Posted By The Law Offices of Eugene G. Bruno, P.C. Posted in: Car Accident.
If you have been involved in an accident, you can expect to be contacted by a claim adjuster from the other party’s insurance company. The claim adjuster will request certain personal information, including your full name, address, date of birth and Social Security number. The claim adjuster also may request the name of your primary care doctor or your health insurance. You may be told that this information is required to open a claim or maybe that no settlement check can be issued without this information. Do you give the claim adjuster your personal information?
What you don’t know (and won’t be told) is that your personal information will be entered into a national data base and will be made available to the other party’s insurance company (and any other insurance company that wants to investigate you). Your personal information will be available to any insurance company that subscribes to the data base service (and more than 90% of them do). This data base is called the “Index System.”
The Index System provides a wealth of information to insurance companies about you in addition to your personal information, including your current insurance policy information, prior claims made by you and against you, injuries you may have sustained in other accidents, etc . While it can be a great investigative tool for the insurance industry to detect fraudulent claims, index information is not always interpreted correctly and inaccurate assumptions about your claim can result. Also, as with any database, the information is only as good as the information that is entered accurately into the database, and sometimes errors are made.
How does providing your personal information affect the handling of your claim? If you have been involved in a prior car accident and the claim adjuster suspects you may have been injured in that prior accident, you can bet he/she will attempt to obtain your prior medical records. Is that an invasion of your privacy? You bet it is. Filing an injury claim because of someone else’s negligence does not mean you must give up your right to privacy. Even if you were not injured or had an injury to a different part of your body, prior claims often lead to “low ball” offers, based on the assumption (sometimes inaccurate) that your injury was pre-existing. Typically, the claim adjuster will ask you to prove you were NOT injured in a prior accident by agreeing to release 10 years (or more) worth of medical records. Is that a further invasion of your privacy? You bet it is!
For these reasons, it is important to tell your attorney if you have been involved in any prior accidents (even if there was no injury or an injury to a different part of your body). That way, your attorney will have a heads up as to what kind of index information the claim adjuster may have on you.
If you have been injured because of someone else’s negligence, whether in a car accident or other accident, call now to schedule a free, no pressure consultation. It is never too early to discuss your options with an attorney. I offer a free, no pressure consultation over the phone or in person and there’s never a fee until I win your case.