If you’ve recently been injured in an automobile accident, chances are you’ve received a call from the insurance company. Insurance providers representing negligent drivers are quick to contact accident victims. Their goal is to convince injured parties to settle out-of-court and usually for far less money than they’d receive if they waited.
In nearly every case, this initial insurance settlement offer is unfair and it’s an attempt to avoid paying you what you deserve. But is it ever smart to accept a settlement offer from an insurance company if you’ve been injured in an accident?
There are a few things you should know before you decide whether or not to settle.
Insurance Companies Prey on Desperation
It’s no secret that involvement in a vehicle accident is inconvenient and expensive, even when you are not at fault. You might need to take time off from work to tend to your injuries. It might be necessary to call on family and friends to help you with everyday tasks. You might even need to purchase items to help with your recovery.
Facing new expenses at the same time you are unable to earn what you usually earn is scary – and insurance companies know you are scared. As nice as an offer might seem when it is presented to you, the initial offer immediately after an accident is a ploy. It’s a common strategy used by insurance companies and if you fall for it, you’ll get less than you deserve. In the long run, this could end up costing you far more than you imagine, especially if you are faced with chronic medical issues that require ongoing care.
Instead of feeling desperate in the days and weeks after an accident, speak to an attorney. There is no reason to panic. Working with an attorney means you’ll have someone in your corner, not only getting what you deserve in compensation but also helping you navigate the frustrating and frightening time. As an accident victim, you are entitled to certain benefits, and an experienced persona injury attorney will ensure you get those benefits.
Responding to the Insurance Settlement Offer
Now that you are in the right frame of mind, you can decide more easily assess any settlement offer you receive. Ideally, you won’t make a decision about any offer from the insurance company without consulting with your attorney.
When faced with a settlement offer you should consider:
- Cost of your medical bills and other out of pocket expenses. This not only includes the specific expense of medical care but also things like your mileage for trips to and from the doctor’s office.
- Extent of your treatment. Was long-term physical therapy involved? Were you unable to work while you healed? Was there any permanent damage?
- Potential future costs of medical care and related issues.
- Interference with the enjoyment of life or ability to live as you did prior to the event.
- Cost of vehicle repairs or replacement.
- Lost wages.
- Whether or not you were at fault in any way in the accident. You might still be able to recover money if you were partially at fault, but the amount you receive is less if this is the case.
Every case is different, so it’s important to review the details of your case with your attorney. He or she will help you understand what to expect regarding compensation, which helps you know when a settlement offer is reasonable.
An Accident Can Cause Long-term Health Problems
It’s also important to consider the long-term effects of your accident. You might think you know where you stand in the hours or days after the incident, but this isn’t always the case. Most accident settlement experts recommend waiting until your injuries heal before accepting a settlement. This is especially true if your injuries are severe and require long-term medical attention and rehabilitation.
The cost of long-term medical treatment after a serious accident can be astronomical. You need to know these expenses are covered and that you’ll receive the care you need.
For a look into the average expense of medical treatment for vehicle accident injuries, check out this https://www.debt.org/medical/hospital-surgery-costs/
The best thing you can do following an automobile accident is to speak to an experienced attorney. This not only ensures you are treated fairly and not cheated out of the compensation you deserve, it also means you’ll have peace of mind during this overwhelming and stressful time. For more information to schedule a consultation to discuss your case, contact Lyons Gaddis in Longmont at (303) 776-9900 or in Louisville at (720) 726-3670.