Insurance company accepted liability but will not pay for my vehicle unless I agree to settle on lost wages

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Insurance company accepted liability but will not pay for my vehicle unless I agree to settle on lost wages

Im a semi driver and was legally parked in
my semi another driver backed into me
causing a little over 13,000 in damages. I
have been out of work for a month my
truck is finally fixed but they will only
release the payment for my truck if I agree
to a settlement for lost wages. I do not
agree as it is way less then what I have
lost out on and would like to take them to
court for that portion but I need them to
pay for my truck damage so I can get back
to work. Is this legal?

Asked on November 30, 2018 under Insurance Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

It is unfortunately legal. The other driver's insurer does not have to settle your claim: it is voluntary on their part to offer to pay unless you sue their insured and win, getting a judgement for a certain amount which they and/or the insured will then have to pay. But as stated, paying you is voluntary until and unless you sue and win. Therefore, they can try to lowball you and get you to take less than you might be entitled to, the way any one can try to settle a claim for less than it may be worth. You don't have to take their low ball offer; you could sue their driver for the full amount to which you believe you are entitled. The problem is, a lawsuit can easily take several months, if not longer (e.g. a year or more) to resolve, and you will not receive any money until the end of the case (or longer, if they appeal).
You then have to weigh whether it is more important to get all the money you believe you are entitled to after several or many months, or whether it is more important to get some money now, so you can repair your vehicle. That is the trade-off you need to consider in deciding whether to take the lowball offer or not.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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