If you have been injured in an auto accident, receiving an insurance settlement can seem like the light at the end of the tunnel. But, before you accept, it is critical to ensure that you have a clear understanding of your rights under Florida law. You also need to understand the risks of accepting an insurance settlement, and you need to avoid making a short-sighted decision that could have drastic consequences for years to come.
5 Factors to Consider Before Accepting an Auto Insurance Settlement
1. Do You Know Who was at Fault in the Accident?
While most auto accident claims are subject to Florida’s “no-fault” insurance law, many accident victims can still seek fault-based compensation. In order to avoid settling for too little, you need to determine who was at fault in your accident. If another driver was to blame, you may be able to file a claim against his or her bodily injury liability (BIL) policy, and this could substantially increase your award of financial compensation.
2. Do You Know the Extent of Your Injuries and Your Need for Ongoing Medical Care?
In order to file a BIL claim, you must be able to show that you have suffered a “permanent injury.” Does your injury qualify? If so, you will need to work with your physicians to determine the financial cost of your ongoing medical care, and these future costs should be included in your settlement. Even if you are limited to filing a claim under your own personal injury protection (PIP) policy, knowing the extent of your injuries is crucial to evaluating the sufficiency of your settlement.
3. Have You Considered the Future Costs of Your Injuries?
In addition to future medical costs, auto accident victims will often incur various other ongoing losses as well. This includes prescription costs, transportation costs (to and from the doctor’s office) and loss of earnings. Your future costs could far exceed the losses you have incurred to date, and you do not want to settle without taking these costs into consideration.
4. Have You Considered Your Non-Financial Losses?
If you have a BIL claim, you can also recover your non-financial losses. This includes current and future pain and suffering, emotional trauma, scarring and disfigurement, loss of companionship and consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life.
5. Have You Read the Terms of the Settlement?
When you settle an insurance claim, the terms of the settlement will state that you are “waiving” or “releasing” your right to seek additional compensation in the future. In other words, once you accept a settlement, that’s it. You cannot come back and ask for more, even if you discover additional losses of which you were not aware when you decided to accept the settlement.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Crestview Auto Accident Lawyer
If you have received a settlement offer in relation to an auto accident in Crestview, Florida or any of the surrounding areas, we encourage you to contact us for a free and confidential consultation. Our attorneys will evaluate your claim and help you determine what constitutes a fair settlement. To schedule an appointment at your convenience, call our law offices at (850) 682-2757 or send us a message online today.