Reaching a just settlement after a car accident or other personal injury claim often takes considerable effort and time. Numerous state and local requirements need to be satisfied, evidence must be compiled and an agreement must be reached between the insurer or the negligent party and the injured person. There are a few more things that need to be done before a check for damages can be issued. One of these is the cash settlement letter. Let’s take a look at what happens after the settlement is agreed upon.
Cash Settlement Confirmation Letter
The next step after a verbal agreement has been reached in your case is to send a confirmation letter. This is basically reiterating the agreement on paper that was expressed on the phone or in person between you, the adjuster for the insurance company and your attorney. This is usually done within the first 24 hours after the agreement has been reached. The insurer may also send a letter confirming the agreement.
David will make sure that your version of the verbal agreement and that of the insurance company match. If there are discrepancies such as when the insurer undercuts the agreed upon agreement, it is important to correct them out before acceptances are made.
Sample of a Cash Settlement Letter
Let’s take a look at an example of a cash settlement letter:
Date of letter
Insurance company’s address
Re: The claimant’s name – date of birth
Name of insured person
Date of accident or injury
Dear (name of adjuster),
Pursuant to the telephone conversation we had on (date), please allow this letter to confirm we have agreed to settle my claim that is referenced above. The claim is settled in full for the amount of (your agreed settlement amount).
Please mail the insurance company’s check in the amount of (the final settlement amount) and the release form to me at the following address:
City, state ZIP
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Attorney’s name printed
In counsel for (Client – name printed)
Your attorney will make copies of the letter and send the original to the claim adjuster certified mail, return receipt requested (RRR). When the adjuster/insurance company receives the letter they must sign for it and your attorney will have proof it was received. The attorney will keep copies for your records.
You will receive a release form from the insurance company within a few weeks. Some insurance companies send the release form and check at the same time with the admonition not to cash the check until the letter has been signed and returned. However, most send them separately. This form releases the negligent party and the insurance company from any further damages related to the accident. Once this form is signed, there is no turning back.
Content of Release Form
The release usually states that you understand that even if you need additional treatment or the condition you are in at the time the release is signed worsens, you will not receive anything from the insurer or negligent party once you accept payment. The letter will also state that another claim related to the accident cannot be filed against the negligent party or the insurer in the future once the release form is signed. By accepting payment, you are saying that this claim totally satisfies any obligation held by the insurer or negligent party.
Pending Medical Bills or Liens
You are asked to confirm that there are no other pending medical bills or liens related to the accident. If such items exist, you will be unable to hold the insurer or negligent party responsible for them in the future. In addition, mention will be made that in no way does payment indicate that the insured or the insurance company admits fault in the accident.
Signing the Form
In general, the insurance company will not send a check until the release form is signed and returned. If you are unsure, it is better to discuss any doubts with your attorney before signing it. Once the form is signed, it is too late to make adjustments.
Get Your Questions Answered Before Signing the Release
If you lack the help of an attorney, reread the release form carefully. Make a copy of the form, and write down any questions you have alongside the statement you don’t understand. Call the adjuster and ask him or her to clarify the language. It’s part of the adjuster’s job to do this, so don’t have any misgivings about asking. If you have an attorney, he or she will not just review the form for your approval but will also answer any questions and explain them. This is a critical service provided by a legal professional, since one mistake at this point can mean a substantial loss for the client.
What Signing a Release Form Does Not Mean
By signing a release form, the injured party is not restricted from filing a claim against other drivers or even a government entity involved in the crash. For instance, if signage such as a stop sign in the area was hidden by foliage and it was instrumental in causing the crash, the plaintiff (injured party) could file a claim against the local or state authority who was responsible for making sure the sign was visible to motorists.
How to Send the Release Form
Once the form is reviewed by your attorney and you understand all of the language and possible consequences of signing it, it must return it to the insurance company. Make a copy of the signed form, and return it to the insurance company. It is a good idea to send it certified mail, return receipt requested. This proves receipt by the insurance company, particularly in formal correspondence. The settlement check should be received within two weeks.
If there is a claim for property damage that occurred in the accident and it was filed as a separate claim, the release form should not lump the two claims together. Payment for an injury claim is separate from that of the property damage. In the event both are included on the release form, the amount of the property damage must be listed in addition to the compensation for injuries related to the accident. Your attorney will ensure this is done properly.
If the Insurance Company Check Does Not Arrive
If the insurance check does not arrive within two weeks after signing the release, a complaint can be filed with the insurance board. It is a good idea to check with the insurance company about the check before doing that, however, a plaintiff has every right to expect a check in the appropriate time. In most cases, a state investigator from the insurance board will be assigned to you. Once the investigator has looked at the paperwork in your case, he or she will contact the insurer to question the check’s delay. Once contacted, the insurer will most likely release the check in short order.
The Auto Accident Law Firm That Fights for You – David Azizi
Los Angeles Auto accident attorney David Azizi has practiced in Los Angeles for 23 years. Angelenos know that if they want to receive the compensation they deserve, David is the one they need by their side. Super Lawyers agree. This well-known attorney rating service lists David as one of the top personal injury lawyers in Los Angeles year after year.
David makes sure that insurance checks, settlements and other aspects of your dealings with the insurance company are handled properly. David worked for a time at the beginning of his career with the insurance industry, so he knows its way of doing business. His job now is to protect his clients, and he does it the way it should be done. His 98-percent success rate speaks for itself. Just call 800-991-5292 to get started.