As personal injury attorneys who have been helping accident victims for decades, we have unfortunately seen this happen too many times. A potential client suffers an accident—a car accident, or a slip and fall, or some other type of incident that causes her injury—and, initially, she does not feel like she is badly injured. Maybe she just feels sore or tender and she hopes it will simply heal. We can all admit to trying to shove pain away for fear that the injury is worse than we want to admit or imagine. For this reason, perhaps she delays getting medical treatment or gets no treatment at all. During this time, in the weeks after the accident, the insurance company that is responsible for paying her damages caused by the accident is eager for a settlement.
Why the Insurance Company Responsible Wants You to Settle Early
The insurance company responsible will often put pressure on you to accept their initial offer and settle the case quickly before you have had your injuries fully analyzed and your medical condition completely flushed out. Maybe that pain our potential client is feeling in her lower back isn't just soreness. What if it turns out to be damage to her spine that may require surgery? If she settles early with the insurance company for an amount that simply compensated her for a sore back—not a potential lifelong injury that will impact her ability to move, work, and take care of her children and household—our potential client will have done herself a grave disservice. And, the incredibly sad thing is, once she settles and signs the release in exchange for that small check, there is nothing more we can do for her. She signed away her rights. And the insurance company responsible got away with paying her a mere fraction of what she may have been owed as a result of the accident.
The Truth About the Need to Settle Quickly
There is no truth to it. The insurance company responsible is going to remain responsible whether you settle early on or you wait until your medical condition is fully flushed out and you settle later or file suit before the statute of limitations applicable to your claim. While the insurance company will often make you feel like their offer is limited and, if you don't accept it, no further offers will be coming, do not fall prey to this. It is a bluff. The only thing you should be focused on after an accident is your recovery. You need to put all your efforts into discovering the full extent of your injuries and the complete path ahead that will get you to the best possible recovery from your injuries. Once those determinations are made (within the statute of limitations), you can then begin negotiations with the insurance company responsible for your accident. You will then be in a much better position to understand how much you are owed and how the insurance company's settlement offer truly stacks up.
How to Get the Information You Need to Fully Understand Your Injuries and Recovery
This, too, is an area where we see many potential clients do themselves a disservice. They do not seek all the treatment they need or they do not follow doctors' orders and diligently get the care they require. Many injured victims feel they don't need an injury attorney if they only want what is fair, but the problem is many people don't know how to determine what is fair. If you bring an experienced injury attorney, like our team at Taylor, Warren, Weidner & Hancock, on board early on, they can help make sure you see the right medical providers and gather the right types of records, testing, and diagnostics, as well as vocational evidence, to prove what is a fair amount for your injuries. This takes a lot of skill and experience and is not something the average person deals with on a daily basis.
In addition, our personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis. Meaning, you do not owe us anything unless we recover more for you than the insurance company's initial offer, so there is no downside or risk to bringing in an attorney to help with your claim. The biggest risk you face after an accident is not finding an experienced attorney to help you, not getting the treatment you need to recover, and settling your personal injury case too early for too little. Let us help you avoid these costly mistakes. We never charge any fee or cost or require any obligation to discuss your personal injury claim and give you guidance. If you've been in an accident and have questions about what to do, contact us. We're here to help.