Notify the insurance carriers and make sure everything is done correctly and your rights are protected with regard to all aspects of your loss. If you were injured consult an injury attorney to assist you with this process also.
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Attorneys are always being asked what to do in a situation like you describe, because (not surprisingly) the person who was eager to settle without insurance involvement later reneged. Play it safe, report it to your insurance carrier, and make sure to get the other driver's insurance information and pursue payment that way.
People talk big about paying out-of-pocket themselves and avoiding insurance, however, when you present them with the thousand dollar bill or higher bill, things change. Avoid problems and contact the adverse driver's insurance carrier and file your claim with them. This protects you from problems down the line. If the adverse driver fails to report the accident, you may have a hard time later accessing his coverage to pay for your damages. If you place them on notice of the claim, they will start an investigation and will probably not try to void his policy for failure to timely report the incident. If his coverage is denied, you can then turn to your uninsured motorist coverage for protection. If you have been personally injured, you should obtain needed medical care and treatment immediately and follow the doctor's advice. Do not give any statement to the adverse party or insurance company nor grant them access to any medical records. Photograph the injuries and the damage done to any property. Contact a personal injury attorney in your area as soon as possible so that you can protect your rights. You may also find it helpful to review the Legal Guides I have published on Avvo.com dealing with many of the issues you are now facing. The Guides can be accessed through my profile page on Avvo.com.
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Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.
This ans. does not create an attorney/client relationship.
Personally, I would submit the matter to the insurance company. In all my years of being a car accident and personal injury lawyer, we have never seen a claim paid out of pocket. The bills are submitted and the claimant always says "oh my gosh...I did not think it was going to be that much..."
A person who has a property damage claim and an injured claim from a car accident should always report the matter to the opposing insurance company. One of the most frequent calls we get as an attorney is from injury victims who were told the defendant would pay them and later did not when they found out the cost. At this point, the injury victim cannot call an attorney fast enough.
Avvo Email - Have no legal fearIf the guy has something to hide from his own insurance company, he might be willing to pay more than his insurance company would and with less hassle. Don’t jump on a settlement tthough. You may have latent health issues that won’t appear for a few days or a week, sometimes more. Your statute of limitations should be 3 years. You’ll likely want to make your claim well before then, but you want to make sure you get all that you have the right to get. Once you sign off on a settlement, it’s done, regardless of whether you settled with the person or the liability carrier.
**Disclaimer** I am licensed to practice in North Carolina. I practice out of Raleigh and Wake County. This answer, to the extent it provides legal advice, is fact specific, and only intended for the jurisdiction where I am licensed.
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