The insurance adjuster may ask you for your social security number at some point during your claim. The primary reason they want your social security number is because they want to “index” you. That means they want to run your social security number through their computer system to see whether or not you have a previous claims.
In some cases, they can learn about previous accidents, injuries, attorneys you’ve worked with, doctors you’ve seen, and much more. If you have a rich history of claims, you can expect that could backfire when it comes time to settle your case. Pre-existing conditions and claims to the same body parts in the past will be used against you.
Insurance companies look for any evidence of a similar injury from the past. For example if you’re claiming a back injury from an automobile accident, any mention of previous back injury will likely backfire and work against you. Of course, there is the notion of “aggravation of pre-existing condition,” but the difficulty comes in trying to assess how much is attributable to the new accident versus how much is attributable to the old accident or pre-existing condition.
Therefore, providing the other insurance company with your social security number essentially gives them permission to go fishing for your history. By the same token, the lack of any previous claims can benefit you in some cases. Insurance companies have grown tired of “professional plaintiffs,” people who make claims every couple of years for one reason or another. However, if your record is very clean and you have no pre-existing claims or very few, that can actually help your case to some extent.
by Robert Mansour
Robert Mansour is a personal injury lawyer serving Santa Clarita, Valencia, Saugus, Canyon Country, Newhall, Stevenson Ranch, Castaic and surrounding communities.