Almost always the answer is no. There are several reasons why, but the most compelling might be this — the minute you cash that check, and it clears, that may settle the case. Never can you go back to the at-fault driver or their insurance company and try to pursue them for more money.
Call us right away at 800-747-3733 if you receive a check from the other driver or their insurance company. The attorneys at Anidjar & Levine can advise you if the amount is fair.
The following reasons explain why it is almost always a bad idea to accept a check from the at-fault driver or their insurance company after a car accident:
Your Claim Might Entitle You to More Compensation
Think about this from a logical perspective. If you owed somebody money and decided to reach out with an offer to pay, would you immediately offer up the full amount, or might you consider first seeing if they will accept a lower amount?
If you are a businessperson, you will probably reach out with the lower amount first.
Insurance companies are businesses, and their reason for existing is to make a profit. One way they do this is by keeping expenses as low as possible. And an effective way to keep costs down is to pay less than they have to on claims whenever possible.
So, you can assume when you receive an insurance settlement offer that it does not include the full amount you deserve. Rather than leaving money on the table by accepting it, consult with a lawyer about your options, and have your attorney negotiate for more money on your behalf.
You Might Not Know the Extent of Your Injuries or the Amount of Your Future Bills
If you sustained injuries in the car accident, you might need ongoing treatment, the costs of which you may be eligible to recover from the at-fault party. An early settlement check from the at-fault driver or their insurance company will not take into account your future medical costs.
In fact, if you have not consulted with an attorney, you might not even have an estimate for the cost of those bills. Rather than accepting a check without further investigation, work with a lawyer to calculate the amount you can reasonably expect to occur in medical expenses. This gives you a good starting point when negotiating for more money.
There Might Be Additional Damages You Can Recover
Car accident victims often focus on their medical expenses and repair bills, but those are not the only damages for which you might be eligible to receive compensation.
Other damages include lost wages, reduced future earning capacity, pain and suffering, and if evidence exists of reckless or malicious behavior by the at-fault driver, punitive damages.
But the insurance company or at-fault driver’s initial settlement offer are not likely to include such damages.
Thus, wait to accept any checks or payment until you have consulted with a lawyer and are aware of the full scope of your claim.
What If I Have Already Received a Check?
If you gave your verbal consent to accept a settlement offer and a check is on the way, or you have it in your possession, DO NOT CASH IT!
The minute you cash it, that act may settle the case. It then becomes difficult to ever get any more money from the at-fault party or the insurance company.
However, as long as you have not cashed the check, your attorney can send it back along with a letter stating that you do not wish to settle your claim without further investigation and discussion.
Call Us Today For a Free Consultation
Before you cash that check, call the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine at 800-747-3733. We are happy to evaluate your case and help you determine the best course of action.