Car accidents can be incredibly painful, emotionally overwhelming, and financially stressful. The average cost of a bodily injury claim is somewhere around $15,000, while catastrophic injuries can cost a car accident victim hundreds of thousands of dollars. As an accident victim, you are generally entitled to recover compensation for your injuries. This compensation can be recouped from a traditional insurance claim and/or a civil personal injury lawsuit for damages.
If it’s clear that you were not responsible for your accident or injuries, the at-fault party’s insurance company may try to offer you a quick settlement payout. While getting some money in-hand right away may be enticing, it is important to know that accepting this early offer could do more harm than good. If you agree to take an early settlement you’ll likely have to sign a car accident release form, which waives your right to file a lawsuit for damages.
Car insurance companies will try to contact you as soon as they can after you’ve been injured in an accident. If there is substantial proof showing that their insured driver is to blame for the accident, they will be eager to negotiate a private settlement with you. These companies are not looking out for your best interest. Instead, they are concerned about their own bottom line and annual profits. The more they pay to you (and other accident victims) in a settlement, the less they have to keep for themselves.
In order to minimize the settlement you accept, insurance companies will try to manipulate an already stressful situation. They will use any tricks and tactics they can to convince you that accepting their early offer is in your best interest. Many times, insurers will put a clock on their offer and give you a very limited amount of time to accept. Why? They don’t want you to have the opportunity to consult with an experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney. They know that they will end up paying more in compensation if you are represented by an attorney.
You are more likely to maximize the compensation you recover if you are represented by an attorney after your Los Angeles car accident. Insurance companies will be represented by skilled attorneys who want to make sure that they have the upper hand. They know the law and they know how your claim should be valued. If you don’t have an attorney by your side you are forced to rely on the insurer’s assessment of your claim.
Many times, it is impossible to understand the true extent of your injuries and value of your claim in a very short period of time. When you hire an attorney to handle your case you ensure that your case is valued properly. An attorney will thoroughly investigate your accident, pinpoint all potentially liable parties, and consult with experts to determine how much your injuries are really worth. Your attorney will then sit down with the insurer, present information supporting your claim, and demand that you’re properly compensated for your injuries.
If you accept an early settlement offer you’ll likely be prohibited from pursuing additional damages in the future. The insurance company will likely only agree to pay you if you sign an auto accident release. This release is essentially a contract between you and the insurer stating that you are accepting compensation in exchange for waiving your right to file a lawsuit.
It can be dangerous to waive your right to file a lawsuit. What happens if your injuries are more extensive than you thought? What if you do not discover an accident-related injury right away? What if you find out that you should have been able to recover a lot more in compensation? If you’ve given up your right to file a personal injury lawsuit you may be placed in a very difficult financial situation. You’ll realize that the money that once seemed so attractive was not sufficient to cover the full extent of your injuries.
Have you been injured in a Los Angeles car accident? Has an insurance company approached you with an early offer? It’s important to know that accepting compensation might require you to sign a release and waive your right to sue. You need to speak with a Los Angeles personal injury attorney before you make any decisions.
Contact Glotzer & Leib, LLP to schedule a free case evaluation. We will review the details of your case, determine if the offer is sufficient to cover the full cost of your injuries, and help to ensure you are fairly compensated. Call today to learn more.
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