If you were seriously hurt in a car accident, it may be tempting to accept an immediate settlement of an insurance claim when expensive medical bills are mounting and there's no income because you're too sick to work. However, accepting the insurance company’s first or second offer may not be in your best interests.
Here are three reasons why you don't want to settle your claim too quickly.
#1: You Haven't Reached Your Maximum Medical Improvement
Maximum medical improvement (MMI) is the stage in your recovery when you've fully recovered from your injuries—or have recovered as much as you can—and your physician gives you a final prognosis. In California, you're entitled to be compensated for both your past and future medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. It's imperative to wait until your MMI is determined before settling your accident claim because:
- You can't know what types of medical treatment you'll need in the future or when you can return to your job—if you can return at all—until your MMI is assessed. You need this information to accurately calculate the amount of future damages you should receive.
- Once you agree to a settlement, the decision is final. You won't be able reopen the claim if you later discover your injuries are more severe and require additional treatment.
#2: Your Case Involves Unresolved Issues of Fault
If there are disputes with the insurance carrier as to who caused your car accident, it could try to reduce the amount it pays by claiming you were partially at fault in causing the collision.
It's better to wait until your legal counsel collects the necessary evidence to prove the other driver’s fault so you receive a proper financial recovery.
#3: The Value of Your Claim Is High
If an insurance adjuster offers a speedy settlement of your claim, it could be because they realize that you're entitled to a substantial amount of money and want to try to convince you to accept less by paying you quickly.
You should never settle your claim without first consulting an experienced car accident lawyer who can accurately value your claim, prove the other driver’s negligence, and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Were you or a loved one injured in a car accident in San Diego or Southern California? Start a live chat to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with me to learn about your options and how I will aggressively fight for your legal rights.