When you've been involved in a motor vehicle accident, it's not at all uncommon for the other driver's insurance company to make you an offer very soon after the accident, and before you retain an attorney. Frequently, the insurance company will offer an amount to pay medical bills you incur within a month of the accident plus a modest amount for your pain and suffering. The offers generally range from $500 to $2,000. In the first few days after the accident, the figure being offered may seem like a great deal, but accepting a settlement without consulting with an attorney first is simply a huge mistake for several reasons.
If you accept a settlement before you know the full extent of your injuries and expenses, you will seriously short change yourself and may end up having to pay medical expenses out of your own pocket. The insurance companies make these offers solely in hopes that they can get out of the case for much less than their actual exposure.
An attorney can help you coordinate your treatment with medical providers that won't insist on payment up front. This way you can afford to wait to settle until you know the true value of the case. An attorney can also help you assess the value of your case to ensure that you are getting a fair settlement. In almost every case, an attorney can get you a much bigger settlement than what you can get on your own, enough to cover any attorneys' fees and still put a good sum in your pocket.
If the insurance company is making you an early offer or seems overly eager to close your case and send you a check – just say no. In all instances, this is a huge red flag and you should have an attorney review your case immediately.