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What to do after you've settled and problems arise?
Back on November 1, 2010, I was hit from behind while yielding at an exit at Lowe's in Georgia. After a cop came and took down statements from me and the other driver's information, I drove home and had my mother drive me to the emergency room due to the pain I was feeling around my neck and upper back area. I was seen and prescribed painkillers and a referral to make an appointment to see an orthopedic doctor which I did. I paid for the expenses of the pain medication from my wallet and to the orthopedic doctor as well as the bill from the radiology department at the hospital for the x-rays they took.
On the day of the accident, I contacted my insurance agency (Geico) and reported the car accident. The agent explained my options to me as well as requesting a copy of the police report. I chose to deal with the other insurance company myself (State Farm). When contacted State Farm, the agent requested the number of the police report so he could contact the police department to get a copy of the report and said he would send me a form to sign that would give her authorization to request my records at the hospital since I had already told him that I had not received the bill for it yet so that they could take care of it since it was the fault of their driver. I filled out the required form and sent it back.
Sometime later the agent called back and told me that the hospital bill total had been around little over a $1000 and offering me a settlement of $1725. Not once do I remember him saying that the amount included the amount of the hospital bill that I would have to settle with my settlement money. I refused the amount and later agreed to $2500 with the understanding that it was my settlement for my pain and suffering and paying me back for the medical expenses that I paid out of my wallet that I would not have incurred if it had not be for the accident; not that I had to use more then a $1000 of my money to pay for the hospital bill, which it turns out was actually taken care of by Geico for me. Geico's policy is to do that so their clients do not have to worry about it while they're waiting for their claim settlement.
Now Geico is calling me about the settlement and requesting payment for the hospital bill that they paid for. When I said that State Farm had taken care of, my Geico agent called State Farm and was told that they hadn't. So I called the State Farm agent that I had dealt with to ask what was going on. He told me that State Farm offers settlements that include the medical expenses and that they had not paid the hospital expenses and that since I signed the release form they didn't care anymore and no, I could not request copies of the taped conversations to verify this and hear what he said again. Yet looking back on the conversations which I had other people listen in on, I don't remember him saying that he the settlement was to be used for past medical expenses, just to settle with possible future medical expenses that might come about due to the accident I had. Nor do the people who listen hear that and what they heard gave them the understanding that the money was to pay for past bills.
Yet State Farm has washed their hands of me. And while I know they have no obligation to do so, it seems to me the fact that they refuse to let have a copy of the taped conversations is an indication that they're in the wrong and the agent realizes that he could get in trouble for not communicating correctly. What should I do?
Geico is demanding payment and I don't want to pay for something that I thought had already been paid.
Answer to What to do after you've settled and problems arise?
Most of the time settled claims cannot be reopened. HOWEVER, it is not uncommon when an attorney gets involved that the claim can be reopened. If your settlement was low and settled on the recording then there may be a chance that a competent attorney can reopen the claim against State Farm.
They will not listen to you unless you have an attorney. So talk to an attorney.
One last thing, when you are not represented, the settling insurance company often talk directly to the PIP department (in your case, Geico's personal injury department) to ensure that the subrogation of rights would be covered. It does not look like this happened here.
Talk to an attorney!
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