After a car accident, many insurance companies will be quick to offer a settlement, in most cases to prevent you from considering any reason to contact an attorney.
It may be tempting to accept a settlement, especially if you have mounting expenses, but if you’ve been injured in any way, don’t say yes to any settlement offer until you talk to a personal injury lawyer.
Insurance companies are, by their very business, all about the money, and the most successful companies have a well-crafted campaign to lowball accident victims to maintain that success.
It’s easy enough, really, to take advantage of someone recovering from an accident who is in need of funds to cover deductibles, and many people don’t realize that they have a legal option, despite the many ads on TV reminded them not to say “yes” to a settlement until consulting with a lawyer first.
The biggest mistake most people make is accepting a settlement too quickly, which can prove costly in the long run.
Insurance companies may underestimate your medical bills or may not take into consideration future medical expenses, which would leave you to cover the costs from an accident or incident someone else caused.
When to reject a settlement
Generally speaking, you have two years from the time of the accident to file a civil suit. Medical malpractice cases also generally allow two years from the date of injury under the statute of limitations in most states.
Here’s what you need to know:
- An insurance company may not offer a settlement that is fair. It may not cover your expenses, you may be left with car payments on a vehicle that has been totaled by another driver, and you may find yourself drowning in medical bills after even a simple accident.
- You do not have to accept the settlement the insurance company offers, especially without talking to an attorney, even if they tell you that there is no room for negotiation.
- Your attorney will be able to determine whether or not any settlement offer is fair, and will advise you based on that opinion.
- If your injuries have yet to heal, do not accept a settlement. You have no way of knowing what could happen in the future regarding your medical condition.
If you reject a settlement offer, your case will likely go to trial, which could be a risk, since you put your case in the hands of a jury. Opinion may not sway in your favor.
When to accept a settlement
While many times insurance companies will make a low offer after interviewing all parties and accessing the situation, in some cases – if you were not injured in a car accident, for example, or if you are concerned that a jury trial may not see your case in a favorable light, it’s a good idea to take a settlement.
Here’s what you need to know:
- If your attorney has negotiated a fair settlement, it’s smart to accept it before the offer comes off the table.
- It could take months or years for a case to go to trial, and the process can be grueling, especially if you are dealing with injuries. Make certain you understand what to expect throughout the process, and know if you have the strength to endure a trial. If you don’t, and your settlement will cover your expenses, accept it and move on from the incident.
Los Angeles personal injury attorneys can help point you in the right direction and offer qualified legal advice so that you can understand your legal options when moving forward.