I was involved in a car accident. The other party was found liable however did not have valid insurance at the time of the accident. My insurance company filed an uninsured motorist bodily injury claim and now only offers to pay for a third of what my physical therapy costs (what they deem "reasonable"). What should I do? Should I sign the release/settlement?
When you are hit by an uninsured driver and your own auto policy includes coverage for such incidents, as it sounds like yours does, your insurer essentially steps into the shoes of the liable uninsured driver. Just because your insurer is now handling the claim does not mean that they will treat you fairly.
I encourage you to speak to an attorney about this. This can be done over the phone for free. You are welcome to call my office as we handle these types of cases regularly. Whether you choose to call my office or another, you will want to have your own auto policy handy to reference. Particularly the coverage limits of your uninsured bodily injury policy. All information about the accident and also a timeline and history of your medical treatment. Of course, it will also be important to know if you are still treating or feel your injuries have resolved.
At this stage I would encourage you not to sign any release. However, you are allowed to accept funds from your insurer while still retaining the right to demand more in the future. If your insurer has said they believe the claim is worth a set figure, demand they send you that sum immediately, but make sure they understand that you do not believe the claim is resolved.
Uninsured claims have a statute of limitations, just as a third party claim, so please don't wait to contact a legal professional to make sure all of your rights are protected.
It is possible that your insurance company is trying to take advantage of you being unrepresented. Contact an experienced auto accident attorney in your area for a free consultation. Good luck.
Steven A. Schwartz
JOEL H. SCHWARTZ, P.C.
One Washington Mall, 16th floor
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 250-2072 fax
No. You should get an attorney and demand arbitration under the policy. A good attorney can review the medical records and bills, present them to your insurance carrier, try to negotiate a higher, more reasonable settlement and, if necessary, conduct an arbitration on the matter. An arbitration is like a trial with the ability to present evidence to a trier of fact (an arbitrator -- usually a retired judge or attorney with many years of experience) to argue for a higher award. You may also file suit against the party that was at fault but, depending upon their assets, you may or may not be able to recover anything there.
Hope this helps.
Do not sign any releases and contact an experienced personal injury attorney. Dealing with insurance companies can be tedious and difficult and an attorney who is experienced in personal injury will know how to manage your case to ensure you are protected. Depending on the severity of the accident, you may be entitled to:
lost wages from time taken off of work
pain and suffering
Under these circumstances your relationship with your insurance company are now adverserial, meaning that your interest in obtaining compensation and payment for your medical expenses are contrary to your insurance company's interest in keeping its money.
Here in New York you would have the choice of proceeding in arbitration or traditional state court liitigation. As that may differ in California, you should contact an experienced, local attorney immediately to represent you against your insurance company.
Don't sign anything until you speak with an attorney.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.
If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.
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.
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