Imagine driving home from work on Friday. You were looking forward to a nice, relaxing weekend. Instead, a commercial van made an illegal left turn in front of you, and now you are going to spend your time recuperating from your injuries. After the accident, you were able to exchange information with the other driver. By the time you got home from the doctor, the insurance company had called, offering to fix your car and send you $1,000 to cover your medical costs.
It is tempting to take the offer and get everything over and done with. What if your injuries end up being more severe than you think they are? What if the money is not enough to cover your medical expenses? Will the insurance company grant you more money?
Before you agree to a settlement, there are things you should know. An experienced Illinois car accident attorney can help you decide if a settlement is the right choice for you. Read further for some facts you should know about settlement agreements.
Settlement agreement forms
When two parties reach a settlement, they sign an agreement form that includes their decision to dismiss the claims and release each party from further obligations. In other words, when you sign one of these documents, you release the insurance company from any future responsibilities, and you waive your right to pursue any future remedies.
The settlement agreement will also contain the details of your car accident, the claim for damages, and how much the insurance company is paying you.
Timing is everything
If the insurance company offers a settlement, do not sign it until you have received all necessary medical treatment and you are sure there will not be any additional medical issues. The reason for this is that once you sign, you give up your right to file a lawsuit or make a claim for additional compensation.
Filing a lawsuit
Once the insurance company makes its final or highest offer, you will have to decide whether you will accept or reject the offer. You might think that you stand a better chance of receiving a higher settlement if you file a lawsuit and go to court. However, that may not be the case. By going to trial, you risk getting a reduced amount of compensation, and you will be facing a long and drawn-out process.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, you should not accept a settlement offer until you speak with an attorney.