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Car accident. I am ready to settle and need advice on how to proceed.

San Francisco, CA |

My friend and I were in a car accident in early Jan 09. The other driver was at fault for merging into my lane but was in a lane for going left only. He hit the left rear side of the passenger door. My car has been repaired ($2500) and my friend and I have completed seeing the chiropractor. My medical bill come out to around $2500 and my friend was around $2000. My insurance covered most of the medical bills for both of us and the repairs to the car. I am now ready to settle but am not sure how to go about it. Do I wait for the other insurance to contact me or do I let them know I am ready to settle? I haven't gone to any lawyers at this point. Should I hire an attorney? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

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Attorney answers 4


As I am not licensed in your state, I can only provide you with some general information. I suggest that you may wish to review some of the Legal Guides I have published on,which deal with many of the issues you are now facing, including the elements of damages to which he may be entitled.

Since it has only been 7 months since this injury, can you be sure that you have reached maximum medical improvement ? It may be imprudent to settle this claim before you have reached a medical end result.

Generally an attorney would prepare a settlement package which would include relevant photographs, bills, lost earnings evidence and calculations and your medical records relevant to the injuries you sustained in the collision. This package generally includes a demand for settlement. You should not provide the adverse insurance carrier with any statement concerning how the accident happened or your specific injuries -- let your medical records speak for you. You should also not give the adverse insurance carrier any release for access to your medical records. Remember, the adverse insurance carrier is not your friend nor your good neighbor. The sole goal of any insurance carrier is to pay you nothing or as little as possible on your claim.

You may find it helpful to retain a personal injury attorney.


I would recommend that you hire a lawyer. The lawyer will not charge you a fee up front, but will take a percentage of the recovery.

There are many factors to be considered including first party insurance considerations and subrogation that a lawyer needs to explain based upon your particular circumstances.

The other driver's insurance company wants you to never ask for money and never hire a lawyer.


I would strongly recommend you consult with an attorney regarding your case before attempting to settle with the insurance company. Most personal injury attorneys will provide you with a free case consultation. You may or may not need an attorney, but regardless you should have an attorney review your case to make sure you are not missing something concerning the liability and damages involved. If you have a friend or family member who can recommend a personal injury attorney, that would be a good place to start. If not, try contacting your local bar association referral service and have them get you in touch with a qualified attorney.


I have over 25 years experience is trying and settling auto collision cases so if you want to settle your case you will either have to hire an attorney or send the insurance company a demand package. A demand package would include a letter explaining the liability and the damages and injuries along with copies of all the medical records and bills related to the collision and a wage loss verification if you lost wages. You will probably get more if you hire an attorney even after paying their fees.
Good luck and hope that helps..

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