You’re driving to pick up your kids after school. The roads are icy, but you’re being careful and driving slowly. The driver in the left lane, however, isn’t. As he accelerates to pass you, he fishtails and collides with your front bumper—sending you spinning into a ditch.
In an instant, your whole life flashes before your eyes. You feel fortunate to be alive—but you’re also badly shaken. As you ride in the ambulance to the hospital, you barely know what to think. At this point, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to settle with your insurance company too quickly. Here’s why:
- You need to be clear-headed. Following an accident, you may be in a state of shock, or you could have a concussion. You may also be on strong medication to manage your pain. You should avoid making any major decisions when your cognitive abilities may be compromised.
- You need time to assess the damage. Some injuries—such as whiplash—take a few days to show up. In addition, you need a full medical evaluation to understand what your road to recovery will look like. For example, if your accident will prevent you from working for a few months, your settlement should cover your lost wages. By settling too quickly, you miss out on compensation for consequences you discover later.
- You’ll get the short end of the stick. It’s in an insurance adjuster’s best interest to settle a car accident case as quickly as possible—before you completely consider how the crash will impact your life. If you accept their first offer, it likely won’t cover the full extent of damages you suffered.
As soon as possible following an accident, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney to advocate on your behalf. Your lawyer can deal with the insurance company for you and use all of their resources to fight for the best possible deal for you.