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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 6956
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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Hi, you just answered a question for me, now I have a different

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Hi, you just answered a question for me, now I have a different question. This one's complicated, so please bear with me. On June 26, 2010, I was involved in an auto accident. I was not driving at the time of the accident. I was the only person that suffered minor injuries from the accident. The at fault person left the scene, and it was deemed an "uninsured motorist" at fault. This left my girlfriend's insurance to cover the costs. The car was totalled, and paid for. I did not go to the hospital until about four or five hours after the accident. The insurance company would not pay anything, but the hospital bills. I accepted the money to pay for the hospital bills, and it has been this long. My question is, can I still ask for money for pain and suffering?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Hello again and thank you for your positive rating of my previous answer and for requesting me here.

The answer to your question depends entirely on the wording of the release that you signed when you accepted payment for your medical bills. Unfortunately, the odds are overwhelming that the insurance company required you to waive any right to pursue additional claims arising from this accident as a condition of receiving the reimbursement for medical bills. Insurance companies do not typically settlement medical bills without requiring the signing of such a release.

That being the case, the waiver that has been signed would typically be binding and prohibit any action for general damages unless the waiver was signed under duress or in reliance upon fraudulent misrepresentations.

There have been a variety of cases where settlement agreements were rescinded because the insurance company put tremendous pressure on claimant to settle shortly after an accident, constituting duress. I know of one such case in which the insurance company actually showed up at the claimant's house late at night with settlement papers and persuaded them to settle. The court said that the agreement was not obtained voluntarily.

Unless you can show something along these lines, and assuming that the waiver you initially signed precluded any other claims arising from this incident, then there likely would be no way to collect general damages at this point.

Please bear in mind that the above is intended to be general information only. I am not commenting and cannot comment on the specific facts of your case because I am not your attorney and can only provide information through this forum.

Again, I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX this answer helps you and I wish you the best moving forward.

Thank you and very kindest regards.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I don't think that I even signed a waiver. I remember the insurance adjuster was telling me that it didn't matter if I got a lawyer or not, that my hospital bills was all I was going to get, so I needed to take it or leave it, and said something about not suing my own insurance company.
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
I see. Thank you very much for your reply.

In that case, you may be in luck. Many states have a "statute of limitations" that precludes the filing of legal actions arising from personal injury after two years from the date of the accident. However, South Carolina appers to be unique in that the statute of limitations is three years from the date of the accident. S.C. Code Ann. § 15-3-510 et seq.

That being the case, and assuming that no release prohibiting further recoveries has been signed, an individual in your circumstance may indeed be entitled to compensation for general damages arising from this 2010 accident. You would be very wise to speak to your attorney concerning this matter immediately.

Please let me know if you have any additional concerns regarding this matter. Otherwise, I would be very grateful for your positive rating of my service.

Have a very pleasant evening.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 6956
Experience: Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
Patrick, Esq. and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you

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