If you meet with an Erie personal injury attorney who promises to settle your case quickly, beware. You should also be suspicious if your current attorney is pushing you to settle your injury claim before your doctor wants to release you from care.
Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis meaning they aren’t paid until your case settles. Unfortunately, some attorneys put their desire to collect fees above their clients’ best interests.
Why Should I Wait to Settle My Accident Claim?
There is a very good reason why you shouldn’t settle an injury claim too quickly — you will likely receive less money than your claim is actually worth. The reason is that you may not have reached maximum medical improvement.
Maximum medical improvement (MMI) is the point in your recovery that you reach when your doctor determines you will no longer make improvements with continued medical treatment. For some accident victims, MMI means you recovered 100% from your accident injuries. However, for other accident victims, MMI means they will deal with a permanent disability or medical condition because of the accident.
Setting a case before reaching MMI may mean you will pay for additional or continued medical care. For example, if you settle your case and then your doctor informs you that additional surgery and physical therapy is needed for you to avoid future impairments, you are responsible for the payment of all costs and expenses related to the surgery and therapy.
Why Can’t You Collect More Money If You Discover an Additional Injury After Settlement?
The answer to that question lies in the release you sign when you settle a claim. Before the insurance company releases funds for settlement, it requires you to sign a release. The release contains language that relieves the insurance company, the at-fault party, and any other parties associated with the accident of any future liability, even for unknown injuries or illnesses. Settling a claim and signing a release before you know the full extent of any permanent injuries is not in your best interest.
Furthermore, signing a release relieves all unknown parties of liability. Therefore, if your damages exceed the insurance coverage and you sign a release, you cannot pursue other parties for compensation for the additional medical care. You may be tempted to accept a quick settlement because you need money to replace lost income from being out of work.
However, a settlement before you reach MMI is not in your best interest, and the insurance company for the other driver knows this fact. The insurance adjuster will take advantage of your need for money to push you to accept a quick settlement. Don’t let the adjuster or anyone else push you to settle before your doctor says you have reached MMI and issued a prognosis and opinion regarding permanent impairment.
Call a Trusted Erie Personal Injury Attorney For Help
The Erie personal injury attorneys of The Travis Law Firm put your best interests first. Our job is to advise you of your options for receiving full compensation for your injuries. We will not stop fighting for your legal rights, and we will never rush you to a quick settlement that is not in your best interest.
Call our office at (800) 401-2066 to schedule a free legal consultation with an experienced and trusted Erie personal injury attorney.