Unless you or another party have experienced personal injuries in a car accident that's going to result in a higher value claim, it's usually possible to arrive at a settlement on the phone. This allows you to avoid the process of exchanging letters with the adjuster to demand settlement and then having to wait for his or her reply. Within a few weeks, you should get a check from the insurance company. It should have a release document along with it. You are required to sign and return this release to the insurance company before you can actually cash or deposit the check. In some instances, the insurance company will send the release before the check to ensure that you sign it first.
Don't Just Automatically Sign
Keep in mind that if you have any personal injuries related to the accident, you should carefully read any documents you signed before accepting a settlement for property damage. Make very sure when you receive the check and sign the release document that it clearly states on both that the check relates only to property damage. If the document or check uses the term "general release" or something similar and does not indicate that it is exclusively for property damage, do not sign. If you are uncertain about either the check or the release document, insist that the insurance company add the term "property damage only" to both documents.
You Can't Change Your Mind Later
Once you sign the release document and cash the check, you have accepted the damage settlement from the company for getting your car repaired. After this, it will be very difficult (and probably impossible) to file a further claim if you find additional damage to your car. That is why it's essential that the repair shop looking at your car carefully examine it for any possible damage (such as a cracked engine block or a leaking transmission). All damage should be entered into the claim before you accept a settlement.
The Amount Depends on Who's at Fault
Your ability to collect in a third-party claim from someone else's insurance or from your own insurance company when the other motorist is not insured will depend on whether (and to what extent) the other individual was responsible for the accident. If you are found to be partially at fault for the accident, this will reduce the amount of the settlement you will receive.
If you do suffer injuries as the result of a car accident, you may need to context an experienced personal injury attorney. For more information, contact the John Tamming Law Office or a similar firm.