Sometimes, the insurance adjuster for the other party will call you and insist on meeting with you. They say something like, "Perhap we can settle this case over coffee?" So the prospective client calls me and says, "How much should I ask for? The accident happened three days ago and the adjuster is making me an offer."
I explain politely that the insurance adjuster simply wants to close his/her file. Accepting an offer so early after an accident is not a prudent course of action. Generally speaking, it's too early to settle the case because you have no idea what injuries you might have, what injuries might manifest themselves a week later, etc. Also, if you are truly injured, you should not entertain settlement so early for many other reasons.
Sometimes my clients call me while they are still treating for their injuries and wonder, "Hey, when are we going to settle this case?" I explain that we can't settle the case until they are done with their treatment. First of all, only then will we have all the bills and records to present to the insurance company. Also, we need to make sure the client has fully healed. If they haven't fully healed, we need to assess their residual injury and what their future might hold. Will they be in pain for the foreseeable future? Will they need surgery?
In other words, you need to wait until the case is "ripe" before you entertain settling the case. Rarely is settling the case very early a good idea. I understand the temptation is often there to settle early, but it's usually better to wait and fully appreciate what your injuries are, the extent of your injuries, and whether or not you will fuly heal from those injuries or not. Don't fall prey to the insurance adjusters pressuring you to settle. Talk to a lawyer about your case or seek representation and guidance from an experienced personal injury attorney.
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by Robert Mansour
Robert Mansour is a personal injury lawyer serving Santa Clarita, Valencia, Saugus, Canyon Country, Newhall, Stevenson Ranch, Castaic and surrounding communities.