I Accepted a Settlement from My Insurance Company: Can I Still Obtain More Money?
Car insurance companies are for-profit companies. They often put their profit margins above paying fair compensation to car accident victims. Insurance companies hope to pay the lowest possible amount when they resolve personal injury claims, especially regarding feeling pain and suffering. After being injured in a motor vehicle accident, car accident companies may offer an injured individual compensation significantly lower than the true value of his or her personal injury claim.
If you accept an offer from the insurance company, it can be difficult to obtain more compensation later. Unfortunately, many victims realize their medical expenses will be much higher after accepting an insurance settlement. For example, a victim might accept an insurance settlement before realizing that the symptoms from their serious spinal cord injury or traumatic brain injury will be more severe than they originally anticipated. Accepting the first settlement offer from an insurance company can be tempting, especially as your medical bills add up, but doing so can hurt you in the long run.Do Not Accept the Insurance Company's Initial Offer Without Talking to an Attorney
Personal injury settlements for pain and suffering generally do not account for all of a victim's future pain and suffering. Immediately after an auto accident, you may need a clearer picture of the pain and suffering you will go through. For example, you may not be able to predict that you will need additional surgeries or time in a rehabilitation facility. You may only accept a low offer if you include those expenses when valuing your case.
Auto insurance companies have a track record of contacting victims immediately and settling with them as quickly as possible. The insurance company for asphalt motorists may try to contact you and offer you what is called a "nuisance offer." These offers typically involve a small sum of money. The insurance adjuster who contacts you may pressure you into believing that your injury is not severe enough to warrant any more compensation than they are offering you.
Unbeknownst to some injured motorists, accepting a nuisance offer may release the at-fault motorist who caused your injuries and their auto insurance company from liability. In other words, accepting a low settlement might prevent you, as the injured person, from making a claim for pain and suffering later, even if you have suffered debilitating injuries that require surgery and other expensive treatments.What If I Already Accepted the Offer but Now Regret it?
If an injured person accepts an insurance company's "nuisance offer" because an insurance company has misrepresented the settlement, what options do they have? If you have signed an offer and now regret doing so, it is crucial that you reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Depending on the facts of your case, a personal injury attorney may be able to avoid the release. Releases are subject to ordinary North Carolina contract rules. It is possible that your attorney may be able to have the contract invalidated due to illegality, fraud, duress, or mutual mistake.
For example, if you signed a release based on an insurance agent's misrepresentations to you, you may be able to void the contract. However, this is only possible with some settlement agreements. If you understood what you were signing and there was no fraudulent or misrepresentative behavior, you may be required to adhere to the contract. The important thing to do is speak to an attorney to learn about your legal options.How Can an Attorney Help Me Negotiate a Better Settlement?
If you have been injured in a car accident in North Carolina, wait to sign a settlement agreement from the insurance company until you have discussed your case with an attorney. In nearly all cases, insurance companies offer far too low settlements, hoping that the victim will take it so they can begin paying medical bills. It may seem wise to take the insurance company's first offer because of the significant financial pressure you are facing. However, doing so can hurt your chances of obtaining an entire and fair settlement agreement.Contact a Charlotte Car Accident Attorney Today
The attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, have extensive experience negotiating with insurance companies. Many of our attorneys have experience working for insurance companies, so we know the tactics they use to settle cases quickly and cheaply. We use our experience and knowledge of North Carolina laws to advocate strongly for car accident victims. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation.