that mines the public record. You see, when somebody makes a claim for personal injuries that have to give the insurance company personal information; like their date of birth and social security number. So, the insurance company has a program that sets something up like a Google Alert.
It is clear that when the adjuster turned on his computer that Monday morning, he an alert that notified him that the client was arrested and in the pokey for an altercation.
Moral of the Story
When you make a claim for personal injuries, the insurance company will be looking for anything to decrease the amount of money that they will have to pay. You are living in a fish bowl. You may say to yourself that this arrest has nothing to do with her personal injury claim and the criminal charges are not relevant to the issues. Click here for a discussion on how criminal acts impact a personal injury claim. Well, in this case, the criminal charge may not be relevant but the fact that my client was in an altercation certainly is? I already hear the adjuster. Your client cannot be in that bad of shape because she was strong enough to get in a fight, or the fight, not the accident caused her ongoing problems.
The truth is that the value of the client's claim went in the toilet bowl because of this information. A personal injury claim is all about a client's credibility. An Insurance will fairly compensate a client for their injuries when he believes the client is a good egg and offers garbage when he believes the client is a bad egg.
If you have been injured in a Florida accident know that Big Brother is watching you. Your life is a fish bowl and everything that you do can come back to you and bite you in the tuchis. If you have any questions about a Florida personal injury claim, contact Guy S. DiMartino, DC, JD at (352) 267-9168 or fill out the Internet consultation form on the right.