The Other Driver Hit Me; Their Insurance Is Paying For Everything. Do I Need a Lawyer?
It happens all of a sudden. You are driving along, obeying traffic signals and laws, and suddenly — BAM!!! You hear crunching metal or fracturing fiberglass as another driver crashes into you. You are clearly not at fault. In fact, you may have been completely stationary at the time of the accident and not even driving at all.
In many incidents where the accident is clearly the fault of the other driver, i.e., the negligent party, his or her insurance company will reach out to you and offer to pay for everything.
It is very common in cases where the fault of an accident lies squarely at the hands of the negligent party for the negligent party’s insurance company to treat the victim of the accident very well. The claims adjuster will be very responsive and pleasant to work with, and will tell you repeatedly that everything is going to be just fine and that the negligent party’s insurance company will pay for everything. The claim adjuster will likely offer you a settlement as well. But before you accept anything, think about why the negligent party’s insurance would be willing to do these things for you.
You may think that the settlement offer sounds reasonable and that based on the situation, an attorney is unnecessary. If, for example, you were not severely injured in the accident, and only your vehicle was damaged, you may think that the claims adjuster’s offer to pay for all the damage is a pretty good deal. Why would you need your own attorney?
Don’t Be Fooled
Don’t be fooled by how the claims adjuster and the negligent party’s insurance company are treating you. It is in the best interest of the insurance company to convince you to accept a settlement regarding the accident, but the settlement being offered to you may not be everything you deserve. Effectively, a settlement pays you a certain amount of money in exchange for the forfeiture of your legal rights to hold the negligent party accountable for the accident. This includes a forfeiture of legal claims that might arise later.
For example, you may have sustained a spinal injury or a mild traumatic brain injury during the accident, but don’t realize it because the physical symptoms or manifestation of the injury take a very long time to become noticeable. If you accept a settlement for the accident, you cannot not seek future damages from the negligent party at a later period in time after your injuries manifest, even though at the time the insurance company offered you the settlement you were unaware that you may have suffered a serious injury.
Settlements are usually a very good thing for accident victims. However, without legal counsel, you may inadvertently accept a settlement that is too small in value to adequately compensate you for the accident. The claims adjuster would prefer that you do not get your own legal counsel because an attorney will very likely clue you in to rights you may not even realize that you have concerning the accident.
Contacting a Motor Vehicle Accident Attorney
If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, and the negligent party’s insurance company has offered to pay for everything, has offered you a settlement, or has advised you that you do not need to seek your own counsel, you should at the very least seek out a free consultation with an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney regarding the circumstances of your case. Please do not hesitate to contact Willens & Baez today either online or by telephone at 312-957-4166 for a free consultation.