If you’ve been involved in a Los Angeles car accident and someone else is to blame you may be entitled to compensation for any damages you have suffered. Like most accident victims, you will probably be eager to get the money you deserve as quickly as possible. However, it is important to tread lightly after an accident and hold off on accepting any early settlement offers that insurance companies may extend.
These companies know that you are probably in a difficult financial situation due to accident-related medical bills and unanticipated time away from work. They will not hesitate to take advantage of you during this time in order to minimize the compensation you ultimately receive. Most companies will try to pressure you into accepting an early offer by using your financial distress against you.
Be warned: these early settlement offers will not be enough to cover the full extent of your injuries. If you accept an early offer you’ll probably be unable to recover additional damages in the future. Insurance companies will make sure that you sign a car accident release form when you accept their offer.
What is a Car Accident Release Form?
A car accident release form is basically a contract that you sign in exchange for compensation. Here’s what happens when you sign a car accident release form:
- You agree to accept the offer extended by the insurance company.
- You agree to waive your right to file a personal injury lawsuit for damages.
As a result, you will be limited to the amount of money that you receive from this initial settlement agreement. If you happen to find out down the line that the amount you received is insufficient to cover the full extent of your injuries…you’ll be out of luck. By signing that release form you gave up your right to pursue additional compensation from the person (or parties) responsible for your accident and injury.
Avoid Early Discussions With Insurance Companies
Car insurance companies know that an accident can be incredibly traumatic. This is particularly true if you or someone you love suffered a serious injury in the crash. Unfortunately, they will try to use your pain and suffering against you. If there is overwhelming evidence to show that their insured client is responsible for your harm, they will go to great lengths to minimize the financial payout you receive.
Insurance companies know that their tactics will be more successful if they are able to speak with you before you’ve had a chance to contact an attorney. Insurance agents will seem very sympathetic and make it appear as if they are there to help you through this difficult time. However, it is important to know that they are simply interested in one thing: keeping as much money in their pockets as possible. The less you receive, the more they get to keep.
As a result, they will use any tool they can to convince you to accept an early settlement. Tactics that companies may use include:
- Pointing out your mounting financial bills to make the offer seem appetizing.
- Pointing out that there is proof to show that you are at-fault, even if there is no evidence to support this.
- Only giving you a short window of time to accept an offer, with the promise (threat) that you will not receive a better deal in the future.
The company knows that playing on your emotions will increase the chances of you accepting an early offer. Once you accept the offer and sign their car accident release form, they will not be liable for any future damages.
Contact an Attorney to Make Sure Your Claim is Properly Valued
Accepting an early settlement offer may be appetizing, especially when you are faced with significant financial debts. Medical bills and the cost of replacing or repairing your damaged property can add up quickly. The situation may be made worse if you are forced to miss time at work and lose your flow of income. However, accepting an early offer can do more harm than good in the long run.
It is important to hold off on discussions with insurance companies until you’ve had the chance to speak with an experienced Los Angeles car accident attorney. Your attorney will not only ensure that you are not tricked into accepting a lowball offer, but also thoroughly investigate your accident to make sure that your damages are valued properly. If you proceed without an attorney, you’ll be forced to accept the insurance company’s assessment of damages. Since they want to minimize the amount of money you receive, you should be hesitant to accept their figure.
At Citywide Law Group, our Los Angeles car accident attorneys work with experts to determine the proper value of your personal injury claim. We will perform a thorough review of your accident, determine the extent of your injuries, and project any future costs that you may incur because of your injury. Properly valuing your claim is essential to ensuring that you walk away with a financial settlement or award that is reasonable and fair.
Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyers
Have you recently been injured in a Los Angeles car accident? Call Citywide Law Group before you have any discussions with an insurance company. By signing a car accident release form you give up your right to file a personal injury lawsuit. This can be devastating for your future if insurance companies trick you into accepting a lowball offer. Our Los Angeles car accident attorneys will make sure that you are protected during negotiations and that you are fairly compensated for your injuries. Call today to schedule your free case evaluation.