If I sign the insurance check to get my car repaired, will it count as a release to the insurance company?

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If I sign the insurance check to get my car repaired, will it count as a release to the insurance company?

I was driving a car that was rear-ended. The insurance company sent a check to pay for damages to the car. 4 weeks later I went to the doctor because my left arm still hurts which was diagnosed as a slipped disc in my neck.

Asked on October 6, 2011 under Accident Law, Arkansas

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The property damage claim is separate from the personal injury claim.  Signing the check for the property damage claim does NOT have any effect on your personal injury claim.  Settlement of the property damage claim is a release of that claim ONLY to the insurance company.

When you complete your medical treatment and are released by the doctor or are declared to be permanent and stationary by the doctor which means no further improvement is anticipated, obtain your medical bills, medical reports and documentation of any wage loss.  Your personal injury claim will consist of your medical bills, medical reports, and documentation of wage loss which are filed with the insurance company of the at-fault driver.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  If your personal injury claim is settled with the insurance company, NO lawsuit is filed.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance company, reject the settlement offers and file your lawsuit for negligence against the at-fault driver.  If the case is NOT settled, you will need to file your lawsuit for negligence prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.


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