The Phantom (Driver) Menace

There seem to be a rash of “hit-skip” incidents going around, like this one just this weekend in Victorian Village.  Luckily, this guy was caught.  But what if they never find the at-fault driver?

Car-smoke

In Ohio, this situation is called a “phantom driver.”  Most insurance policies require there to be some other evidence that a crash happened, other than just the injured person’s word.

What does this mean to you:

If you are hit by another car who takes off, you will either need another person who witnessed the wreck to back you up.  Either that, or show some damage to your vehicle to prove there actually was a wreck.  Believe it or not, sometimes insurance companies don’t believe you!

 

They did what to who?

Unfortunately, car insurance companies rarely live up to their commercials, as we’ve discussed before.  Otherwise, that perky Flo from Progressive would be giddily settling claims to and fro and whatnot.

Go ahead. Make a claim. I dare you.

I saw this tragic story making the rounds online.  At the trial for the wrongful death of a motorist, the lawyer for the insurance company for the motorist (Progressive) worked in conjunction with the lawyer for the at-fault driver.  That is, the dead woman’s own insurance company called witnesses to try and blame her for the crash, just like the lawyer for the person who caused the wreck did.  Talk about adding insult to injury.

This is common litigation strategy and how most insurance companies behave, whether they are yours or someone else’s, because money is on the line.  Their goal in any case like this is to pay the least amount of money possible.

What does this mean to you:

In Ohio, your car insurance has a legal obligation to treat you in “good faith.”  If they don’t, they can be help responsible for additional damages beyond what they owe for your personal injury case itself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You actually want to use it?

I saw a political cartoon a few years back that wondered what other industries would look like if they operated the same way out health insurance system does.  “You want to join our gym?  OK.  However, our data suggests you might actually use the equipment, so you cannot be a member here.”

I’m going to go with C, Bob, for $1,000.

So, as we await the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act in the Florida v. Department of Health and Human Services case (as if the outcome is in doubt), it seemed a post on health insurance was timely.

We all know that health insurance companies exist for one reason and one reason only: to make a profit.  And they seem to be doing quite well at that. One of the ways they recoup funds is through a process called subrogation, which is just a fancy word for “pay back.”  If health insurance pays money for you to go to the doctor, and if it is someone else’s fault you had to go to the doctor – because you were in a car crash or were injured by a defective product – the health insurance company generally has the right to be repaid out of any settlement or recovery you make.

What does this mean to you:

Though health insurance companies often have the right to be paid back in full before the injured person sees dime one (thanks to an Ohio Supreme Court ruling), lawyers handling a personal injury case frequently negotiate with the health carrier to reduce the amount that is owed back..

The two guarantees in life

Everyone’s heard the old adage – the only guarantees in life are death and taxes.  I would think that both happening simultaneously would probably ruin your day.

What goes here?

CNN reports there is actually an increased likelihood of deaths from car crashes on tax day, probably caused by increased stress and driver inattention, which has become a huge problem.

In Ohio over the last 2 years, distracted driving accounted for more than 31,000 wrecks, 7,800 injuries, and 70 deaths.  Though lawmakers debated a statewide texting while driving law earlier this year,  Ohio is one of only 8 states that does not have a specific ban.  Of course, Ohio law does require all drivers to be in control of their cars at all times as a general rule.

What does this mean to you:

April is Distracted Driving Awareness month.  Any distraction from the primary goal of driving creates unnecessary risk to your passengers and other drivers on the road.

Take a minute, slow down, and be safe out there.