I had a rear end back injury but the settlement is not enough...

by Monica
(Costa Mesa, California)

I got a rear end back injury after getting hit by a car in a parking lot. I was in a parked car, someone trying to pull in to the spot next to me hit my left rear bumper. I was in a h2 hummer and he was in honda odyssey mini van, there was not significant damage to my vehicle, but it did put a hole in my bumper.

Two days later I was very stiff went to the doctor, then the pain got worse and I went to a chiropractor.

Their insurance company denied the claim. After talking to many lawyers I was told I'd have to take the people to small claims. In the meantime my neck was hurting more and more and after x-rays and an MRI it was found that I have bulging discs in my neck and bad pain where I never had any pain before.

I won in small claims but nothing close to what i owe and I'm still in great pain. Just recently the insurance company called me and said they want to pay the amount won and want me to sign a satisfaction of guarantee before sending the check. I feel they screwed me and don't know where to go from here. What can I do?

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "I had a rear end back injury but the settlement is not enough...":

Something does not sound right. First, they denied the claim and now they want to pay the judgment rendered in small claims court? I would have to agree with you that they may be the ones getting the better deal here.

I don't know what your expenses were in terms of medical and property damage, however small claims has a jurisdictional limit. Perhaps the better advice would have been to file in civil court where you can ask for whatever you wish in an unlimited civil case.

You may be able to still file in civil court depending on the statute of limitations in your case. This may also require that you vacate the small claims judgment, however because in a way you have already received a "judgment."

Be advised that once you sign a release of any kind, the language will be a complete bar to your seeking any additional recourse. So, strongly consider what you want to do before signing anything.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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