Think Twice Before Settling Your Insurance Claim
So…it finally happened to you!
You are a very careful and conscientious driver with a clean driving record, no traffic tickets and responsible at all times on the road, but out of no where, you were suddenly rear-ended at a stop light, or another driver ran a red light and T-boned you in the intersection where you clearly had the right of way. You are so shaken up and in pain from the collision that you feel compelled to go to the hospital in an ambulance to get evaluated for your injuries.
At the hospital, the ER doctor is worried about potential spine injuries, so they run a CT scan or MRI on you. The doctor tells you the initial results are negative but recommends you follow up in a few days with an orthopedic physician.
You follow the ER doctor’s advice and go see an orthopedic in a few days, because you are still in pain. He reviews the initial films from the ER and tells you that you just suffered a strained neck or back and that nothing else was wrong. The wreck seemed pretty bad and you’re still in pain, but if the doctor tells you you’re okay, then you have nothing to worry about medically, right? WRONG!
Liability in your wreck is clearly on the other driver, so his insurance will take care of you, your medical bills and lost wages as they accrue, right? WRONG!
The insurance adjuster offers you $3,500.00 to take care of your out-of-pocket medical expenses (co-payments), your health insurance deductible and something extra for your pain and suffering shortly after the wreck. The medical bills are mounting, and you’re low on money, so you agree to the settlement, because it seems fair and the right thing to do, right? WRONG!
There are a lot of reasons NOT to agree to an early settlement with the insurance adjuster, but here are a couple of the most important reasons:
- You have an underlying or hidden medical condition that was missed in your initial examinations following the wreck. We have seen clients who initially appear to be okay following their accident based upon diagnostic studies. However, with the passage of time their symptoms get worse and they do in fact have a medical problem.
- Your health plan has a right to subrogation and/or reimbursement. Everyone should be aware that heath insurance companies may now be entitled to receive full reimbursement of all medical expenses.
Settling with the insurance company may seem like the right thing to do at first, but taking a step back and looking at your options can save you time, stress and money in the future.
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