411: Beware of Early Payment Offers from Insurance Companies
What’s better: a bowl of cereal now, or a bowl of cereal in an hour? Well, if you’re hungry, the obvious answer is the former. But let’s complicate this a bit. What would you say if the deal were that you could receive ten cheerios now or a full bowl of cereal, to which you are entitled, in 5 hours? Aronberg, Aronberg & Green, Injury Law Firm.
Many car accident victims are faced with a far more serious version of the above dilemma. Often times, following a car accident, the insurance company for the negligent driver will make an offensively low offer to the injured driver, hoping to wrap-up the process quickly and seamlessly and letting the insurance company get away with paying substantially less than they should.
When someone is hungry, ten cheerios served immediately seem like they might satisfy hunger, and they might—but only for a short while. Likewise, when someone is dealing with rising medical costs and escalating stress following a car accident, a quick payment with a guaranteed check in the mail in a matter of weeks can seem appetizing. Why go through the hassle of hiring a lawyer and waiting out a long process if you get a check from the insurance company right now?
The fact is, just as ten cheerios are a miniscule amount of food compared to a full bowl of cereal, the check offered up front by the insurance company is almost always merely a small fraction of the amount of money that you actually deserve. Insurance companies are part of a mammoth industry and they don’t generate profits by paying everyone what they deserve—they make more money when they offer low ball offers to vulnerable victims who readily accept the money up front.
Many car accident victims take the first payment offer they receive because they believe that if they accept the offer, they will get paid sooner. No argument there. Getting you “paid” and having you sign away your rights to future litigation against the insurance company is one of the insurance company’s primary goals. Before they will send you the check, they will have you sign a document releasing their insured and the insurance company from any further and/or future liability. This means that you can’t hold them responsible if future medical issues arise.
That brings us to the other issue: insurance companies will use early medical reports against you. With complicated back and neck injuries, it sometimes takes weeks—even months—for the lifelong injuries to manifest themselves. In other words, you might not know the extent to which you’ve suffered a debilitating injury until after you’ve accepted the offer and signed the release. And by that point it may too late.
While retaining an attorney and letting the process run its course might mean months or even years until you finally see a payment, the waiting typically pays off in the form of a far more substantial settlement or jury award.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, don’t let yourself be bullied by insurance companies who couldn’t care less about you and your injuries. If you want to try recover the money that you rightfully deserve, reach out to a personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of Aronberg and Aronberg; we care about your well being and are confident in our ability to recover money for you so we will forego getting paid a fee unless and until you get paid.