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  • Writer's pictureLisa Brown

Factors to Consider Before Accepting a Settlement Offer

Being involved in a Florida car accident can be a very stressful situation. However, the stress becomes much greater when you’ve suffered an injury in the accident. Not only do you have to worry about damage to your vehicle, but you now also have to deal with going to the doctor (often times multiple doctors) and getting medical treatment that you didn’t plan for. Worse yet, the cost of your medical treatment will need to get paid, and you may also have been forced to miss time from work due to your injuries. With all of this to deal with, the last thing you want to do is to also have to deal with the insurance company.

Insurance companies are fully aware of the stress facing those who have been injured in a car accident. Unfortunately, insurance companies like to advantage of this. That is why the insurance company will often make an offer to settle your claim shortly after the accident. For many, a quick settlement will help alleviate a lot of the stress, even if it does not cover all of the medical or other financial losses. For others, the mere thought of having to deal with an insurance claim for an extended period of time might make accepting an early settlement offer tempting.

Before accepting any settlement offer, it’s important that you consider certain factors to determine whether the settlement offer and the timing of it, is right for you. Below are some factors to consider before accepting a settlement offer.

The Amount of Medical Bills and Financial Losses

Many people think that if they are injured in a Florida car accident, their car insurance will pay for their medical bills and they won’t have to worry about paying anything back out of pocket. This is not entirely true. Although your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage under your auto policy (in Florida) will cover up to $10,000 in medical bills or lost wages due to the injuries you suffered in the accident (provided you meet certain requirements), what many don’t realize is that PIP only covers 80% of your medical bills and/or wages up to that $10,000 limit. That means that there will still likely be outstanding bills that you may have to personally pay if you don’t have health insurance. So what initially might seem like a tempting settlement offer, may only, in reality, end up paying the outstanding balance on your medical bills, if that.

In addition, people often overlook the time and expense of having to take time out of their day to seek medical treatment. An hour of missed work here and there can add up. Insurance companies don’t usually take this into account when making an early settlement offer.

How Serious Were You Injured?

Before accepting any settlement offer, it’s important that you know just how serious your injuries actually are. The reason for this is that you may be entitled to not only damages for your current medical bills, but also damages for future medical bills if you suffered a permanent injury and future treatment is expected.

Learning the true impact of your injuries on your life and body can take time. In many cases, treatment can last a year or more. Usually, it is not until you have exhausted all conservative treatment that you will even know whether or not you will fully recover, or whether surgery may be required. In addition, what may not seem like too bad of an injury at first can later in life cause all sorts of problems for you physically. That is why it is very important that you know the true extent of your injuries before you consider or accept any settlement offer. Remember, if you don’t know the full extent of your injury and how it may impact you later in life, neither does the insurance company.

How Has Your Injury Affected Your Life?

Unless you’ve consulted a Florida car accident attorney, you likely don’t know that when you’ve suffered a permanent injury, you’re not only entitled to receive damages for your economic losses (medical bills and wages), but you’re also entitled to non-economic damages. Non-economic damages include such things as pain and suffering, disability, mental anguish, inconvenience, etc. These are the human losses you have and will continue to suffer as a result of your injury. Insurance companies rarely take these types of damages into account when making an early settlement offer. It’s important to be aware of this when considering a settlement offer, to ensure that the offer is fair and reasonable to compensate you for what you have suffered and what you likely will continue to suffer in the future.

When Accepting a Settlement, You Forgo All Rights to Pursue any Further Claims

Don’t be fooled into thinking that the insurance company is offering you a settlement because it wants to do the right thing for you. That is not the case. Once you settle your claim, you cannot later come back and ask for more money for any additional damages that arise in the future. This is exactly why the insurance company is making an early settlement offer to you. The insurance company knows that if it can settle your claim early, it will likely be saving a lot of money. That is why you must know the full extent of your injury, whether you will need future treatment, and how the injury will impact you in the future before accepting any settlement offer.

Trust SouthShore Injury Attorneys With Your Florida Car Accident Claim

When you’ve been injured in a car accident, it is important that you consult with a qualified Florida car accident attorney. The attorneys at SouthShore Injury Attorneys have extensive litigation experience and handle only personal injury claims. If you’ve suffered injuries in a Florida car accident, contact SouthShore Injury Attorneys at (813) 419-3866 for a free consultation.

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