woman filing personal injury claim

Settling a Personal Injury Claim with an Insurance Company in California

What goes into settling a personal injury claim with an insurance company in California? A lot more than you might realize. Also, the consequences of what happens during the negotiations and settlement process can affect you financially for a long time.

You do not have to deal directly with the insurance company when you have a personal injury claim pending. You are allowed to have a California personal injury attorney negotiate on your behalf. Dealing with claims adjusters can be stressful. When you have someone who can handle that adversarial process for you, you get to rest and focus on your healing and well-being.

No Second Swing at the Ball

People who try to handle their personal injury claims by themselves rather than working with an attorney might not realize that they do not get a second opportunity for compensation after settling their claim if they realize later that they forgot to include something. When you enter into a settlement, you must sign a waiver or release of claims. 

That document means that you agree never to make another claim against the defendant arising out of that accident or event. If you realize, after settling your claim, that you could have asked for more money for your pain and suffering, for example, you will be out of luck. 

Completing All Medical Treatment Before Settling Your Personal Injury Claim

It can be tempting to grab a quick settlement check that the claims adjuster dangles in front of you, particularly if you cannot work and do not have a paycheck coming in. You should not settle your personal injury claim until you have completed all of your medical treatment and know whether you will heal completely or not.

Let’s say that you settle your claim and then find out a week later from your doctor that you will need to have surgery because the physical therapy did not work as well as hoped. The defendant and their insurance company will not pay one cent of those medical expenses.

Releases and Waivers

You will not receive the settlement check from the insurance company until they have a signed waiver or release from you so they can close out the books on this claim. Merely signing a settlement agreement with the insurance company will not be enough for the insurer to pay your claim. 

Is the Claims Adjuster Really Negotiating in Good Faith?

The claims adjuster might act friendly and helpful, but you need to understand that it is not their job to help you. Their job is to close out the claim as cheaply as possible.

People in California have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit asking for monetary damages for personal injuries. Even if you do not want to file a lawsuit, your right to receive money ends after the filing deadline expires.

If you were trying to handle your claim on your own as a DIY project, you might not know how much time you have left until the filing deadline. If the claims adjuster can drag out the negotiations long enough for you to miss that deadline, you will not get any money for your claim. You can talk to a California personal injury attorney about your legal options if you got hurt due to someone else’s negligence. For help with your case, contact our office today.