If I was involved in a motor vehicle accident about a month ago, should I sign a waiver?

I was in the left lane, the other party was in the right lane waiting behind a bus. The other party then moved into the left lane striking me as he attempted to go around the bus. He pulled over and gave me his insurance information and his drivers license to photograph. I made the claim and also had included soft tissue injury to the claim. He then told his insurance he never hit me. His insurance company then denied the claim because he had no damages on his vehicle but they are still offering me a 50% payout for my damages if I sign a waiver to my medical. Is this legal?

Asked on June 26, 2014 under Personal Injury, California

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Don't sign the waiver.  The insurance company is attempting to pay you next to nothing because you haven't completed your medical treatment and don't know at this point your total medical bills, the amount of compensation you should claim for pain and suffering and if you have a wage loss for which you should be compensated.  It is not uncommon to be injured  in an auto accident without damage to a car

When you complete your medical treatment and are released by the doctor, obtain your medical bills, medical reports and documentation of any wage loss.  Your personal injury claim  filed with the at-fault party's insurance company should include these items.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering, which is an amount in addition  to the medical bills.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.

The insurance company's action is unethical.  It would be advisable to contact the California Insurance Commissioner.

The insurance company must know that you have a valid claim; otherwise, it wouldn't offer you compensation.  If you sign the waiver, you are giving up your rights and will receive next to nothing since you have not completed your medical treatment and as mentioined don't know at this point the amount of your medical bills, the amount to claim for pain and suffering and the amount of your wage loss.

When you complete your medical treatment, if you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance company, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the at-fault party.  If the case is NOT settled with the insurance carrier, your lawsuit must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.  CA has a two year statute of limitations in a personal injury case which means the lawsuit must be filed prior to the two year anniversary of the auto accident.

If the case is settled with the insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.


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