Don’t Be Too Trusting

Canadians are kind. As a result, I believe we tend to be too trusting. In particular, yesterday I received a call yesterday from a woman who wanted to know if I could help her make a claim for injuries that she sustained in a car accident that took place just over two years ago. From her tone, I guessed that she had not retained a lawyer during the initial two years and had been negotiating with the wrongdoer’s insurance adjuster on her own, without a lawyer. After clarifying that my guess was unfortunately correct, I sighed. Sadly, I’ve received numerous such calls over the years that I’ve practiced law. A victim in a car accident becomes a victim a second time by trusting that the wrongdoer’s insurer has her or her interests in mind and will send the negotiated settlement prior to the two year limitation date. Sometimes, my caller has been negotiating for months with the wrongdoer’s insurance company and has been told several times that the cheque is in the mail, only to realize too late that the cheque was not put in the mail. Or, perhaps the caller has been told that a higher settlement offer was forthcoming, but the offer never arrived. Sometimes, the caller intended to pursue her settlement before the two year limitation period expired, but she or a family member became ill or she lost her job or moved and hadn’t realized that time had passed. My caller always wants to know if she or he can do anything. But, there is nothing that can be done, I must reply. Please don’t be taken advantage of in this way. Insurance companies will do whatever possible to avoid paying you anything. Please contact me as soon as possible after you have been injured.

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