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Why is My Auto Insurance Company Making Me Apply for Social Security Disability?

February 24, 2009 by Steven M. Gursten

Top Mistakes Accident Victims Make: No. 5

People injured car accidents and collecting no-fault insurance benefits are frequently told by their insurance companies and claims adjusters that they must apply for Social Security Disability (SSD). But it’s a big mistake for an auto accident victim to consider a Social Security Disability application or SSD claim as separate from his or her personal injury automobile auto accident case. It’s imperative that you contact your Michigan auto accident attorney as soon as an insurance adjuster instructs you to apply, to discuss how applying could affect your case. For example, if you’re accepted too soon, it could literally wipe out your entire economic recovery in your third-party case.

In almost all cases, especially when a no-fault insurance company asks you to apply for Social Security Disability, you have to. But what happens next, such as appeals and other actions that an auto accident victim needs to apply, is very case-specific. This must be discussed with your lawyer, so he or she can point you in the right direction to minimize the impact on your existing auto accident case, and to avoid costly mistakes.

Michigan Insurance Companies Aiming to Save Money Can Ruin Your Car Accident Case

The practice of insurers requiring their clients to apply for Social Security Disability has led to abuse, of which our Michigan auto accident attorneys have become all too familiar: Some insurance company adjusters threaten auto accident victims who want to return to work, as well as people who do not qualify, to apply for SSD as a requirement to keep receiving their no-fault insurance benefits. They urge these accident victims to then re-apply and keep appealing if they are not awarded disability benefits.

The reason Michigan insurance companies are requiring their own insureds to apply is simple — it saves them money. But there is no basis under Michigan law to have a person apply for Social Security Disability benefits and then be forced to appeal after a denial, just because a no-fault insurance company adjuster is trying to cut costs.

This is where many recent headlines come into play, such as news stories about insurance companies that are crashing the whole Social Security system by forcing people who clearly will not qualify to keep applying on the off-chance that they might save money. The irony is that Michigan residents are forced to purchase expensive automobile insurance from auto insurance companies that are supposed to protect them by paying wage loss and other personal injury protection (PIP) benefits if they’re hurt in a car accident or truck accident. But once someone is actually injured in a crash, auto insurance companies soon require the injured person to apply for Social Security Disability, planning to transfer part of their contracted-for wage loss obligation to the public and government, by shifting the burden on Social Security. This is not necessarily the best thing for a case.

Auto Accident Lawyers of Michigan Auto Law Know SSD

Please keep in mind that if your no-fault insurer requests that you apply for Social Security, you do have a duty to cooperate, but your duty to cooperate has important limits. So call your auto accident lawyer immediately, because the best way to have a successful automobile accident case is through excellent communication with your lawyer.

This blog post is the fifth in a series on avoiding mistakes in a lawsuit, to protect clients from insurance company defense lawyers aiming to destroy honest, legitimate accident cases. To request a free, no obligation case evaluation from an expert auto accident attorneys, please fill out our consultation form and we will respond to your inquiry within one business day. Or to speak to an attorney immediately, please call (800) 777-0028.

Related information:

Social Security Disability Lawyer Advice

Social Security Disability Application Process

Finding the Best Auto Accident Lawyer After an Auto Accident

Michigan Auto Law exclusively handles car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state of Michigan. We have offices in Farmington Hill, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Sterling Heights.

Steve Gursten is recognized as one of the nation’s top attorneys handling serious car and truck accident injury cases and automobile insurance no-fault litigation. Steve has received the largest jury verdict for an automobile accident case in Michigan in four of the past seven years, including 2008. For more information about Michigan Auto Law, please read our law firm quick facts.

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