f you were hurt by the negligence of another person, you have the right to file a claim against them to recover damages such as your medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more. Unfortunately, many accident victims are not aware of their legal rights and obligations. After an accident, they simply accept the insurer’s settlement offer and only after learning that amount is not enough to fully cover their losses, they then wonder if they can file a lawsuit. For this reason, if you have been hurt it is important to understand the claims process, and what to do to ensure you receive a fair settlement.
What is the Claims Process in Pennsylvania?
Shortly after your accident that resulted in injury, the insurance company will contact you and will likely offer a settlement. At this point, it is easy to be tempted to take the offer, and you may just be happy they offered anything at all. Still, the insurer’s first settlement offer is likely not going to cover the cost of your injuries and other losses, so you should not accept it. Insurance companies are notorious for being difficult to work with, and for not offering accident victims the fair settlement they deserve.
Once you decide to accept a settlement offer, even if it is a subsequent offer, you will only receive the money after signing a release. This release states that you cannot take further legal action in regards to your injuries. When you sign a release, you essentially agree to stop pursuing legal action. So, after signing a release, you typically cannot try to sue for more.
It is important to take your time after receiving a settlement offer from the insurance company. Under Title 31, Chapter 146 of the Pennsylvania Code, insurers are prohibited from threatening that you will lose your rights if you do not sign the release by a certain date.
When can a Release be Set Aside?
Most settlements are legally binding. However, there are instances in which they can be set aside, or overturned. Fraud and coercion are just two instances in which this could be the case. For example, if an insurer fraudulently told you that you had to sign a release by a certain date, that could be reason to have your release set aside. A settlement can also be set aside if you or the insurer made a mistake when drafting the settlement agreement. Unfortunately, simply not understanding the settlement offer and release is not reason enough to set the release aside.
Our Personal Injury Lawyers in Pennsylvania can Help with Your Settlement
Most personal injury cases settle out of court, but those settlements are not always fair. If you have been hurt, our Allentown personal injury lawyers at van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin are here to help. We understand that insurers do not always engage in fair practices, and will help you recover the fair settlement you deserve. If you have been hurt, call us today at (215) 486-0123 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.