The Other Driver's Insurance Offered Quick Settlement for My Injuries: What's The Catch?


January 09, 2011

Many people seriously injured in car crashes are surprised when an adjuster for the other driver's insurance company calls almost immediately and offers to send a check including damages to cover injuries suffered in the auto accident. Anyone finding oneself in this situation should consider the adage, "If it seems too good to be true . . . it probably is!" Thousands upon thousands of car accident victims each year make the mistake of accepting and cashing a quick settlement check from an at-fault driver's insurance company only to realize later that there is 'fine print'.

A driver who suffers personal injury in a Georgia car accident should NEVER agree to any settlement or cash a check from the other driver's insurance company before seeking legal advice from an experienced Georgia auto accident lawyer. There are good reasons that the other driver's insurance company is calling you so quickly, and none of them have to do with the benevolent nature or charitable character of the insurance company. More importantly, none of these reasons are for your benefit. If you are involved in a serious Georgia car accident, Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, can evaluate your case and evaluate the true value of your legal claim. We have been representing those seriously injured or killed in Georgia auto accidents for over a quarter of a century.

Insurance companies know that the average layperson has no real objective way to evaluate the actual monetary value of a legal claim resulting from a car crash. The adjuster who calls you may seem amicable and genuinely helpful, but the goal of the conversation is to get you to settle the claim quickly for far less than its actual value. Especially in cases where the liability of the insurance company's insured is fairly clear, the goal is to persuade you to settle your claim before you have talked to an experienced Georgia personal injury attorney or had a chance to have a full medical evaluation. Auto accident insurance carriers know that they have a much better chance to minimize what they pay if a Georgia car accident victim has not had their claim evaluated by an experienced auto accident lawyer or received a full medical diagnostic evaluation. They also know that right after an accident you normally don't have an idea of the full extent of your injury, not to mention your pain and suffering. It is always a good idea to consider why an insurance company would rush to send you a check if the amount they are offering is remotely close to the potential value of your claim. They could pay you the actual value of your claim at any point in the process so what motivation does the insurance company have to rush a check to you. Many times the answer is that the insurance company not only believes that you have a valid claim but one that is potentially worth far more than they are offering. The goal is to settle the case before you have a chance to gather more information about your legal rights or the extent of your injuries.

There is an even more serious consequence to settling a car accident claim too quickly that goes beyond getting less than you are legally entitled to receive. It is not uncommon for Georgia auto accident victims to suffer serious or even catastrophic injuries that affect their long-term health or lead to permanent disabilities which are not immediately apparent. Sadly, many people seriously injured in Georgia car accidents agree to rushed settlements only to discover that they have staggering medical costs that they did not anticipate, or injuries that will cause them ongoing or permanent problems. This means that drivers who are seriously injured may face enormous medical bills and expensive rehabilitative therapy which can be financially devastating for a family. You should always get a full medical exam and disclose all symptoms to the treating physician before considering ANY settlement. Many times as more days go by more symptoms occur or the initial ones worsen.

The good news about that quick phone call from the insurance adjuster is that it may mean you have a relatively strong personal injury lawsuit. An experienced Georgia personal injury attorney will be able to evaluate liability (i.e. fault), the other driver's ability to pay, the extent of your injuries and the amount similar cases have settled for in your area. Most reputable and top personal injury attorneys will provide a free initial consultation so that they can evaluate your claim and can give you an objective estimate of the potential value of your claim. As a practical matter, you may discover that the value of your claim increases merely because you retain a Georgia personal injury attorney. Insurance companies have teams of attorneys and investigators who handle thousands of these cases on a daily basis. They know that their exposure is greater if someone injured in a Georgia car accident is represented by a knowledgeable personal injury attorney than when a layperson represents themselves.

If you are involved in a car accident and suffer ANY injuries, do not fall into the insurance company's trap. The faster the insurance company writes the check the more likely you will not receive what you deserve. The phone call from the insurance adjuster should motivate you to get an immediate medical exam (if you have not already done so) and contact an experienced Georgia car accident lawyer for a free initial consultation. Our Georgia car accident attorneys are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Dalton, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. Call us today for your free consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333) or visit us on the web at www.montlick.com. No matter where you are located, we are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you.

Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.