Injured in a Maryland crash? Here is number one of five at-fault insurer tactics to be aware of.

Perhaps. it is their ubiquitous commercials promoting their being " Like Good Neighbors" or being " In Good Hands" or featuring gekkos and emus, but injured victims of Maryland motor vehicle accidentts are often amazed at how shabbily they are treated by the at-fault liability insurers.

Their tactics  are often despicable but reward their stockholders and executives but often not their policyholders or victims of their policyholders. We are focusing on five frequently seen schemes to reduce payments to innocent victims of motor vehicular negligence.

Today Number One:  " We are only accepting part of your hospital medical expenses as the bills are too high." This tactic is very much in vogue and is problematic for many reasons.

First, it doesn't involve actual individual input whatsoever from any doctor familiar with the injured party, the crash or what hospitals would have been available.

Second, it contemplates  the insurance company having submitted the victim's medical bills to an expert familiar with the what constitutes a fair and reasonable charge for the services provided in that particular jurisdiction. Medical charges vary from state to state for a host of reasons thus a doctor in Utah can't really say what a bill should be in Alaska or Maryland.

Third, it also presupposes expert review encompassing a determination of what medical care was necessary given the injuries suffered without a doctor actually seeing the injured party on behalf of the insurer.

Fourth, it necessarily suggests that the injured crash victim could negotiate with the hospital or healthcare provider to receive lower charges consistent with what the at-fault insurer would accept.

Of course, the injured party can't tell the ambulance driver taking them from the crash scene to go to GW Hospital instead of Howard Hospital because they know it will be less expensive as hospital charges are unknown until after the services are rendered and the mission of the ambulance is to get the injured victim to the closest hospital to afford them the best chance of survival or diminished injury.

Necessarily, the care in the immediate aftermath of a bad collision is emergency care and any delay can be the difference between a sucessful outcome and death or permanent injury.

The insurer's tactic disingenously acts as though hospital and medical charges are like consumer goods. It might be less convenient to buy a shovel at Walmart but it also might be cheaper. A similar choice isn't available for hospital care as the service is essential and the cost isn't disclosed until long after the service is completed. There are no " price tags" one can compare.

It is much easier for liability insurers to naysay medical bills after the fact without disclosing why and they never offer comparative alternatives. For example, in a recent case Liberty Mutual " reduced" a hospital bill from $32.000.00 to $20,000.00 without providing any information concerning what evidence they were relying on or any showing that an available hospital in the area would have charged less.

The fact that the Liberty policyholder had been run over in a crosswalk by a hit and run driver and was in an ambulance didn't appear to enter into Liberty's evaluation.

One wonders if an insurance company executive or adjuster would think it fair to have their bills rejected if they were in a catastrophic crash and had sustained dangerous injuries.

The fifth and final absurdity of this unethical tact is that the at-fault insurer's determination that a hospital bill is thousands of dollars too high doesn't absolve the injured victim of the obligation to pay the bill. If the hospital with the " reduced"  $32,000.00 bill sues the patient for $32,000.00 it is no defense that the at-fault liability insurer thinks the charges are too high.

Ironically, in forty-two years of trying these cases, this author has never seen a judge or jury award less than the actual hospital bill and despite the bluster of insurance adjusters, their lawyers don't even try to persuade judges and jurors to consdier it.

The solution is to file a lawsuit and expose this despicable claims behavior.


Robert V. Clark
Maryland Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyer