Before you accept the insurance companies’ settlement offer, there are three important things you should consider.
The aftermath of a car accident can take a toll on you emotionally and financially. A quick payout offered by the at-fault driver’s insurance company sounds like a dream. They are offering you some quick cash you can then use to get yourself back on your feet.
However, before you sign on the dotted line and accept their offer, there are three things you should consider:
1. How Much Your Case Is Worth
The insurance company knows how much your case is worth. After all, they have a lot of experience with this sort of thing. But do you?
A car accident settlement should account for:
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Mental health treatment
- Future medical needs related to your current injuries/conditions
- Costs you’ve added because of the accident (like car rental costs if yours cannot be used)
When you add all these costs, especially the future ones that have to be estimated, that can reach a big final amount, and there is simply no way an insurance company will offer that right in the beginning. Instead, they will usually present a lowball offer and urge you to accept it. And if you’re pressed for time, you may want to accept it, even if it’s nowhere near what you’re entitled to.
2. Those Parts the Insurance Adjuster Doesn’t Mention
The settlement document can have some clauses the insurance company won’t take the time to explain to you. One of the most damaging is a liability release.
This, if you sign it, generally means you waive your right to seek any future reimbursements or damages that may appear later in the game. So, for instance, if your medical condition worsens and you need more treatment than initially thought, you cannot go back to the insurance company and re-negotiate, even if technically you’d have this right. You should carefully read the settlement to have a full understanding of what you’re signing.
3. How Much They Insist You Should Accept the Offer
Again, the insurance company knows exactly what your case is worth. And sometimes, car accident claims can be worth a lot, which is bad news for the company. So they offer a lower settlement and try to convince you to sign it.
They may be very adamant that this is a generous offer, that they’re sympathetic to your situation, and that you should accept the offer fast. They may even threaten to pull the offer soon to give you an extra jolt. The thing is, if the insurance seems a bit desperate to get you to sign, it may be because your case is worth a lot, more than you ever thought.
Speak With an Experienced Attorney Before You Sign Anything
Don’t sign any settlement before you discuss it with an experienced attorney. Your case may be worth a lot more than the insurance company is claiming. Your attorney can review the details of you case and help you protect your right to the full amount of compensation you are entitled to.
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