Q What does it mean to "settle" my injury claim?
This is a little question that requires a BIG response - if you want a complete answer. But, first, let me just answer the question directly.
To settled your injury claim means that you have agreed to accept a certain amount of money from the defendant's (wrongdoer's) insurance company in exchange for giving up your right to sue the defendant at any time after you agree to settle.
The danger is that you may settle your case and not even know it. We often get calls from people who do not understand that they have settled their claim. Here are some examples:
If the nice insurance adjuster offers you money to cover your medical bills "and a little bit more for your trouble," and you take the company's check and cash it, you have settled your entire claim, not just for the medical bills you already have. -- no matter what further treatment you need or what continued pain you suffer.
Even if the adjuster tells you that the money she is offering you will settle your entire claim, she may not have made it clear that it means you have no future claim for further bills or treatment (including surgery that you may need because of the injury you suffered in this incident). Once you settle the claim, there is nothing you can do to get more money. (In the law, this is called accord and satisfaction," a fancy legal term that means you have settled your claim.against the wrongdoer.)
Remember: It is not the adjuster's job to reimburse (pay) you a fair amount for your injury. It is the adjuster's job to keep as much of the insurance company's money in its pocket and out of yours pocket as she can.
If you have other questions about settling your injury claim, get in touch with us by using the CONTACT US form on the right, or by calling us at 703-260-6070. We always answer questions. It is important for you to be informed.