If you have been the victim of a car accident, you are probably feeling confused, stressed, and overwhelmed. Because of these swirling emotions victims of car accidents are vulnerable, and often times an insurance adjuster will take advantage of this emotional fragility in an effort to settle a claim for less money that is deserved.
To be fair, not all insurance adjusters will contact the victim of a car crash quickly after the accident and offer to settle. Not all will treat the victim with respect and appear to be helpful and supportive. In fact, often the adverse insurance adjusters will seem to add insult to injury and cause you, the victim, even more stress and anxiety by requiring that you provide them with a recorded statement, sign medical releases, transport your vehicle to their shop of choice, attend a medical exam by a doctor of their selection and other similarly disconcerting activities. They will run the gamut from cajoling to threatening. They may even coerce.
All of these activities are in the name of saving money. The sooner after the accident you settle the claim, the more likely you settle it for a lot less than your claim is worth. It also will likely result in you not receiving all of the medical treatment you need, or enough time off from work to allow your injuries to properly heal. The sooner you settle your claim the less likely you are to know the full extent of your injuries and subsequent medical treatment.
For example, let’s say a few days following your car accident you began to feel pain in your neck. You visit your doctor who prescribes medication as well as physical therapy. You follow the doctor’s advice, take the medication and commence physical therapy. At about the same time, the friendly concerned insurance adjuster contacts you to commiserate and offer apologies for their insured’s actions. They are sorry to hear you were injured and are there to help you through this difficult process. They assure you that they will pay the medical bills for the treatment you need
Now, in addition to “all they have done” they are prepared to offer you more; they want to compensate you for your pain and suffering. They understand you are hurt, that you are getting treatment and may even be off work. They are encouraging and are certain you will be better in just a short while. In the meantime, they want to send you a check for $500, $1,000, maybe even $2,000 to settle your bodily injury claim. You must need the money, they confide, to buy groceries, pay the rent, and fuel the car. In fact, they are counting on your financial desperation in accepting their offer. Reluctantly, you accept. You receive the settlement check, sign the release of claims and return it to them.
Unfortunately, your medical condition does not improve and you require a surgical consultation. Now you discover that you will require surgery to repair your damaged disc. You will also likely miss several weeks from work. You call the friendly insurance claims adjuster and plead your case. You explain that you will need additional funds to cover all the expenses you will incur, to say nothing of the additional pain and suffering you continue to endure. After leaving several messages, the adjuster finally returns your call. S/he explains that you have already been compensated for this claim, accepted their money and signed their release. They will NOT be paying anything more on your case. Sorry and good luck. Then the line goes dead.
As the above scenario reveals, if you settle your claim early you are likely undermining your rights and jeopardizing your future benefits. After a car accident, many insurance adjusters will want to settle with you early for exactly that reason. Don’t let this scenario happen to you. Empower yourself with knowledge. A consultation with our firm is free. Find out where you stand and what your options are. Remember, the insurance adjuster for the other car is NOT on your side!