Should I accept the insurance company’s offer after a car accident?
The moments after a car accident can be traumatic and disorienting. Whether it’s an inability to work or engage in your typical hobbies, your daily routine may be abruptly interrupted.
After your car accident, you may receive mail from different insurance companies and phone calls from different insurance adjusters. One adjuster wants you to meet with a “representative” at a mutual location to discuss your case. You meet with this representative and he offers $500 in exchange for your signature on some paperwork. You are told this money is being provided on behalf of the at-fault driver’s insurance company, and that you should sign the paperwork and accept the money because your injuries do not qualify as a “serious injury.”
Your neck and back have been bothering you, but the check is sitting on the table with your name on it. Should you sign the paperwork and take the money?
What is a Nuisance Offer?
Insurance companies are designed to generate profits for their shareholders. While they are heavily regulated, their goal is always the same: uphold contractual duties to the insured in the most cost-effective manner possible. And because insurance companies are contractually required to “indemnify,” or protect, their policy holders for any harm they have caused, insurance companies will sometimes be required to pay those who have been injured.
Insurance companies have tried to maximize profits by minimizing payouts through immediate “nuisance offers” to injured people. These offers are given very soon after a car accident in an attempt to secure a release of claims before the injured person has a chance to realize the extent of his or her injuries. In other words, the nuisance offer prevents an injured person from filing a claim in the future to receive compensation for his or her injuries.
Maximum medical improvement
An injured person may not know the nature and extent of his or her injuries in the days, or even weeks, immediately following a car accident. Many injuries—particularly, those of the soft tissue in the neck and back—can have delayed symptoms and worsen over time. These types of injuries can be debilitating. In addition, some medical providers will delay prescribing diagnostic imaging studies like MRI scans until months after the onset of pain. These diagnostic imaging studies, performed many months after the accident, can reveal findings that require invasive surgery.
Nuisance offers from insurance companies are purposely made before you have time to learn the true nature and extent of your injuries. Bear in mind that recovery for pain and suffering must account for past and future pain and suffering, and it is difficult to make an intelligent estimation of future pain and suffering a day or two after a car accident.
Very few people will know a day or two after the accident whether they will require surgery, because certain treatment—like physical therapy, or chiropractic treatment—is often recommended first. It is only after this treatment plays out unsuccessfully that more extensive treatment may be needed.
For this reason, there is often no reason to accept a nuisance offer from an insurance company. In most cases, medical expenses and lost wages will be paid by the no-fault insurance company. So, you should be doubtful of any claim that you will need money from the nuisance offer to pay for medical bills or lost wages.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Today
Accepting a nuisance offer could mean forfeiting your legal right to file a claim. If the insurance company is asking you to sign paperwork in exchange for a nuisance offer and you are unsure whether it will be in your best interests, feel free to call the car accident attorneys at William Mattar Law Offices. We are happy to assess the circumstances of your case to see whether a nuisance offer is in your long-term interest. Call (844) 444-444 today to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer today.