Talk To A Lawyer Before Offers
Progressive has been making settlement offers to buy out No-Fault “futures,” but too often these offers leave their customers personally exposed to much bigger future medical bills. Do not sign a legal release or waiver of future No-Fault benefits, without talking to an experienced auto accident attorney to find out if their offer is a fair one, or if they’re trying to get away with paying you pennies on the dollar.
How unfair have these Progressive settlement offers on future No-Fault benefits been? Our attorneys recently had the opportunity to save a car accident victim from a Progressive low ball settlement. Before she had asked our experienced lawyers to help her, her own insurer – Progressive Insurance – had gotten her to agree to accept a couple thousand dollars to buy out an open No-Fault claim that is potentially worth tens of thousands of dollars.
Fortunately, at about the same time, she hired us to help her with her car accident case against the negligent driver who had caused her injuries. Once we were hired, we quickly convinced her Progressive claims adjuster to void the settlement offer to buy out all of her “future” No-Fault PIP benefits. What Progressive was offering would only pay a fraction of her medical bills and potential wage loss.
This is often called buying out “futures” because the Progressive insured is presumably still injured, has an open claim, has medical bills and wage loss, and Progressive makes a calculation that offering their own customer a lump sum now will save Progressive from paying a much larger sum in the future. Insurance companies like Progressive offer to buy out future No-Fault benefits when they calculate that what they pay upfront to close out an open claim by buying futures will be for a substantially lower amount than what their own insured’s claim is actually worth.
The problem is this then leaves their own insured, their own customer, on the hook for all of these future expenses. These Progressive insureds do not have the sophistication and the actuaries and the computer models that Progressive does. They don’t know that by accepting this Progressive settlement offer, they are potentially personally responsible now for tens of thousands in future medical bills that may be necessary.
The larger point here is that what happened to our client with her offer is happening every day to people insured by Progressive. It can easily happen to other car accident victims. It can easily happen to you if you are insured with Progressive and do not have an experienced attorney who can look over the papers and settlement release language they want you to sign.
People need to be careful and not hesitate to seek help of an experienced No-Fault lawyer. Car crash victims should not be forced – and they should never be tricked – into giving up their valuable and necessary auto No-Fault insurance benefits so Progressive can continue making more of their already high profits by avoiding paying out on legitimate claims of their own customers.
What’s the purpose of a low ball offer?
Progressive wants to keep making high profits by paying out less in claims than what they know they should be. To accomplish this, they have decided to take advantage of their very own customers by approaching them immediately after a car accident and offering them a lump sum payment to close out and buy out their No-Fault claim.
The key to the success of the Progressive low ball settlement strategy is to act fast to catch their own customers, their own Progressive insureds who have been injured in a car crash before they have hired a lawyer.
Progressive knows that an experienced car accident attorney will tell anyone who has suffered serious injuries that this offer is very dangerous and to reject it.
Progressive also knows that once a car crash victim is being represented by a lawyer, that person is going to have a much better chance of recovering all of the No-Fault PIP benefits that he or she is legally entitled to – which means the insurer is not going to be able to avoid paying what it legally owes to their own customer.
Example of low-ball Progressive settlements
One of the strategies for Progressive settlements includes having the adjuster getting the crash victim to sign a release for a full, final and future waiver of all No-Fault benefits in return for a lump sum payment less than a month after the car accident – even though it is for considerably less than what Progressive estimates the actual open claim is worth.
In our client’s case, the Progressive claims adjuster got to our client – before she had spoken to an attorney – to accept $1,800 to cover 3 months of replacement services ($20 per day for 90 days). What our client didn’t know until she talked to us – because the claims adjuster never disclosed the information to her – is that she has a legal right to recover No-Fault replacement services benefits for up to 3 years after the crash in Michigan.
As such, the claims adjuster was trying to rush a settlement for $1,800 on a claim that could be worth $21,900 ($20 per day for 1,095 days). Under Michigan’s No-Fault law, a car accident victim is entitled to recover replacement services benefits in the amount of $20 per day “during the first 3 years after the date of the accident.” (MCL 500.3107(1)(c))
Replacement services benefits help auto accident victims pay others to do the daily household work and tasks which victims are disabled from doing because of their crash-related injuries.
What other Progressive settlement offers should I watch for?
Aside from trying to trick car accident victims into settling cases for considerably less than they’re worth, Progressivewill try to get car accident victims to waive their right to future No-Fault benefits or “futures.” Never agree to this unless you have talked with an experienced lawyer first.
Your future No-Fault benefits are extremely valuable because they help you pay for the medical care and treatment you’ll need to recover from your injuries. Not only are they necessary for your recovery, but you have paid for these benefits through the payment of your premiums. You are legally entitled to these benefits and the insurance company is legally liable to pay to provide them.
By putting language into an offer to get you to waive the benefits that are rightfully yours, Progressive is trying to avoid having to live up to its legal duty and to its contractual promises that it made to you in your insurance policy.
Have questions about a Progressive settlement offer on No-Fault futures? Michigan Auto Law can help
If you have questions about Progressive settlements or if you’re being pressured into agreeing to their low ball offers and you would like to talk with a lawyer, you can call us toll free anytime 24/7 at (800) 777-0028 for a free consultation with one of our experienced car accident attorneys. We will answer your questions about your legal rights to pain and suffering compensation, economic damages, auto No-Fault insurance benefits, and settlements in cases like yours. There is absolutely no cost or obligation. You can also get help from an experienced injury attorney by visiting our contact page or chat feature on our website.