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Settlements: To Accept or Not To Accept

After a car accident, as you heal from your injuries, the insurance company is working to resolve your case. Generally, the other driver’s insurance company will assign a representative to contact you. They will take a statement and discuss details of the accident. Be sure to speak with an attorney before you accept any settlement offered.

After the Accident

Car accidents generally cost people a lot of money in medical fees. If this is you, you may be feeling the pinch, and may be in need of extra cash. The insurance company knows this; they generally approach you at this time with a low (too low) settlement offer. You do not have to take this first offer. It is just an offer, and you should consult with your attorney before accepting it. The insurance company wants to offer you the lowest amount possible, so they can save money. They are not looking out for your best interests—this is where your attorney comes in.

Oftentimes, the first offer does not cover all of your medical expenses and vehicle damages. If the insurance company sends you a check, don’t take it to the bank! Once you do, you have accepted the settlement and will not be able to seek further damages. Tell them you are not accepting the offer. Your attorney will go over the settlement with you and decide if it is fair or not.

Should You Accept the Settlement?

Do not accept any settlement until you are completely healed. If your injuries are severe, you could face long term, ongoing medical care. These are usually not included in the first settlement offer; your lawyer will help you negotiate these. Don’t accept the check too soon.

Insurance companies determine settlements by looking at standard injury costs. Your injuries may not be typical and may be more costly than the ‘standards’ the insurance company uses. You may be owed more money for your injuries, and you may also be owed money for things like lost wages and pain and suffering.

If you are disabled due to the car accident, you will be eligible for more money due to your loss of enjoyment of life. Experienced personal injury attorneys will get you the compensation the insurance company owes you.