Many of us have heard the old saying, “Slow and steady wins the race.”
There are times when that advice can mean the difference between a proper car accident settlement that receives maximum dollars and a hasty one that leaves money on the table.
If you are unsure whether or not the insurance company has offered you full and fair compensation for your car accident settlement, we recommend you consult with personal injury attorney Matt Boulton to discuss your options.
Disadvantages of Quick Car Accident Settlements
One of the questions you may be asking yourself is “How long will my car accident case take to settle?” It is one of the most common questions we receive at Boulton Law Group.
Maybe you are wondering about your case’s timeline because you do not wish to deal with the insurance company and the claims process? Perhaps you believe you have already received the insurance company’s best offer? Or maybe you have a more immediate need for the settlement money?
While we respect everyone’s personal circumstances, we also recommend you think twice before taking a quick car accident settlement, as there are a number of reasons an expedited payout could be to your disadvantage, including:
- Delayed Symptoms & After-Effects
Depending on the types of injuries you sustained in your car accident, it is possible a number of symptoms will not immediately reveal themselves, especially with regard to invisible injuries, such as back and neck pain, nerve damage, concussions, etc.
We recently spoke with a car accident victim who quickly settled their back injury case to pay bills. They did this believing that they were feeling better, however, weeks after cashing the check, their back pain began to worsen.
Unfortunately, because the car accident victim signed a release of all claims and cashed their check, the insurance company was no longer responsible for medical treatment related to their ongoing back pain.
Similarly, we consulted with the mother of an 8-year-old daughter who was injured as a toddler while riding in a car with her babysitter. At the time of the accident, the toddler suffered a cut to her forehead, among other minor injuries.
Shortly after the accident, the toddler’s mother opted to handle the accident claim herself and accept a quick settlement with the babysitter’s car insurance.
Now, years later, the mother had begun to notice that the scarring on the girl’s forehead was still quite visible, and she wondered if there was any recourse for additional plastic surgery costs.
Had the mother consulted with an injury attorney first, it would have been explained to her that future costs for medical care and corrective surgeries could have been included in the original settlement, however, because she signed for the quick check, this was no longer possible.
Examples such as these are why we never recommend that you settle a car accident case until you consult with an attorney and your doctor(s) say that you have fully healed and reached maximum recovery with regard to your injuries.
Additional disadvantages of accepting a quick car accident settlement, including not taking into account factors such as case evidence and your medical history.
- Case Evidence
The insurance company’s goal is to pay out as little as possible on your claim. This is primarily achieved by placing a percentage of liability (fault) on you for the accident, and the use or disregard of evidence can play the biggest role in making this determination.
If you choose to accept a quick settlement, and favorable evidence is ignored, your compensation will be reduced by the percentage of fault the insurance company has assigned to you.
However, if you request an injury attorney to conduct an investigation on your behalf, they may be able to secure evidence that refutes the insurance company’s initial ruling and increases the overall value of your car accident case.
Evidence can have a positive or negative effect on your case, however, it is important to take the appropriate amount of time to ensure it is analyzed correctly.
- Complex Medical History
Next, if the insurance company does not take the time to fully understand your personal medical history, it could mean a smaller check.
In addition to reviewing medical documents related to your accident, insurance companies may order past records in an attempt to connect pre-existing conditions to the injuries sustained in the car accident. In other words, they will claim your car accident injuries already existed.
For this reason, pre-existing conditions can negatively affect the value of a car accident claim, and if you choose to accept a quick settlement, it is possible you will receive less money due to the insurance company’s erroneous causation of your injuries.
Alternatively, a personal injury attorney will take the time to analyze your records and determine whether or not your car accident injuries are related to your past health history. This may also involve leveraging the opinion of medical experts and past case studies.
If it is proven that your car accident injuries are not related to your past health, or the car accident aggravated a previous condition, your attorney may present this to the insurance company and request additional compensation on your behalf.
With this in mind, Boulton Law Group regularly encounters cases involving pre-existing injuries. Our experience with these claims helps to ensure your past medical history is effectively integrated into the overall strategy of your case.
Should You Settle Your Case Now or Later? Ask Boulton Law Group!
Before accepting the insurance company’s offer, the question you should ask yourself, is “How much money am I willing to give up for a quick car accident settlement?”
Attorney Matt Boulton has more than 20 years’ experience helping injured Hoosiers determine how much their car accident case is really worth. If you have yet to consult with a personal injury attorney, we recommend that you speak to Matt for a free, friendly consultation.
Boulton Law Group provides Indiana car accident victims with a Zero Fee Guarantee. Our promise means that you will never pay for legal advice, and the only time the firm receives payment for its services is after we win your case.
You can speak to Matt by calling 317-350-2680, or you can write to our firm by using our confidential contact form. Matt personally reviews all website contacts.
Attorney Matt Boulton is an award-winning personal injury attorney with more than 20 years of experience helping seriously injured people throughout Indiana reclaim what was taken from them. His firm was created for for the client who expects exceptional service and passionate, successful legal representation.