The insurance company has made an offer for your injury claim — now what?
Let’s say you’ve been hurt in a motor vehicle accident due to someone else’s careless actions. The other driver’s insurance company might contact you to offer a cash settlement. Should you accept?
It might be tempting to say “yes.” At first, it might seem like a generous offer. But you should be aware of the following dangers of accepting an offer too soon:
1) You don’t know the full extent of your injuries.
You might have an initial diagnosis. You might even have undergone a few weeks of treatment, with some signs of improvement. But until more time goes by, you don’t know how fully you’ll recover. Your progress might plateau. You might end up with a permanent impairment affecting your ability to work and to participate in your daily activities.
2) You haven’t accounted for loss of future income.
If you’re unable to do the work you’re trained to do, you could be facing a huge loss of future income. This is especially true if you have 20 or 30 years of your working life ahead of you. It can be tricky to figure out just how much you stand to lose.
3) You haven’t accounted for new expenses.
It can be easy to overlook these. For example, perhaps you used to do all of your own snow shoveling and grass cutting. Now your injuries make this work difficult and painful, so you need to hire someone else to do it. New expenses like this can add up to a large amount over time!
4) You haven’t consulted independent experts.
Many experts are available to ensure that you take all of your likely losses into account. For example, a financial expert can add up expected expenses and losses and adjust the amount to account for future inflation. Figuring out what type of work you can do in the future, meanwhile, is something that a vocational expert can help answer.
5) You haven’t sought legal advice.
This might be the first (and hopefully last!) time that you’ve been injured in a serious accident. All of the issues are new to you, including your legal rights. That’s a good reason to speak with a personal injury lawyer who deals with these issues day in and day out. A personal injury lawyer will ensure that you receive the full, fair settlement to which you’re entitled.
These are just a few issues to consider if an insurance company has made you an offer. If you have any questions about your personal injury rights, please contact me.