If the other driver’s insurance company says it can send you a check, do not cash it. By accepting and cashing the check, you are accepting their initial settlement offer. It may be difficult or even impossible to pursue further compensation for the accident after you have taken the check. You may still be receiving ongoing treatment for your accident when the insurance company sends the check, well before you could reasonably estimate the full scope of your damages.
You Might Be Entitled to More Compensation
Your insurance company is a business, and it wants to settle your case quickly to limit their potential liability. In anticipation of a possible negotiation process, they likely will lead with a low offer. This offer may include only your medical expenses to date, and while it could initially appear generous, it may not take into full consideration future medical costs you will incur. It also may fail to consider other non-quantifiable damages, like the pain and suffering you have endured as a result of the accident.
If you accept the check that they send, you will likely have a much more difficult time pursuing other damages at a later date.
You Do Not Yet Know the Full Extent of Your Injuries
Car accidents can result in a wide range of injuries, some of which may not even appear until later, after the accident. Some of the more common injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Broken ribs and other broken bones
- Knee injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Cuts and scrapes
Many of the injuries associated with car accidents will require ongoing medical treatments, including:
- Extended hospital stays
- Doctor’s appointments
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Medical equipment
- Ongoing counseling related to emotional distress
An insurance company is unlikely to take into consideration the full scope of these damages in their initial settlement offer. Your lawyer can help you estimate the full scope of the damages, losses, and other expenses you are likely to incur as a result of your accident. Accepting the initial offer from the insurance company will make it harder to pursue additional damages related to the accident at a later date.
You May Be Able to Pursue Other Damages
Medical expenses are not the only cost of being involved in a car accident. Some of the other damages that you may be entitled to include:
- Property loss
- Lost wages
- Missed opportunities for advancement at work
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
You may also be entitled to punitive damages related to your accident. Punitive damages under Code of Virginia § 8.01-38.1 are only awarded in small percentage verdicts and only to punish the defendant for behavior that was particularly harmful, such as cases where alcohol or road rage was the cause of the crash.
How a Lawyer Can Impact Your Claim
A legal team has worked on cases like yours and knows how to estimate expenses related to your claim, both past expenses as well as future expenses that you may not know to pursue.
While the other driver’s insurance company says it can send you a check, they may only make you an offer that covers your medical bills. A lawyer can take into consideration other damages that you may have incurred, such as the emotional distress you may have endured or the cost of disfigurement.
A lawyer can also help you navigate the challenge of pursuing a wrongful death case and the damages associated with your family’s loss.
Even if you have already received a check from the other driver’s insurance company, as long as you have not cashed it, you can still seek other compensation in your case. A lawyer can help you navigate your claim and fight for your right to pursue further damages related to your accident before the statute of limitations under Virginia Code § 8.01-243. expires.
If you have suffered injuries in an accident and need help pursuing damages, contact the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC for a free, no-obligation consultation. A member of our team is available and ready to help. Call us today at (571) 229-1800.