Any car accident can be extremely traumatic and cause huge amounts of stress in the victims life. When you have been involved in a car wreck, are injured, and trying to cope with a damaged car, you might feel tempted to look for the simplest solution. One of these might be when the negligent driver offers you a check to stay silent and move forward. Yes, it is simple and free from bureaucracy. Then of course the liable party’s insurance company might offer you a “one time offer” that makes you feel like you cannot refuse. This too is a considerably easy solution. But….You should resist either temptation. Instead consider the following:
When You Are Offered a Check or Money from the Negligent Driver
Regardless of how much a liable driver might be offering you, you should not accept. They are not doing so because they “care” about you, but rather are trying to protect their interests only.
First, immediately after an accident there is no way to tell the full extent of the damages to your car. Sometimes structural damage is not obvious, or there is extensive damage to the frame. It is common for a car to be completely totaled even though from the outside it looks okay. The chances of a driver offering you this amount of money on the spot is doubtful.
Second, like your car there is no way to tell the extent of your injuries or costs until you have a full medical examination. Some injuries like whiplash, traumatic brain injuries, or internal injuries may not be immediately noticeable. If this happens, it is possible that when you do uncover your injuries, the manifestation of them could result in exorbitant medical bills that you initially did not expect. It should be noted at this point that you should seek medical care immediately following an accident regardless of how you are feeling. If you fail to do so, you could have difficulties in filing compensation.
Third, accepting money directly from a negligent party could make it problematic to claim any additional damages in a [state] court. Their insurance company may argue the fact that you accepted to an early settlement offer and did not expect to recover anything else. If you signed anything, the challenges might rise. Even if a personal injury lawyer can maneuver around this, you still might face unnecessary issues.
It is possible that you won’t be offered money at the scene of the accident, but only later by the liable party. In this case, all of the same factors apply. You should not accept the offer, regardless of how kind or generous it might be.
Always Call a Personal Injury Lawyer to Learn About Your Rights and Options
Whether the liable party or insurance company is offering you a “fast and easy” settlement, you should politely decline. It may be in your best interest to ask a lawyer to review the facts of the case and estimate the worth of your claim – which is likely much more than what either of the aforementioned will be offering you.
Many lawyers offer free consultations. If you would like to take advantage of a complementary case review, call a lawyer, like a personal injury lawyer Phoenix, AZ, trusts from our firm right now.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Rispoli Law PLLC for their insight into personal injury practice.