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Signing release for personal injury claim right before statute of limitations?

San Francisco, CA |

I just signed a release with the insurance company. The adjuster emailed me saying they will mail a check tomorrow. The statute of limitations end date 5/16/14. Someone told me I should still file a claim or have an attorney file a claim because if they don't send a check, then I only have a claim for breach of contract. I cannot make a claim for the injury anymore.

Is this true?

Should I still file a claim, or am I okay as long as we have a signed release?

The settlement amount is $3,600.

Attorney Answers 6

Posted

I cant say whether the settlement is fair or not. If they don't pay, which is very unlikely, you would have a claim for breach of contract for the settlement amount. If you file a lawsuit, unless it is in small claims, it is going to cost a fair amount for a filing fee, assuming you don't have to pay someone to prepare the papers as well. If the settlement is close to the value of the case, why do you prefer to sue for injury as opposed to suing for the amount you thought was reasonable or fair? Your case isn't worth more just because they failed to pay (again, I doubt that will happen). So unless you think the case is worth a lot more than what you settled for, I wouldn't spend the time and more money to file a suit.

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Posted

Without knowing your injuries, impossible to speculate, but best to speak to a local personal injury lawyer immediately.

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1 comment

Alex Gortinsky

Alex Gortinsky

Posted

Your factual scenario is missing a few key facts. In general, if you signed a release and returned it to the insurance company prior to the statute running out, you have a settlement. The issuance of the check may take a few days to week. You have a legally enforceable claim as to the amount of the settlement. I cannot comment on the value of your case. If you have questions, you should definitely consult with counsel as soon as possible, hopefully before your statute runs. Good luck.

Posted

The question you should be asking is whether it's wise to settle a personal injury claim without the advice of counsel, and the answer is No. That said, it's a bit too late for you to change course, but you should do something to preserve your rights here. Typically a release is only signed by the releasing party, so I worry that you don't have an enforceable settlement with anyone. Demand that the othet side sign a settlement agreement with you before the limitations period runs. If they refuse, get a case on file.

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3 comments

Asker

Posted

I am the releasing party. I signed a release with the insurance company of the person that was negligent. Please clarify.

David Lee Fiol

David Lee Fiol

Posted

To put it more plainly, you have signed the release, but they have signed nothing. To have an enforceable settlement you need a document signed by both sides that states the terms of the settlement.

Richard Todd Rosenstein

Richard Todd Rosenstein

Posted

Agreed. I never trust the word of an insurance adjuster.

Posted

Maybe, but I cannot be sure what you are saying. Did you call the adjuster? They can extend a Statute of Limitations by agreement as well, but tell them to expidite payment or you will sue. FIf not, file in small claims for the smallest filing fee. There will be people at the small claims court to help you if you need it.

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Posted

You have apparently agreed in writing to resolve your claim for $3600. The insurance company will hold you to that agreement and will pay you the money. There are specific laws requiring insurance companies to act properly, and they won't violate those laws for $3600. A lawsuit would cost you a filing fee, unless you qualify for a fee waiver. I think it likely, if they already have the release - you did keep a copy?- that they will have the check in your hands before 5/16.

The comments made here are meant to direct you to receive local consultation from an attorney in your area and ask proper, detailed questions to get the best legal advice upon which you can take appropriate action.

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Posted

It looks like you have written proof that the adjuster received the settlement release and is issuing you the settlement check. You should call the adjuster and have your send you confirmation in writing that the check has been mailed out.

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