Be careful when accepting the settlement offer of an insurance company. You should always consult an experienced injury attorney after a car, truck or motorcycle accident that results in your injury. I had a new experience the other day. A client had told me that before I was handling his personal injury claim, the insurance carrier for the at-fault driver had made him an offer of $1,250 to settle his bodily injury claim. They even went so far as to send him a settlement check. While he had sent the check back to show that he was rejecting this offer, I came to the conclusion that he had effectively accepted their offer and therefore, his bodily injury claim was concluded.
While I had seen insurance companies take recorded statements to pin down the facts of an automobile accident or my client’s personal injuries, I had never seen an insurance company use a recorded statement to settle a personal injury claim. The insurance company had recorded a phone call with the client wherein they went through all aspects of the release orally. They went through the fact that the client knew what he was doing, knew he was signing away his rights and that it was a fair amount for his claim. After consulting with several other personal injury attorneys who I work with, we all agreed that his claim had been effectively settled.
The problem with settling a personal injury claim is that it is a full and final settlement of your legal rights. As I tell all my personal injury clients, you can go back to the doctor tomorrow and he can tell you are going to go blind because of this car wreck. It does not matter how severe it is or when it is discovered, you can’t recover anything further.
When an insurance company makes a settlement offer early on, they are simply trying to buy the risk. The risk that you will need surgery or other treatment down the road. Why give them that right when that is your legal right? Don’t settle any part of your personal injury claim by accepting the settlement offer of an insurance company until an attorney looks at your case and until your treatment is fully done.