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Finalizing Settlement of Vehicle Damage Claims

An insurance company normally covers the cost of the damage. As a result, the insurance adjuster is usually eager to settle with the claimant.

The procedure that follows an acceptance of settlement terms

The claimant/plaintiff must sign a release. That release removes from the insurance company the need to cover any further costs that could arise as a result of the damage-linked dispute. That includes any costs that might be related to the injury of the driver or the injury to any passenger.

Sometimes another procedure might take place, as well. That would be one in which the claimant or plaintiff still owes money on the damaged vehicle. It is possible that the driver and policyholder might choose to arrange for repairs to what the insurance had viewed as a total loss. In that case, the owner of the repaired vehicle might forgive the remaining debt, if it is not a substantial amount.

What does the phrase maximum medical improvement have to do with the finalization of the settlement for vehicle damage?

Sometimes the policyholder simply assumes that, because the driver was not injured, then all other occupants of the damaged vehicle must also have escaped harm. As a result, the policyholder would not hesitate to sign the release.

That would be a mistake, because none of the occupants would have had an appointment with a physician. Hence, there would be no medical record for any of those same occupants.

Due to the absence of a medical record, there could be no professional available for stating whether or not each of the occupants had achieved the state of maximum medical improvement (MMI). Yet personal injury lawyers in Waterloo always tell their clients to delay any settlement until all the persons involved in the accident have reached the point of MMI.

Suppose one of the occupants had developed a condition with slow-to-appear symptoms. The existence of those symptoms might not emerge until after the finalization of the settlement for vehicle damage. As a result, that one occupant might develop a condition that would not be covered by the insurance company. Depending on the nature of the condition and the prescribed treatment, the affected passenger might have to deal with the prospect of complications, or the need for future treatment, perhaps surgery.

All of that would take place at a time then the policyholder could no longer hold the insurance company accountable for the losses. In fact, it is possible that the victim might not be able to link his/her symptoms to the events that took place on the day of the accident. That is why a smart policyholder would choose to delay any settlement until all involved individuals had arrived at the point of MMI.