After a car accident, you probably just want to get things settled to get back to normal as soon as possible. If the insurance company offers you a check, should you take it? It’s not always easy to answer that question. You need to think about several things.
Do You Know What Your Case Is Worth?
The insurance company isn’t looking out for your best interests. A quick settlement may not mean that they think your case deserves that amount. The insurance company simply is offering you what they think you’ll take. It may be fair, but it may also be low. You need to consider what your expenses are now, and any long-term expenses you may have. Think about how your life will change based on your injuries. What type of expenses will you have in the future as well as your current expenses?
Who Actually Caused the Accident and What Are the Fault Laws in Your State?
The person who caused the accident is generally considered the person responsible to make restitution. In car accidents, each driver may be assigned a percentage of fault. You may be 20% responsible for the accident. The other driver is then 80% responsible and will have to pay out 80% of the damages. In four states and Washington D.C., you must be found to be 0% responsible for the accident to get any damages. Knowing how fault laws work where the accident occurred will help you determine whether you should accept a quick settlement or not.
Are You Signing Away All Your Rights?
Typically, when you accept a settlement, it means you are agreeing to a “release of liability.” What that means is that you won’t be able to go back to the insurance company to get more money, even if you discover injuries that you didn’t know about when you agreed to accept the settlement. The insurance company wants you to accept a quick settlement to alleviate them of further liability. It may not be in your best interest to accept a settlement until you have talked to a lawyer and your doctor about the true extent of the injuries.
Talk to a Personal Injury Attorney
Most personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation about your case to let you get an idea of where you stand legally before you accept a car accident settlement. The legal aspects of your situation may make a difference in your final outcome. It’s always good to have more information about your case before making any final decisions.