I Accepted a Settlement from My Car Insurance Company. Now What?
You’ve suffered a severe injury in a car accident and are scared because your medical bills keep pouring in. You’re also worried about losing your weekly salary because you can’t work. The at-fault driver’s insurance company offered you what seemed to be a lot of money, so you accepted a settlement. What happens next?
Hopefully, this situation doesn’t apply to you. Because if it does, and the settlement won’t come close to paying all your accident-related expenses, you could be in trouble. If you’re having second thoughts, you should still speak with a McEwen & Kestner car accident attorney. We still might be able to help you get the money you deserve.
Beware of Offers from Insurance Companies Directly Following Your Accident
When an insurance company offers a car accident victim a quick settlement, it’s almost always because they know their client is to blame. The insurer wants to cut its losses as much as possible, so it will make an offer and hope the victim bites.
This strategy works in many instances, and it’s understandable why. Again, accident victims face a mountain of expenses, and they will often panic. They worry that they’ll never be able to pay their bills, so they’ll jump at the first chance to put some money in their bank account.
The insurance company is well aware that the victim is desperate and will use that knowledge to their advantage.
If you haven’t yet accepted a settlement offer, please don’t do so until you speak with an experienced attorney. Your legal representative will protect you from the predatory behavior of an insurance company.
They May Ask You to Sign Documents in Exchange for a Low Settlement
After an accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will send an adjuster to talk to you. This adjuster will be a skilled, intelligent – and well compensated – professional. They’ll act as your friend when they get in touch, saying they want to get “your side of the story.”
Don’t fall for the kind act because that’s all it is – an act. What they’ll do is ask you a lot of misleading, confusing questions and try to record the conversation. When you answer those questions, you’ll unknowingly damage your case.
There are some instances, however, where the insurer won’t even bother trying to trip you up. It’s obvious their client is to blame. As a result, they’ll want to get the case over with as quickly as possible. The other driver might have been speeding on icy roads or acting in some other blatantly negligent manner. The insurer covering that driver will likely ask you to sign a document agreeing to settle the case.
If you do, you’ll be releasing the insurer from any other legal action. The settlement agreement is a legally binding contract stating you agree not to seek further compensation. It could very well be one of the worst mistakes you’ve ever made.
What if I Accepted a Settlement Offer from My Insurance Company?
This is where things can get complicated. As we mentioned, once you accept that offer, that’s it in most cases.
Sure, that check looks really tempting, and it could be tens of thousands of dollars. But what if your medical treatment winds up costing $100,000 or more? What if you can’t work for months – or even years – to come? You’ll find out the hard way that check won’t stretch nearly as far as you might have thought.
We’ve seen many examples where an accident victim settled far too early because they didn’t even know the full extent of their injuries. These people discovered that their injury affected their current job and future employment opportunities. Unfortunately, they wound up facing years of financial misery.
How Can an Attorney Help Me if I’ve Already Accepted a Settlement?
In most instances, there’s little that an attorney can do if you’ve accepted an offer that doesn’t cover all of your expenses (known in legal terms as “damages”). But that doesn’t mean you have to give up all hope.
The first thing you need to do is hire an attorney as fast as you can. There could be options you haven’t considered.
For example, you may feel that the insurer coerced you into signing the document. You might even believe the insurance company committed fraud. A lawyer may be able to look into your allegation and work to have the settlement overturned.
The more likely scenario is that your attorney will work to find other parties that may have contributed to the accident – and could be liable as a result. The at-fault driver may have been primarily to blame because they were speeding. But what if they couldn’t avoid hitting you because their defective brakes failed or a defective tire blew out? You could potentially sue the manufacturer of that defective component.
When you hire a lawyer, they can investigate to see if there are other parties you could sue. You could still obtain significant compensation if that proves to be the case.
How Much Money Could an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Get Me?
Once your attorney has the facts, they’ll be able to give you a good idea of how much your case is worth. Typically, the more severe your injury, the more money you’ll likely receive.
For example, a traumatic brain injury (TBI) will result in more compensation than a broken arm. While that broken arm will heal within a few weeks, the damage from a TBI can last a lifetime. The medical treatment will cost much more, so the compensation will be much higher.
Contact McEwen and Kestner ASAP to Discuss Your Options
The attorneys with McEwen and Kestner can’t stress enough that you shouldn’t give up hope. We may still be able to help deliver the results you deserve. Learn more by calling (800) 732-3070 or contacting us online for a free case review.