It Was Just a Fender Bender; I Think I’ll Take The Early Settlement Offer
Posted On March 30, 2021
Author: Gordon McKernan
Fender Benders and Early Settlement Offers
It was just a fender bender. No need to involve insurance companies and raise your rates, right? You’re just a little sore, nothing major, right? Your life is busy, and you want your car fixed to get back to normal.
Most individuals avoid filing an insurance claim in fear of their rates increasing, regardless of who is at fault. Also, the time, frustration, and intimidation of dealing with the insurance companies can be overwhelming. The reason for this, most insurance companies employ several tactics to settle claims as quickly as possible. One such tactic is to make the process as difficult as possible for you. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses that overall are not interested in the health and well-being of the claimants. The hopes are that the injured parties would give up on their claim and take the easy money to return to everyday life as quickly as they can.
Insurance companies are highly motivated to force an early settlement onto unsuspecting, honest people like you. Adjusters with insurance companies know that if they can reach you immediately following an accident, they are more likely to be able to sell you on an early settlement offer. They want to settle with you before any of the real pain sets in, or you have more time to explore your injuries and fully seek proper treatment. For example, insurance companies will make offers like $1,500 plus medical bills. But as of late, we have seen higher early settlement offers to get you to sign away your claim early on. This quick cash could be one of the biggest mistakes you ever make, by signing an insurance release bars you from any further recovery regardless of what you find out about your injuries after accepting the payment.
Severity of Your Injuries
Most people also drastically underestimate the severity of their injuries at the time of an accident. The reality is those hidden injuries from car accidents can easily be brushed off after the impact as insignificant because your body experiences a rush of endorphins and adrenaline. That fight or flight reflex can make you unaware of the kinetic energy transferred from the impact and absorbed by your muscles, ligaments, and soft tissue. Similar to the soreness that you experience from an intense workout, pain can set in days and sometimes even weeks after the accident.
Imagine accepting $1,500 only to find out a month later that the dull, aching neck pain you have had since the accident results from herniated discs in your cervical spine. You cannot file suit at this point, you cannot call back and ask for more money, and you cannot re-open the claim with the help of an attorney. You signed away an actual spinal injury for a fraction of what it will cost to fix. You wouldn’t take $1,500 to repair your car without letting the body shop do an estimate first, so why would you take $1,500 for your injuries without letting a doctor examine you first?
Contact a Lawyer before Accepting Any Settlement
Be wary of any early settlement offers from insurance companies! They are not on your team. Consult with an experienced personal injury attorney before accepting any settlement to determine what fair compensation on your case is.
Gordon McKernan graduated with his law degree from Loyola University in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1992. Shortly thereafter, he joined McKernan Law Firm and has been practicing law ever since. He is the owner of the firm, and his primary area of practice is representing ‘ordinary people’ who have been injured because of another’s disregard.