Being involved in a car crash can disrupt every aspect of your life. One minute you’re driving to the grocery store. The next you’re laid up in bed, unable to work or care for your family. The recovery from such an incident can be physically and emotionally draining.
If, on top of everything, if you’re seeking compensation from the at-fault party, the task can seem completely overwhelming. While you’re in this vulnerable state, an insurance claims adjuster may try to get you to agree to a settlement.
At first, the thought of going through a drawn-out legal battle with the other driver may sound exhausting. You may be tempted to sign whatever deal the adjuster offers—for the sake of closing this chapter of your life and moving on quickly. However, there are some important reasons to avoid rushing into a settlement:
- Some injuries have later onset. When you were rushed to the emergency room following the accident, the doctors probably treated any obvious injuries, such as broken bones. However, some physical injuries—such as internal bleeding or whiplash—often become symptomatic after some time. In addition, psychological distress caused by the accident—such as post-traumatic stress disorder—may only be diagnosable after the fact. If such consequences prevent you from going to work, you want to make sure your settlement covers you.
- Your decision-making ability may be compromised. It is very common for accident victims to go through shock—a life-threatening condition that temporarily impairs one’s awareness. Concussions from head injuries are also common. In addition, your doctor may have prescribed you strong medication to manage your pain—which can adversely impact your cognitive function.
- You may not know what settlement is fair. Insurance claims adjusters’ job is to make deals that are advantageous for themselves. If you’ve never been through a car accident before, you may not know what you could stand to gain—which gives them the advantage.
Before accepting any settlement following a car accident, it’s always wise to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. Once you fully assess your injuries—and any resulting consequences on your life—you can be in a better position to advocate for the compensation you deserve.