Why You Shouldn’t Talk To Your Insurance Company Following A Personal Injury Accident.

August 23, 2013

Many Buffalo personal injury lawyers – including our firm – advise clients to have no further contact with their insurance company after hiring an attorney.  Instead, the personal injury attorney will direct the insurance company that all future contact be handled through the attorney’s office.  When you pay for insurance, you would like to think that they will be on your side when you are injured.  Unfortunately, some insurers are more interested in protecting their own bottom line and may engage in unfair behavior to protect themselves at the expense of an injured customer.

For anyone who does not believe this, the recent case of Debra and Ronald Peters is a good example of some truly outrageous behavior by an insurance company.  The Peters did not suffer personal injury, but they did make an insurance claim when their Florida business was damaged in a hurricane in 2005.  They had purchased insurance from the FCCI Commercial Insurance Co. eight months earlier.  Instead of paying the claim in full, the insurance company had the Peters’ policy reviewed by their special investigative unit and noted that questions regarding the dates of prior insurance coverage had been left blank.  They discontinued coverage and had Debra Peters criminally charged for allegedly making misrepresentations regarding prior insurance on the application.

None of this, of course, had anything to do with whether the Peters had suffered a loss in the hurricane or had purchased insurance to cover that loss.  It was nonetheless used to deny coverage.  Fortunately for the Peters family, the state attorney’s office dismissed the criminal charges against Debra Peters, and, in civil court, a jury recently awarded them $6 million in damages from FCCI for breach of contract, bad faith breach of fiduciary duty, and malicious prosecution.  FCCI is appealing the decision.

If you have suffered a personal injury, we can help you handle the insurance companies.  Call us at 716-400-0000.