Following an unexpected accident, it is not surprising that an injured victim would have serious financial concerns as the medical bills begin to pile up. In such cases, when an insurance company makes a settlement offer, it may be extremely tempting to simply accept the settlement and receive a check as quickly as possible. However, this often hasty decision can later come to haunt the injured victim, especially if an injury worsens or they experience unforeseen complications.
When a person accepts a settlement offer for an insurance claim, they have to sign a document releasing the company from any further liability for that particular injury or accident. This effectively eliminates the injured victim’s right to pursue any future compensation from the insurance company or to file a civil claim for personal injury against any negligent parties that caused the accident. In some cases involving relatively minor injuries, signing a release and accepting a settlement check from the insurance company may be a fine decision. However, if serious injuries resulted from the accident, it is imperative for an accident victim to discuss the settlement offer, the release, and any additional legal options they may have with an experienced personal injury attorney before they agree to sign anything.
Making Sure All Losses Are Covered
When an injured victim consults with a skilled Tampa Bay personal injury lawyer, the lawyer will evaluate the entirety of their situation, including calculating the true value of their injury-related losses. Many people may not recognize the full extent of damages that may be available to them in a personal injury case, including the following:
- Past medical expenses;
- Estimated costs of all future medical treatments related to the injury;
- Past and future lost wages; and
- Compensation for pain and suffering, permanent disability or disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress, and similar non-economic losses.
An insurance settlement will generally not cover all relevant losses, specifically non-economic losses or the full value of future estimated losses, which exist in most cases involving severe injuries. For this reason, an insurance settlement offer may be inadequate to cover the damages for serious injuries. A qualified personal injury lawyer will be able to identify all of the possible damages in a particular case to ensure that the victim does not accept an offer that is too low and lose their right to recover.
Once an individual accepts a settlement offer and signs a release form, there is generally no going back once they realize that they deserved additional compensation. While signing an insurance release may be fine for certain accident victims, it is always wise to discuss the situation with an attorney prior to signing any legally binding documents releasing other parties from liability.