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Dear PoPville – Question regarding auto accident insurance settlement

by Prince Of Petworth September 12, 2011 at 12:30 pm 22 Comments


Photo by PoPville flickr user philliefan99

“Dear PoPville,

I was rear-ended a couple weeks ago. Luckily, I’m okay, and just had some minor aches/pains after ‘the accident’. I did everything I was supposed to do: called my insurance immediately, went to the doctor, got my car fixed, etc. I missed some work; although my car didn’t look damaged at all, it turns out there was $750 worth of damage behind the bumper and some scratches that needed to be fixed. That said, it was as ‘basic’ of a car accident as one could have and thankfully no one was hurt.

I went through the other party’s insurance. Now the insurance company is ready to settle with me. They suggested settling shortly after I went to the doctor but I said I would prefer to wait a week or so since whiplash can surface later. Now that I’m ready to settle, I have a couple questions:

(Disclaimer: having never gone through something like this before I declare my ignorance on the matter. I appreciate the reader’s patience with my naive questions and/or irrational fears.)

1. Is there anything bad about settling with an insurance company? For instance, would this in anyway look poorly on some ‘record’ of mine, raise my insurance preium somehow, and/or put me in a position where I would be sued or something equally intimidating that would involve me owing money to someone? Frankly, is settling the smart thing to do or could it end up having a negative affect on me?

2. The agent handling the bodily injury side of the claim has offered a lump sum, calculated by pro-rating my salary based on how much work I missed and ’emotional distress’. The car was dealt with through the collision center and everything was taken care of…eventually…but not without it being a complete pain in my arse. Basically I was told that I would get the are by a Friday but no later than Monday afternoon, then Monday afternoon, then told Tuesday, and then finally got it back on Wednesday. I opted out of the rental car that was offered because I knew I could live without a car for a few days (and I didn’t feel like being responsible for a vehicle when the hurricane hit!!), which I did, but it turned out to be a very stressful ordeal. I told the collision center I felt like I was being jerked around because they kept telling me one day and then post-pone it to the next. Finally, when I picked up my car I drove away only to hear a new, very obvious noise. I turned right back around to take it to the collision center and ended up leaving my car for two more days so they could figure what was wrong with it. It was eventually fixed.

Long story (kind of) short: am I in a position to ask for more money from the bodily injury agent for ’emotional distress’ related to dealing with the car crap, and if so, how do I ask?

3. What type, if any, documentation should I expect to receive/make sure I ask for my records keeping?

Thanks so much for your help, PoPville!”

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