Key Points of This Article:
- Many Michiganders who end up injured in a car or truck accident do not consider the help needed to calculate the true value of an insurance claim. They instead trust their auto insurance provider and accept an amount much lower than deserved.
- Large insurers like GEICO are doing anything possible to reduce or limit these payments by sending injured individuals to multiple doctors in paid partnerships with the insurance company.
- Auto insurers reliant on independent medical examinations (IMEs) should not be able to decide how much the treatment or rehabilitation of an injury should cost.
- Individuals injured in a car, truck, or even a motorcycle accident should be able to rely on their provider to honor its responsibility to pay outstanding benefits.
GEICO Auto Insurance Uses Hand-Picked Doctors to Help Reduce Paid Benefits
GEICO is one of the largest car insurance companies in Michigan, and throughout the US, with more than 17 million auto policies insuring 28 million vehicles. The incredibly profitable company uses expensive advertising and its savvy talking gecko in communities such as Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Flint, Kalamazoo, Detroit, Farmington and Farmington Hills, Troy, and Warren to market premiums to customers. At the same time, it sustains more than $27 billion in assets. Unfortunately, the company does this by paying the least amount of benefits and reducing customer payouts when a car accident occurs. However, under the Michigan no-fault law, individuals injured in a car accident are entitled to receive certain benefits paid by the auto insurance carrier responsible for paying the claim.
These benefits include coverage for:
- lost wages
- payment of medical bills including rehabilitation and physical therapy
- prescriptions and out-of-pocket costs
- reimbursement for care by nurses, family members, and friends
Besides getting no-fault benefits, a person injured in a Michigan car accident or truck accident can also obtain compensation for their pain and suffering with a third-party claim. Under this same law, MCL 500.3151, car insurance carriers can send an injured person for an examination “if the mental or physical condition of a person is material to a claim” for no-fault PIP benefits.
Geico Pays Physicians To Provide Independent Medical Examinations (IME)
Not unlike other major insurers, GEICO skims on benefits by sending a policyholder, claimant, or injured person to a hand-picked independent medical examination (IME). This IME is performed by a doctor paid by GEICO to provide a medical report. Often, the practitioner is related to a specific specialty, such as orthopedics, chiropractic or pain management, and will lead a quick examination of the injured person based on their area of practice. The report is then used by the GEICO adjuster to decide on whether to pay benefits going forward or not. In almost every situation, the IME report will be used by the adjuster to terminate the payment of benefits, either immediately or after a short time in the future. Michigan auto insurers should not be able to decide how much the treatment or rehabilitation of a car accident injury should cost.
There remains a constant battle between GEICO and its injured customers. The individuals injured in a Michigan car, truck, motorcycle, or even a Lyft or Uber accident are asking the company to honor their responsibility to pay outstanding benefits. On the other hand, the insurer is doing anything in its power to limit these payments, usually by sending individuals to multiple IMEs which may not present or diagnose the full scope or severity of injuries.
Steinberg Law Firm, P.C. Case Review Involving Geico
Recently, personal injury attorney Eric Steinberg represented a client who was seriously injured in a car accident and turned to her auto insurance carrier, GEICO, for help. Her life was severely impacted by multiple injuries, including a fractured leg, caused by a young Michigan driver who was distracted on her phone, ran a red light, and slammed into our client’s vehicle. Because of the car crash, our client missed work and incurred thousands of dollars in hospital and physician bills. Although Michigan law allowed her to seek payment of these benefits, GEICO refused to pay all but the bare minimum. Instead, they sent her to no less than three IMEs, all provided by a physician with a different medical specialty, to “evaluate” her injuries. These were also doctors paid by GEICO to give an opinion as to whether our client’s benefits were related to the car accident, and if so, determine how long she would need these benefits.
These doctors want future business sent to them by GEICO, and their reports showed their commitment to that partnership. They did everything they could to minimize our client’s injuries, her future medical needs, and her overall medical condition. We led the fight against GEICO auto insurance for our client so she could obtain her outstanding no-fault benefits. Our law firm was successful in winning her these benefits, but it took time and experience dealing with this insurer.
After a car accident, you may not consider that you need help calculating the value of your claim and instead trust your auto insurance provider to inform you. Unfortunately, adjusters are too often offering a much lower amount than you should be seeking. With decades of experience behind our team of Michigan auto accident attorneys, we know that IMEs are an unnecessary tactic, and frankly ridiculous medical “exams” that force injured claimants into no other choice but a lawsuit.
Michigan Car Accident Attorneys Experienced in Fighting GEICO Claims
Should you have any questions about a Michigan car accident involving GEICO auto insurance, or any other car insurance company, please give us a call at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733). The call is free, and there is no fee until we win your case. Our team of Michigan car crash lawyers is here to answer your questions, fight for the benefits you are owed, and win your case.