Recently, I was contacted by an driver who was injured in a car wreck. The driver was rear-ended and had a passenger. In the collision both the driver and the passenger sustained injuries as a result of the wreck. The Police came to the scene took the necessary information and cited the other driver for following too closely. Since leaving the scene the driver went to the hospital and was referred to a specialist for her injuries.
When she contacted my office it was roughly three days after the wreck. The driver contacted the insurance company for the at-fault driver and was told that due to non-payment the policy had been canceled and the at-fault driver was therefore uninsured at the time of the collision.
Interestingly enough, the at-fault driver contacted the caller and advised that she wanted to settle the claim outside the insurance company. The at-fault driver said that she would pay her a certain amount of money for the damage to the car but would not pay any medical bills for any injuries to her or the passenger in the car. The caller’s question to me was, is it legal to settle the claim that way.
While it is legal to settle a claim as long as both parties agree and it is a good idea to put the agreement in writing with the help of an attorney, there were several other things to consider. The caller was advising me that the doctor had taken her out of work for two weeks. As such, she had lost wages on top of medical bills to consider as a part of her damages. Most important, she did not know the extent of her injuries.
The at-fault driver wanted to settle the entire claim for a proposed amount of money. As long as this proposed settlement amount covers all damages that is fine, but what this caller did not know was is she still going to continue treating and if she was how much more treatment would she need.
It is not uncommon at all in back injury cases to just feel like it is an annoying pain, that will go away, unfortunately for some the pain does not go away, in fact it increases and after conservative treatment there maybe the need for further testing or more aggressive treatment.
It never a good idea to settle with an individual or an insurance company unless you are certain you know your damages and have resolved all treatment!
If you have been injured in a car wreck, slip and fall or Georgia Workers Compensation incident, call an Atlanta Injury Lawyer at 770-948-5454 so you can know your legal rights.