"Just Sign Right Here, Ma'am"

A Carroll County, Virginia judge has thrown out a purported "settlement" between a car accident victim and the insurance company. The insurance company argued that an oral agreement between the car accident victim and a senior claims adjuster was consummated in February 2006. The insurance company argued that the plaintiff had agreed to accept $1500 for pain and suffering and lost wages and up to $10,000 for any medical expenses incurred through the end of the month.

The plaintiff claimed that she did not understand the agreement to be a settlement of all of her claims. The plaintiff apparently had met with a claims adjuster just two days after the accident. They discussed the property damage claim and she gave medical authorization releases to the adjuster. Over a week later she received a phone call from a different adjuster.

They discussed several aspects of the claim and while the plaintiff thought that she was signing forms to settle for property damage claim the insurance company thought that it was settling the entire case. When the plaintiff filed her lawsuit the judge had to make a ruling as to whether the "settlement" was valid or not. The judge ruled that there had been no "meeting of the minds" and us there was no valid settlement.

Note from Virginia personal injury Attorney Ben Glass: having discussions with her claims to adjuster and signing forms so soon after an accident can lead to problems later. The biggest problem is that the insurance adjuster knows the rules and the claims process and you don't. Some claims can be settled without an attorney but Virginia car accident victims are encouraged to read Five Deadly Sins That can Wreck your Injury Claim before signing any insurance company forms.

 

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