It can be a big mistake to settle a personal injury claim too soon, before adequate information is obtained about the nature and extent of the injuries sustained and further treatment that may be appropriate.
The general rule is that when a claim is settled, signing a release is required. No further compensation for damages is payable, the settlement is final.
A recent case of mine provides quite an example. An insurance company offer of $400.00 turned into a settlement of $115,000.00!
My client’s vehicle was rearended on State Route 101 in Scottsdale, he received treatment at Urgent Care. The other driver’s insurance company offered to pay $400.00 to settle his injury claim, they sent him a check for full and final settlement, the check was not cashed.
My client received further treatment for his back, neck, and shoulder injuries, he received physical therapy. As a result of the collision my client underwent L5-S1 laminectomy for disc herniation.
My client subsequently received the adverse party’s $15,000.00 insurance limits, and $100,000.00 from his underinsurance coverage. The $400.00 offer resulted in a personal injury settlement of $115,000.00.
The insurance company is interested in settling a valid claim for the least amount it can, early in the process. An insurance company personal injury settlement offer should be carefully evaluated before it is accepted.