Victims of vehicle crashes, slip and fall incidents, and other accidents are often surprised to learn that most of these cases are resolved before trial via out-of-court settlements. The US Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that just 4-5% of all personal injury claims are decided by a jury or judge, so the remaining cases never get to the verdict stage. This might sound like good news if you were hurt in an accident, since it means you do not need to go to court and can recover compensation as soon as you agree to the settlement amount.
However, there are significant risks involved with settling too quickly. Even though a settlement offer might seem attractive, you could make a critical mistake by accepting before you understand the big picture. Some general information should convince you why you should trust a Miami personal injury attorney to represent you in connection with settlement negotiations.
The Role of the Insurance Company
Most accident cases start by filing a claim with the responsible party’s insurer for auto, property, homeowner, or business insurance coverage – depending on the accident circumstances. You can expect a claims adjuster to call shortly after the accident to confirm your contact details, but you might also receive an offer to settle. It may come as a surprise that the insurer will want to resolve your claim so quickly, and there can be no doubt it will sound tempting. You could receive compensation right away, you will not have to go to court, and you know you will recover damages.
However, keep in mind one key point. The insurer is trying to protect its profits, which means paying out as little as possible to accident victims like you. If the adjuster is offering to settle so soon after the accident, the underlying reason might be getting you to agree to compensation that is far lower than the value of your claim.
Risks Involved with Settling Too Soon
By focusing on the disadvantages of agreeing to a quick settlement, you can see how doing so could adversely impact your rights.
- When you agree to settlement, you will sign a release in which you give up any remedies or options to seek additional compensation.
- If your condition worsens and you need additional medical treatment, the costs are your responsibility.
- You could miss additional work, so you might lose additional income.
- You do not fully know how your injuries will affect your quality of life, since you could experience pain and suffering for an extended period of time.
Consult with a Miami Personal Injury Lawyer Before Agreeing to Settlement
If you were hurt in an accident and an insurer reached out to you with a settlement offer, your best response should be providing your attorney’s contact information. You put your rights at risk by accepting the first offer, and you could harm your interests just by discussing the claim with an insurance adjuster. To learn how our team can guide you through the legal process, please contact Gerson & Schwartz, PA to set up a free consultation at our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach.