Determining Whether to Accept a Settlement Offer from the Other Driver's Insurance Company
When a person is injured in a car accident, there are many reasons to seek legal advice and representation. While it is best when you are injured by someone else's negligence to seek legal advice from an experienced personal injury lawyer before talking to the insurance company, our experienced Georgia auto accident lawyers frequently receive inquiries from unrepresented injury victims who have received a settlement offer from the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier.
It is never advisable to attempt to deal with experienced insurance company adjusters and insurance defense attorneys without representation. Additionally, it is nearly impossible for the typical auto accident victim to properly evaluate a settlement proposal from the responsible party’s insurance company without legal advice.
When you accept a settlement offer from an insurance company in a car accident claim, you virtually always will be required to surrender your legal rights to seek compensation for further injuries or loss arising out of the same accident. Most insurance companies require that an accident victim sign a General Release Form before they issue a settlement check. This form of contract generally waives all legal rights and claims for compensation for injuries and losses, including those that are not known at the time of signing.
Because of the finality of signing such a document, it is important to be able to carefully evaluate the offer to determine whether the terms are fair. A settlement offer should consider compensation for all forms of damages which include:
- Medical and hospitalization bills
- Rehabilitation and supportive care costs
- Wages from missed work
- Loss of future income resulting from disability
- Impaired enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death damages
- Vehicle repair or replacement and other property damage
- Punitive damages if appropriate
While these categories of damages may be available in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit related to a car accident, listing the types of damages is much easier than quantifying the amounts. Generally, injuries that are more life-impacting or permanent will justify more financial compensation. Additionally the liability of the defendant and the exact nature of the facts and their negligent act must be considered as well. When you are trying to recover from injuries experienced in a collision, you may have a difficult time objectively evaluating the claim.
Our experienced Georgia auto accident lawyers draw upon years of experience, and can also review verdicts and settlements in similar cases. We also have access to other resources that can assist in evaluating a settlement offer, which includes forensic accountants, economists, medical experts and vocational counselors. Although these are only some of the factors that must be considered when evaluating whether a car accident settlement offer is fair, there are many other considerations so you should never sign anything or accept a check from an insurance company until speaking with one of our experienced Georgia auto accident lawyers.
Our Georgia auto collision injury attorneys at Montlick and Associates are available to provide effective legal representation to clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.