Legal Question in Personal Injury in Georgia

MVA Injury - Am I being bullied?

Does the insurance company representing the driver at fault have the right to determine whether they will pay for a rental car and the length of time I may use it? (I was given a 5 day limit)

Do they have the right to ask for past medical records once they know that I sustained injury from the accident? (I reported knee, back and neck injury to the State Farm adjuster who represents the driver at fault)

Should I let State Farm remove my vehicle from it's current location (local wrecker service/body shop) and take it to their own salvage yard before a settlement has been reached?

I've never been in this situation before and im feeling a little bullied by this adjuster. Any advice?

Asked on 4/27/02, 12:32 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

Robert Windholz Robert S. Windholz, Attorney At Law

Re: MVA Injury - Am I being bullied?

State Farm has become notorious for becoming difficult to deal with, for victims, such as yourself and also for attorneys. The rental is limited to the number of days that your car is in the shop, called loss of use. Generally, we provide them with medical records and do not sign medical authorizations. If you had any type of injury, you have a long road ahead without an attorney.

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Answered on 4/28/02, 4:25 pm
Craig Hardegree Hardegree Law Firm, P.C.

Re: MVA Injury - Am I being bullied?

Unfortunately, Georgia law does not require ANY "loss of use" to be paid by an at-fault party or his/her insurer IF your car is a "total loss". (I assume your's is, since you have a question about their salvage yard.) If the car were repairable, they would have to pay the entire time it was in the shop. Most companies voluntarily pay some rental until they make an offer on the vehicle, but Georgia law is really stacked in their favor on this issue.

Having your vehicle towed to their salvage yard can hold down costs of storage, which could be costing you as much as $10.00 per day where it now sits. The law does not require them to pay storage if you refuse to let them move it. However, make sure you have everything out of it; once they get it, it will be "parted-out" or crushed within a matter of days. Also, if you think there might be a potential for a claim against the auto maker, you would need to purchase the salvage from them and pay to store it somewhere for a lawsuit against the auto maker.

When you present an injury claim, you are putting your medical condition "in issue" which can make past RELATED problems relevant. However, when we represent injured clients, we NEVER have them sign a medical release in favor of the insurance company. We have the client sign a medical release with US and then we send in what is relevant and related. If the case can't be settled and a lawsuit is filed, ALL medical records for your entire life will be sought under subpoena by the insurance defense lawyers.

Keep in mind, the REAL reason they want your records is not to verify your current injury, but to LOOK FOR A REASON NOT TO PAY YOU! They will comb through every note looking for any little mention of anything that could remotely support their argument that you were already hurt.

Let me know if I can help!

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Answered on 4/28/02, 7:11 pm

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