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Settling with auto insurance company on my own

Lothian, MD |

I was hit from behind in Maryland 23 months ago. My new car was totaled. I was not Injured At all. I never responded to their (my also) insurance company's offer of 800.00; I am a caretaker, and had many dramas in my life at the time. Now the 2 year statute of limitations is approaching. How do I accept the paltry offer, or ask for a little more, quickly?

Oops, I forgot to mention, my insurance company, Ge*** adequately reimbursed me for my vehicle. It was done quickly in April 2012 (date of accident April 1, 2012, State of Maryland). They offered me $800.00 that same month to "settle and close the case" , I said I would get back to them. Glad to know the statute of limitations for Maryland is 3 years(the insurance rep told me I have 2 years)! I would like to receive more than the 800.00 the rep offered me. Again , I was not injured; However, it was quite a hardship, and very, very stressful. First , does Gei** HAVE to give me anything at all anyway? Second, what kind of action can I take to request a more than that, and close this case. thank you so much, Elaine

Attorney Answers 5

Posted

First, Maryland has a three year statute of limitations. If the accident happened in Maryland, you can sue the at-fault driver up to three years after the accident. Second, if your new car was totaled, they should be paying more than $800.00. Was it a used car? On the date of the accident, what was the car worth? You are entitled to the fair market value of the car, plus sales tax (6%)and tags.

You can negotiate the total loss offer by pointing out omissions in the insurance company evaluation and providing evidence of the higher value. This is easier to do right after the accident happened by looking at similar vehicles for sale at www.cars.com, but is more difficult to do two years later since cars depreciate over time.

You can consult with an attorney to see if the insurance company is treating you fairly and if there are any other options. Good luck to you!

This answer is being given for general informational purposes only and is not protected by the attorney-client privilege since this is a public forum. The information provided does not create an attorney-client relationship. No communications with me on this forum shall be construed as arising out of an attorney-client relationship. If a client needs specific legal advice or opinions, he or she should retain counsel for advice or to undertake representation.

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Posted

Call the adjuster your were dealing with.

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Posted

If you call the adjuster and the adjuster does not give you the value of the car at the time of the accident (this is not the amount you paid for it), then get an attorney.

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Posted

The $800 offer you are talking about is obviously for the personal injury side of the claim, payable under the at-fault driver's policy. It is not uncommon for an insurance company to offer $1,000 right after an accident, hoping the injured party takes it and forecloses a future claim for more. It is also offered so as to close out the possibility of a claim even when the person is not claiming injuries. You can bet Geico closed out their file on this claim almost two years ago. They may or may not offer to settle the claim at this point, or may demand that you provide the medical reports and bills which support the claim of injury. If you have none, they could decline to offer you anything. Of course, it is worth a try. The worst that can happen is they turn you down or offer less. If you had any lost wages, or any other out-of-pocket expense, and can document that, then add those to boost the value of your claim. Good luck.

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5 comments

Asker

Posted

Thank you for your great answer. I thought they HAD to pay something. Yikes, my ignorance probably cost me $800.00. I suppose. I will still request the original offer. By registered letter? thanks again, and I will never treat any legal matter like this again.

Mark William Oakley

Mark William Oakley

Posted

Just call the adjuster handling the claim number assigned to the at-fault party. By now, there may be another adjuster who will handle the claim. Tell them you were too preoccupied with the property damage and caretaker duties following the accident, but now would like to tie up loose ends and close out the personal injury claim without involving lawyers. Tell them the $800 offer previously made seemed low to you, but you would now like to get this behind you. Ask them what they are willing to offer now to settle the matter. See if they up the number.

Asker

Posted

Good advice! I'm going to do just that. If they offer nothing, i may just change insurance companies (not that they care). Just one more question, please, so in the future we know,in general when someone is NOT injured in an accident, should they still secure your services immediately? :)

Mark William Oakley

Mark William Oakley

Posted

If you're not injured, you don't really have a viable claim, although as I said, they will usually offer $1,000 so they can close out the case without having to carry a potential claim on their books, which means they have to set aside a "reserve" amount just in case a claim is made in the next three years. Reserves reduce the stated profits of the company, which hurts stock values and dividends, so that is why they offer money to settle a no-injury claim--it clears many thousands more from their reserve funds.

David Raymond Mahood

David Raymond Mahood

Posted

And you should realize that victims of car accidents often assume there is no injury when in fact there is indeed an injury which does not become manifest until months or years later. So either accept their offer or try to negotiate for something more than their offer to cover any injuries which have not yet become obvious and manifest. Insurance companies are VERY well aware of the fact that injuries sometimes do not become provable until much time has passed.

Posted

Always best to have a local lawyer negotiate a settlement if you want the maximum possible compensation.

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