Have you been involved in an accident and suffered an injury that requires medical treatment? When you are considering whether to accept a settlement offer from the at-fault party’s insurance company, there are many factors that can affect your decision.
Generally, we advise injured people to seek legal counsel with an experienced injury attorney before dealing with insurance companies. Sometimes it may seem that the insurance company is cooperating with you and presenting you with fair settlement offers. Retaining an attorney can help you maximize your compensation and protect your rights.
Insurance company claims adjusters aim to pay out as little as possible in every claim. Simply put, it is their job to try and settle a claim as quickly as possible for the smallest amount possible. Adjusters will reach out to injured individuals (who may not have had time to retain an attorney yet) in hopes to resolve the issue for a fraction of what the claim may actually be worth.
When you accept a settlement offer from the insurance company, you will not be able to collect any further compensation. After accepting the settlement, you may discover additional medical problems or require more surgeries, treatment, and therapy. Unfortunately, if you took a settlement, you cannot be compensated for these medical costs. This is one of the biggest factors in determining whether or not to accept an early settlement offer from an insurance company.
It is important to remember that serious injuries may become apparent days, weeks, or months after an accident occurs. Seek medical attention immediately after an accident and continue to monitor your health for the days and weeks that follow. Keeping a record of your condition can help protect your rights as an accident victim and receive the compensation you need. This is why it may be beneficial to reject any early settlement offers from an adjuster and to hire a personal injury attorney. An attorney will meet with you, your doctors, and a life care planner to determine how much future medical care may cost you.
Another thing to consider is how an injury has affected your ability to return to work. You are entitled to receive compensation for your past and future lost wages after being injured in an accident. If a settlement offer does not take those damages into account, you should not accept that offer. A lawyer can help negotiate on your behalf and make sure the insurance company is acting in your best interests.
Although we believe the best way to protect your rights as an accident victim and maximize your recovery is to contact a lawyer, there may be cases that you can handle on your own. In a relatively minor accident with a small amount of damages, you could attempt to negotiate with the insurance adjusters directly and quickly. Remember: insurance adjusters are trained to handle claims negotiations — and you are not. If you fear being taken advantage of or not receiving a sufficient settlement to cover your damages, our firm implores you to seek out an injury attorney to represent you.
In situations where your case is complex, results in catastrophic injuries, or involves a large business or corporation, you should hire an injury lawyer immediately to represent you and never negotiate with insurance adjusters by yourself.
Making these decisions on your own can be confusing and difficult. An experienced injury attorney can help protect your rights and make sure the insurance company is looking after your well-being and best interests. If you or a loved one have been injured, contact Thomas J. Henry today for a free case consultation.