Three Reasons Not to Sign That Accident Settlement Agreement
When you are injured in a traffic-related accident, product liability accident, slip and fall (premises liability case), or another personal injury accident, the personal injury laws in California provide a way for you to recover money for your injuries. The money you recover is intended to compensate you for your financial losses (i.e. property damage, lost wages, medical expenses, travel costs, etc.) and your non-economic losses (i.e. pain and suffering damages).
An insurance adjuster for the other party may approach you early in your case to offer a settlement for your claim. You should be careful when agreeing to accept a settlement offer for several reasons. As experienced Fresno personal injury attorneys, we want you to receive a settlement amount that is equal to the full amount of damages you suffered because of another party’s negligence. For this reason, we offer free legal consultations so that you can learn about your options before you accept a settlement offer that is lower than the amount you deserve for your claim.
Reasons to Consult with Torem & Associates Before You Sign a Settlement Agreement
Below are the three top reasons why you should consult with an attorney before you agree to a settlement offered by the other party’s insurance adjuster or attorney:
There is no more money once you sign the settlement agreement.
A settlement agreement contains a waiver of further liability. In other words, the amount of money you receive now is all you will receive, even if you discover later that you have additional damages or your injury is more severe than you realized when you accepted the settlement. You must make sure that you are receiving the most money you can recover for your claim. An insurance adjuster is not going to tell you that the settlement offer is lower than the true value of your claim. Our attorneys understand how to value a claim; therefore, we can help you determine if the offer is fair and just.
The insurance adjuster is not acting in your best interest.
An insurance adjuster works to protect the best interest of the insurance company. The adjuster’s job is to settle the claim without paying more than necessary because the company wants to make money not lose money by paying high claims. Insurance adjusters have extensive training in how to settle claims quickly. In many cases, these tactics may include offering low sums to settle claims quickly before a person has a chance to consult an attorney. For more about how insurance companies operate, you can read a report entitled The Ten Worst Insurance Companies in America by the American Association for Justice. You need an experienced Fresno personal injury lawyer working on your behalf that will put your interests first and work to ensure you are treated fairly.
Another party could be liable for your claim.
In some cases, an insurance adjuster may offer to settle for the full amount of the insurance coverage if the adjuster sees that your damages will far exceed the coverage. Because many people carry minimum car insurance coverage, you may assume you cannot get any more money for your claim. However, another party could be jointly liable for your damages. If so, you may be able to file a claim against that party, but if you sign a waiver and release, your ability to sue another party might be barred. Before accepting a settlement, it is wise to consult an attorney who can review the facts in your case to determine if another party might be liable.