After an accident, when you’re downtrodden with a mix of heightened emotions and anxiety, it can be exhilarating to receive an unexpected check from your insurance carrier. But should you cash it? You can, but in most cases, the answer is no, because the moment you cash or deposit the check, it will waive the insurance company from any further liability, thereby terminating any chance of you getting further compensation.
If you have received a check from your insurance company, consider consulting a lawyer before cashing it. An attorney can assist in evaluating the settlement check and determine whether it reflects a full and fair compensation per the sustained damage.
Why Should I not Cash a Check From an Insurance Company?
The reason you should not deposit or cash the settlement check sent by an insurance company is two-fold:
- Insurance companies are business ventures: Just like any other business entity, insurance companies want to make more money. One way this is done is through settling claims for minimal compensation.
Most insurance checks come with documentation, or a clause printed on the check itself that essentially states that you waive the right to pursue more legal action and compensation once it’s cashed.
- Time can reveal more damages: If you discover new injuries or learn you need more treatments a week or month from now, the insurance company will not pay more money to cover the new expenses.
What Should I Consider Before Cashing the Check?
Ask yourself the following questions before deciding to accept the check:
Does the Settlement Account for the Full Extent of Your Damages?
Many people are unaware of the full extent of damages they are entitled to collect. Under Florida law, most personal injury claims make you eligible to receive compensation for three types of damages:
- Economic damages: This refers to monetary losses from the accident. These may include compensation for lost income, reduced or lost earning potential, past and future medical expenses, rehabilitation expenses, and property damage costs.
- Non-economic damages: This refers to intangible, non-financial losses, such as pain and suffering, trauma, reduced quality of life, mental anguish, or loss of enjoyment in activities you used to participate in pre-injury. Non-monetary damages may also include disfigurement and physical impairment.
- Punitive damages: This is meant to punish the defendant if their conduct was intentional or negligent to a significant degree. Punitive damages are uncommon, but if it’s a case like a DUI, you may be entitled to collect punitive damages along with compensation.
Did the Insurance Thoroughly Investigate Your Accident?
All insurance companies must handle claims in good faith. This means promptly investigating damages and providing a fair settlement. But some carriers may underpay you without looking at all the evidence and damages. If your insurer sent you a check without looking at all the aspects of your claim, then it may be prudent not to accept the settlement. You can then pursue further compensation.
Does the Check Come with Any Catch?
You can check if this payment from the insurer comes with documentation that states if it is a full or final payment. If so, the insurance company will view your act of cashing it as accepting its offer, which will terminate your right to file more claims or a lawsuit. Although you may not realize it now, this check may represent just a small percentage of what your case is truly worth.
What does It Mean to Receive a Check From My Insurance?
Receiving a check quickly may mean the insurance company believes you have a strong case and that it will likely be required to pay more than the first offer if you pursue legal action. A quick settlement may be its attempt at killing a potential claim or a lawsuit by tempting you with enough financial help to cover your short-term expenses. But in the long run, you may be leaving money on the table.
Accidents are unexpected incidents. It can quickly inundate you with a huge pile of bills and disrupt every facet of your life. While you may feel pressured to cash that check, you should first consider consulting with an attorney to determine whether it is an appropriate amount or if your case is worth more.
Get a Free Consultation Before Cashing Your Settlement Check
Hold that check and call the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine immediately. We can determine if the check you received accurately reflects the full extent of damages. Our attorneys will guide you through the best legal action to obtain a fair settlement. We can also negotiate a better offer or represent you at trial if you decide to pursue a lawsuit.
Do not take the insurance company’s initial offer unless you have full confidence that it’s the best decision for you and your family. We can assist you in making an informed decision. Contact our legal team now at 1-800-747-3733 for a free case review.
We Can Help.