But wait? The adjuster said, “They accept liability!”!?!
The adjuster’s statement of liability acceptance indicates their insured’s responsibility for the accident and their willingness to pay something for your damages and injuries. Liability acceptance doesn’t guarantee a fair settlement offer. The insurance company will likely contest the full amount of the damages claimed, and argue that the injuries aren’t as severe or were already there. The adjuster’s liability acceptance is the only the first step in the claim process.
Any Settlement Payment Will Require a Full and Final Settlement Release
Car insurance liability companies only provide a one-time payment for a full and final settlement release. Once a settlement offer is accepted, no further compensation for your claim will be provided. If you need money now, and the insurance company is willing to settle your claim, and you are still treating, do not expect the insurance company to pay you more later when you are through with your medical treatment.
Insurance companies are in business to make money, not to help people hurt by their drivers.
Insurance companies prioritize their financial interests over assisting people injured due to the negligence of their insured. Generally, if an insurance company isn’t required to pay something, they won’t pay it. This can place a significant financial burden on accident victims, who may be forced to cover medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and lost wages out of their own pockets.
Always a Possibility of claim denial or claim reduction
Even if the insurance company is currently “accepting liability,” your claim can be denied or reduced vs. what should be a fair offer. Insurance companies give out “discount” offers for a host of reasons. However, the main reason is to save money. Still, they will likely claim insufficient evidence, policy exclusions, overtreatment, undertreatment, lack of proof of lost income, pre-existing conditions, or even claiming that the plaintiff is exaggerating (“malingering”) their injuries.
Insurance defense lawyers commonly “admit liability” at trial but contest the damages.
Most car accident cases that go to trial are actually “admitted liability” cases. The defendant admits they caused the accident, but not the total harm caused. They acknowledge their client’s responsibility for the accident or incident but use this tactic to minimize the compensation awarded for damages. One rationale is that this is an attempt to help establish credibility with the jury. They admit liability to appear cooperative and trustworthy, so the jury should believe them when they contest the damages claimed by the injured party. Of course, in an obvious rear-end collision, how dumb (and dishonest) does it look to deny liability when everyone knows what happened?
Potential Options for Cash Advances
1) Borrowing From Friends and Family
Borrowing from friends or family can be an option for cash advances when needing immediate funds. Rent or mortgage payments are still due even if you were in an accident. Of course, nobody wants the strain on personal relationships.
2) Settlement Loan Companies
Settlement loan companies offer a way to access funds before your settlement is finalized. I’ve covered these before on why settlement loan companies are a terrible idea. These companies avoid interest rate laws that apply to banks, so the payback amount is usually considerably higher than even the interest rates on credit cards. The benefit is that the company doesn’t have to be paid back if you lose your case at trial.
3) Consider a Bank Loan
I’ve never seen someone do this for a personal injury case in Oklahoma, but the interest rate should be better.
4) Using a Credit Card
Some credit card companies offer zero payments for a certain period, typically 6 to 12 months if the balance is paid off by the end of that timeframe. If you have decent credit and don’t mind taking out another credit card, it is potentially the best option to provide a temporary solution for immediate financial needs.
My case just settled, how long before I get settlement check?
Annoying answer, but anywhere from a week to a month, or even more. Your first step is to sign the Settlement Release and return it to the insurance company. They'll then start processing the checks. Delays can occur if your health insurance/Medicaid/Medicare paid on the claim, or if there are any issues with liens.
If you have UM/UIM Coverage, you settle with your insurance company.
If you purchased UM/UIM benefits on your insurance policy, your company must deal fairly with you. This means evaluating and attempting to settle your claim in a timely manner. i
What to Expect With the Claims Process
- Report the Accident: The first step is to report the accident to law enforcement and obtain a copy of the accident report. Collect evidence at the scene, such as photographs, witness names, and contact details, if possible
- Seek Medical Attention: Even seeking medical attention is essential essential to seek medical attention. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent. Your medical records will serve as evidence of injuries sustained during the accident.
- Notify the At-fault Party’s Insurance Company: You must inform the other driver’s insurance company about the accident and your intention to file a claim. This is called a third-party claim, where you, the injured party, seek compensation from the other driver’s insurance company.
- Gather Information: Collect all necessary documentation to support your claim. This may include medical bills, repair estimates, proof of lost wages, and any other costs related to the accident.
- Negotiate Settlement: The insurance company will review your claim and may offer a settlement. You can negotiate this settlement if it doesn’t adequately cover your damages. It’s often advisable to hire an attorney to negotiate on your behalf, particularly in severe injury cases.
- File a Lawsuit: If you cannot reach a satisfactory settlement with the insurance company, your next step would be to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. This is where a personal injury attorney can help guide you through the complex legal process.
- Court Proceedings: If the case goes to court, both parties will present their evidence, and a judge or jury will decide the outcome.
- Settlement or Judgment: If the court rules in your favor or a settlement is reached before the trial, the at-fault party’s insurance company will pay the agreed-upon amount.