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Insurance Company Offered the Policy Limit on my Auto Accident Claim - Do I Need an Attorney?

If you suffer serious injuries in an auto accident which was the fault of another driver, that driver's insurance company may offer you the policy limit, even if you don't have an attorney representing you. You may be wondering whether you need an accident attorney .

SHOULD YOU CONSULT AN ATTORNEY BEFORE SETTLING FOR THE OTHER DRIVER'S POLICY LIMIT?

Yes, you should consult with a personal injury attorney before settling for the other driver's policy limit. You should not take the adjuster's word about the amount of the policy limit. Before recommending that you accept the policy limit, an experienced personal injury attorney will do four things:

1. Your attorney will demand a copy of the other driver's insurance declarations page that was in effect on the date of the accident. It will state the other driver's liability policy limit. The amount stated needs to match the amount being represented to you by the adjuster.

2. Your attorney will also have the other driver sign a written statement under penalty of perjury which states that at the time of the accident, the driver was not in the course and scope of employment and had no other insurance which may apply to the accident.

3. Your attorney will discuss with you the option of hiring an investigator to conduct an asset check on the other driver. It is possible that an asset check will turn up property and assets well in excess of the policy limit, in which case your attorney may recommend against accepting the policy limit offer. Instead, your attorney may recommend that you only accept the insurance policy limit if the other driver kicks in some of his/her own money to increase the settlement.

4. Your attorney needs to make sure there are no other potentially at-fault parties to go after. This needs to be done before you sign the release because language in the release will typically state that you are releasing everyone, which would preclude later going after any other responsible party.

BOTTOM LINE

Even if the policy limit's a "gimme," i.e., the insurance company will immediately tender it upon receipt of documentation of your medical bills and injuries, you should still consult with an attorney before signing the settlement release. The attorney will protect your interests and make sure there's no more money to be had before you sign the release.

If you have suffered serious injuries in a car accident, call the Los Angeles auto accident lawyers at McGee, Lerer and Associates: 800-999-9948. We have been representing serious injury auto accident victims for over 17 years.