In a word: No. Insurance settlements are typically a one-shot deal that force you to give up valuable rights. Here’s what we mean.
People injured in car accidents often have an immediate need for money. An accident can leave them unable to work, contending with mounting bills, or in need of medicine or medical equipment, among other difficulties.
Depending on the circumstances, car accident victims might have several insurance policies to draw on to help them pay for their expenses. Their own personal injury protection (PIP) insurance may cover some medical costs and losses from time off from work, but the coverage PIP offers is usually a pretty limited benefit. If the other driver or someone else caused the accident, that party’s liability insurance might also be available as a source of funds.
The trick is, it can be a challenge to figure out what insurance is available while also juggling the difficulty of recovering from injuries and trying to return to a normal life. So, when an insurance company comes along and offers a quick payment to settle claims, it’s tempting to take the money. But that is a very risky, potentially catastrophic move.
An insurance settlement isn’t “free” money. The fact is, when an insurance company offers settlement money, the insurer wants something in return: your signature on a document called a “release” (or “waiver”) of claims. A release is a contract saying that in exchange for the insurance money, you give up all future claims against the insurance company (and, in most cases, the person or company they insure) for any injuries or losses you sustained in the accident. You “release” the insurer and its “insured” from any further liability. In other words, the settlement payment is all you get (unless you have UIM coverage available to you, but that is another blog topic).
You may be thinking: well, if I have to sign a release to get insurance settlement money no matter what, then what’s the big deal about signing one to get a quick payout now? In order to receive a settlement payment from an insurance company, you will likely have to sign a release eventually. However, when it comes to how muchmoney, timing and experience are everything.
Insurance companies know three important things about car accident victims:
What do insurance companies do with this information? They try to take advantage and pay out the least amount of money possible, of course. By dangling a quick payment, they hope to get you to sign a release in exchange for far less money than their own estimate of what your claim is really worth. They know you are emotionally and financially vulnerable, so this is their shot to minimize their exposure.
Before you sign that release and take an insurance settlement, talk to an experienced car accident lawyer at Saladino & Schaaf. In the same way insurance companies have years of experience figuring out what your claim is “worth,” our skilled attorneys have over 85 years of combined experience representing Kentuckians in car accidents cases. We can explain what rights you give up by signing a release and how much money would represent a fair settlement.
In many (but not all) cases, we have advised clients not to take “lowball” settlement offers. Instead, we have advised our clients to authorize us to negotiate directly with insurance companies, or to take legal action against liable parties. We are proud of our track record of achieving results that often put far more money in our clients’ pockets at the end of the day than they would have gotten from taking a quick, lowball settlement offer.
If you have been injured in a car accident and wonder whether you should accept a settlement offer from an insurance company, contact Saladino & Schaaf today or call us at (270) 444-0406 to schedule a free consultation with our team. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. However, you must act quickly. There are time limits on legal actions.
Saladino & Schaaf, PLLC is dedicated to providing high quality, aggressive legal representation to victims of personal injury and wrongful death. Since 1984, this firm and its predecessors have had one goal in mind – to help the victims of personal injury put the pieces of their lives back together.
Saladino & Schaaf, PLLC is a Personal Injury Law Firm located in Paducah, KY and serves clients throughout Kentucky and Illinois.
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