This is the first in our new blog series, “Ask Adam”, in which I respond to some of your most frequently asked questions about Kentucky, Illinois, and Tennessee law. Our first “Ask Adam” question is one that I frequently receive from callers who have been approached by an insurance company after a car accident:
“Should I accept the insurance company check soon after my accident?”
Often, in the days and weeks after a serious car accident, the victim or his/her family is contacted directly by the at-fault driver’s insurance company. After a few friendly questions about how you’re feeling and whether you’ve been getting all the medical care you need, the adjuster will usually get around to the point: He or she wants to send you an insurance company check to help you financially in this difficult time. Usually the offer is for a sum that can seem quite large, sometimes five or even six figures. The insurance company knows that amount of money is difficult to turn down. They also know you’ve probably missed quite a bit of work, or that you’ve been totally unable to work after your accident. In short, they know that the first days or weeks after an accident are when you are most vulnerable. That’s why the insurance company calls to make their “generous” offer. Make no mistake, the insurance company is not making this offer out of the goodness of its heart. It is trying to minimize the amount of money it has to pay on your claim.
You see, the catch is that when you accept the insurance check, you generally sign a release that prohibits you from seeking further compensation in the future. These releases can leave you with no option when you’re faced with large, mounting medical bills later on. If you sign the insurance company release, you are often trading all of your compensation rights to the insurance company in exchange for a sum of money that is almost always, in my experience, far too small.
Most car accident attorneys in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Illinois will meet with you and review the insurance company’s settlement proposal for no charge. If you or a loved one are ever in an accident and are presented with an offer to settle quickly with the insurance company, be sure to call a competent, caring personal injury lawyer to review your case and help you get what you deserve.