So you’ve been in a car accident, you’ve been hurt, you car is smashed, you’ve missed work, and the bills are piling up. Suddenly, an insurance company tells you that they’ll send you money if you’ll just sign a piece of paper. Sounds great, it’s just what you need right?
Well, maybe, but if you’re not careful, you may regret taking their first offer. Here’s my guide to what you should do before accepting their money.
Step 1 – Take a Breath
The last thing you want to do is rush into something. If the accident was recent, you probably don’t know what your medical bills are going be yet. Worse, you may not know whether you’re going to need ongoing treatment for your injuries. If you settle all your claims right away, you might be stuck with future medical bills that you can’t afford. It’s tempting to look at the offer then look at your bills and pull the trigger, but you’re almost always better off waiting a while before signing anything.
Step 2 – Read the Fine Print
Not all offers from insurance companies are created equal. If they’re offering you Medical Payments coverage, you may be able to take to cover your medical bills without waiving your right to recover compensation later. But, if you’re being offered a settlement, you will have to give up your right to recover anything in the future in return for the money. That means you won’t be able to make them pay more even if you are injured worse than you thought you were.
Step 3 – Talk to a Lawyer
I almost put this right at the beginning, it’s that important. Most people are involved in very few accidents in their lives and know almost nothing about personal injury law. A personal injury lawyer can help you understand the claim process, work out the best time to negotiate with the insurance company, can calculate what damages are recoverable, and may even be able to negotiate with your doctors to delay payments until a settlement is reached. They will also be able to honestly tell you whether you’re likely to win the case are if it goes to litigation.
If you only remember one thing from this article, it should be this: insurance companies are not your friends. Sometimes these insurance companies work in bad faith and may want to pay you as little as possible for your claim even if you’ve been paying your premiums for years. You deserve to recover everything you’re entitled to. If you want me to help you do that, you can contact me here.