If I was in a minor fender bender but received injuries, can the at-fault driver’s insurer jam me to accept their settlement by a certain date or else waive my claim?

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If I was in a minor fender bender but received injuries, can the at-fault driver’s insurer jam me to accept their settlement by a certain date or else waive my claim?

No police were called. It was the other party’s fault. I went to the ER and was given 2 prescriptions and had 2 days off work. My car repairs are around $600 and his insurer wants to settle for $660; it says that my injury is minor and is going to dismiss my claim if I don’t settle by Friday? Is this legal? I am still hurting.

Asked on June 22, 2015 under Personal Injury, California

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The insurance company cannot force you to settle or threaten to dismiss your claim.  You should file a complaint against the insurance company with the California Insurance Commissioner.

Your property damage claim is separate from your personal injury claim.  The property damage is usually settled early in the case.

You should reject the settlement offer on the personal injury claim.  It is premature to settle the personal injury claim until you complete your medical treatment and also the settlement offer is ridiculous.

Since you are still having pain, you need additional treatment including physical therapy.

When you complete your medical treatment and are released by the doctor or are declared by the doctor to be permanent and stationary which means having reached a point in your treatment where no further improvement is anticipated, obtain your medical bills, medical reports and documentation of wage loss.  Your personal injury claim filed with the at-fault party's insurance carrier 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.

If the case is settled with the at-fault party's insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.

If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the at-fault party's insurance carrier, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the at-fault party.

If the case is NOT settled with the at-fault party's insurance carrier, your lawsuit for negligence against the at-fault party 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 personal injury cases which means your lawsuit must be filed prior to the second anniversary of the date of the accident.

 


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