When you’re involved in an auto accident because someone else failed to adhere to the laws of the road, you might be tempted to accept a check from them or their insurance company to cover the cost of repairs your car needs and/or medical bills you’ve incurred since being involved in this accident. The at-fault driver the one responsible for the accident, and they should pay you for the inconvenience their carelessness caused you. What many people fail to realize is how bad it is to accept the first offer made to you when you are involved in a car accident. By accepting this offer, you make it almost impossible to secure another payment at another time. You should first contact an attorney to help you determine the best course of action for you and your case.
When Payment is Offered
Call an attorney before you do anything. A personal injury attorney is able to help you find the solution to your problem. What an attorney will tell you is how dangerous it is to accept the first payment offered to you. There are several reasons for this. The first is the at-fault driver and his insurance company want to pay you as little as possible following an accident. They want to get out of this mess for as little as they can, and this usually means they want to lowball the offer they provide you. You don’t want to end up with less than you are owed.
The second reason is you often don’t know what you need this quickly. If you’re injured, you must wait until your doctor tells you what to expect of your injuries.
– Can you return to work?
– Can you recover from this?
– Will you need lifelong medical care?
– Will you need medication for the rest of your life?
– Do you need mental or emotional counseling?
– Will you lose wages because of your recovery?
– Do you need special equipment for the rest of your life?
You don’t know the answers yet, and accepting payment means you could end up accepting payment for far less than you’re owed at this point. If you plan on seeking legal recourse for further damages, accepting a payment this early could hinder your ability to seek legal recourse later. Calling an attorney can help you find a way to ensure this doesn’t happen.
If you’ve yet to see a doctor for your injuries, don’t wait another second. You might not believe you’re injured, but many injuries are not visible to the naked eye. You could have internal injuries that might not present for several weeks or months. If this happens and you accept payment from the at-fault driver or their insurance company, you could end up with more trouble than you bargained for originally. Now is not the time to accept any payments from anyone.
Wait for Your Property Damage Report
Another factor is how much time it will take to find out what your property damage amounts to. You’ll need to wait for a body shop to tell you how much it will cost to fix your car. It might turn out the issues your car has cannot be fixed. If this is the case, you will need a new car. Can you afford to go out and buy a new car? Do you have a down payment for a new car to replace the one you lost so that you get something similar or the same?
What many people don’t realize is they can negotiate. Call the insurance company that offered you a check and ask them to give you more. Tell them where you stand with medical bills and repair costs, and negotiate. They are required to come in with the lowest possible amount of money to ensure you don’t get more than they want to pay. You have plenty of room to negotiate even if your injuries and the repair damage aren’t significant enough to cause you to lose work or incur multiple medical bills. Your job is to find out what you’re worth and work on that. You can start with the amount you feel you are worth or something a little higher, and then go from there. They will negotiate with you so you don’t file a lawsuit they might lose.
Call an attorney right away. The worst thing you can do is wait too long to contact legal counsel in a situation such as this. Your job is to call an attorney to find out what to do, when to do it, and what rights you have in negotiating a higher settlement following the initial offer from another driver or their insurance company. You’re worth more than they want to pay you, after all.