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Beware the full and final settlement

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If someone damaged your car, their insurance company may offer to settle your claim directly with you. In my experience, their offer is usually much lower than what you deserve. That’s just how they operate. So oftentimes, a dispute will develop between the car owner and the insurance company.

The insurance company may try a trick where they offer you a lower amount, and then send you a check in that amount. If you disagree with the amount they want to pay you, be careful in accepting and cashing any check sent by the adjuster. Make sure you take a look at the check, and look for words such as “Full and Final Settlement” or “Payment in Full” or any other words that resemble these.

This is important because if you cask that check, and the check contains these words, you may stuck with the amount on the check, and will not be able to demand more.

This is true even if you strike or cross out those words on the check. California Commercial Code 3311 states,  if there is a dispute as to the amount owed, and that the payment is made with a restriction or condition (payment in full, full and final settlement), then you are prevented from pursuing any additional money for that claim. This is true even if you strike the condition/words contained on the check.

You should deal directly with the insurance adjuster on your accident claim

While I don’t recommend anyone deal with the insurance company on any matter unless you are fully aware of all of the risks, you should look into hiring a personal injury attorney instead. But if you do decide to negotiate with the insurance company adjuster, make sure you review the check carefully if you dispute the amount of the settlement in any way.

If you do receive a check and it does contain these words, hold off on cashing the check. Or return the check directly to the insurance company.

Did you suffer injuries in an accident, and don’t want to deal with the insurance company’s games just to fix your car? Give our office a call and schedule your Free Consultation. There is no obligation, no charge, and you’ll get all of your questions answered.

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