When dealing with a careless driver’s insurance company, it is important to understand that they do not have your best interest in mind. Instead, it is their job to pay you as little as they can get away with. So the liability insurance adjusters representing the careless person who hurt you have a number of tactics to convince you to settle your case much too early. A tactic commonly used by the adjusters involves offering to pay all your medical bills, plus some lump-sum of money, in exchange for your agreement to settle the case. This is a very bad idea for a number of reasons.
When you get hurt because of someone’s negligence, you are allowed to seek money to compensate you for your short- and long-term harms and losses. During the days and weeks following an injury, many people are overly optimistic that their injuries will completely heal. Or, in some cases, the injuries seem fairly minor. So when an adjuster offers to pay your medical bills plus some money for the inconvenience, it can seem fair. However, it is impossible to know what amount of money is fair to compensate you until you know for sure what your injuries actually are, what financial impact they will have (medical bills, lost income, etc.), and how they will impact your quality of life in the future. People often fall victim to these predatory tactics and settle way too early, before they’ve had the time to learn the full impact an injury might have on their lives.
Rather than feel pressured by an insurance adjuster, you should take the time to educate yourself about your options. You have absolutely no obligation to settle the case with the other person’s insurance, or even talk to them about your injuries. The only deadlines you have in a personal injury case are the two-year statute of limitations to file a lawsuit, and the practical deadlines of getting medical care reasonably promptly after the injury (within a week is best). So rather than feeling pressured by an insurance adjuster, permanently relinquishing your rights, and settling too early, here are some suggestions:
- Get prompt and diligent medical care, preferably with a doctor who specializes in the area of your body that is injured.
- Do not talk to the insurance adjuster about your injuries or downplay your injuries to yourself or others.
- Learn your rights and options by talking to a personal injury lawyer you trust.
- Don’t sign anything or agree to anything unless you understand the full consequences of the agreement.
While talking to a personal injury lawyer can be scary (we are aware that personal injury lawyers don’t have the best reputation and are actively trying to change that), doing your research and finding one you trust is the best decision you can make after getting hurt, even if you don’t think your injuries are serious. A qualified and reputable personal injury lawyer will take as much time as you need to make sure you understand all your options, so you can make an educated decision about how to move forward. At FVF, we will never pressure you to hire us, and will only offer to bring you on as a client if we truly believe it is in your best interest. Contact us today to learn more.