DBA Insurance Index Bureaus Case Study: Ex-Military Mike
Mike is ex-military. He served in Iraq and after getting out, he heard about the big money that could be made working as an overseas civilian contractor. Sound familiar? When Mike was working in Afghanistan as a security consultant his back was injured while bouncing around an armored vehicle. This actually happens quite a bit. We get calls every month it seems where this is how folks get injured.
Mike reports his injury and is seen by a medic in-theater. But carrying full kit gets to be too much for him.
Mike goes home to get medical treatment. His doctor prescribes conservative treatment. Meaning - meds, ice and physical therapy.
When Mike is a passenger in his car (his wife is driving), some idiot who is texting while driving slams into the rear of their truck at a stop light. There is moderate damage to Mike’s truck.
Mike doesn’t get medical treatment. But his back pain increases. Mike figures it doesn’t hurt that much more, so he sucks it up. Of course, Mike isn’t at fault for getting rear-ended. But what Mike does next - or more specifically doesn’t do next - is Mike’s fault.
Mike doesn’t tell his orthopedic doctor about the car crash.
As my Mom said, “The webs we weave when we intend to deceive.”
Turns out Mike’s wife makes an insurance claim against the other driver. The insurance company contacts her to get a statement. Seeing as she has done nothing wrong, she agrees to give the statement to the investigator. She truthfully says that Mike was in the car and that he had said he had “re-injured” his back in the car crash.
Since Mike's pain in his back went back to the same level that it had been pre-car crash - Mike doesn’t pursue an insurance claim for his back injury. But, nevertheless, his social security number is associated with the car crash by his insurance company.
What you may not know is the insurance companies have insurance index bureaus. They have had them for years. Only now, they also have computer databases.
Insurance Index Bureau: A clearinghouse where insurers and self-insured companies file reports of claims. A search is done for matches based upon a claimants name and social security number.
Mike was busted. As Robert Hunter said, “...Set up, like a bowling pin. Knocked down...”
Only this time, Mike set up his own pin.
Fast forward - two years later. Mike’s doctor - Dr. Orthopedist isn’t too happy. If you were him, would you be? Sure Mike has an MRI that shows significant impingement on the spine nerve root. Only it was taken after the car crash.
Dr. Orthopedist says, “I can’t tell if the back injury was caused by the overseas incident or the state-side car crash.” Like I said, can’t blame him for feeling like he got punked by Mike.
Where Mike Went Wrong
Following the car crash, Mike should have gone immediately to see his doctor. He should have told the doctor exactly what happened. Mike's story today, “I had an increase in pain, but in two days it was back to the same level as before the car crash,” would have sounded a lot more believable if he hadn’t waited two years to tell it.
If he hadn’t gotten busted by the DBA insurance company doctor. If he hadn’t denied being in any vehicle accidents when his deposition was taken. Only if....
It would have all sounded believable if Mike had been 100% truthful and honest. It doesn’t sound so truthful now. Does it to you?
Don’t Be Like Mike
Remember the DBA corollary, I talked about earlier? If you aren’t truthful or if you “forget” to volunteer stuff that you think will hurt your case - you will get less money. Depend on it. Mike found out the hard way.
Mike isn’t a bad guy. But when you are afraid, you can do dumb things. My advice: if you think that you need to hide something - that is probably the one thing that you need to be most candid about. Not sure? My strong advice is to talk to the most honest DBA lawyer that you can find. Now. Don’t wait another day.
We were able to get Mike’s case settled. That’s the good news. The last thing Mike needed was to parade his story “Dear Bubba” in front of the judge. But Mike got much less than if he hadn’t tried to play hide and seek with his car crash.
Like I said, don’t be like Mike.