Moving too fast isn’t just one cause of car wrecks: it’s also one of the ways to ruin your claim and possibly your life. After an automobile collision, it’s not uncommon to be contacted by many different sources. You’ll likely notice ads on television more, get advice from friends and family, and you may get advertisements in the mail. However, the one contact you want to be most suspicious of is the contact from the other driver’s insurance company. In some cases, even your own insurance company can pose a threat.
Since North Carolina does not follow the law of third-party bad faith, there are very few limits on the way that an insurance company can contact you after an injury. They can be extremely aggressive, and as long as they don’t commit out-right fraud, there is a huge range of things they can do and say to get you to settle your case. Insurance companies want you to resolve your case on their terms. They want you to settle the case without speaking with a lawyer, and if possible, without seeing a doctor. This is a two-pronged approach. The insurance adjuster would like you to avoid speaking to a lawyer so you don’t know what your rights are, and what the potential value of your case could be. The adjuster wants you to avoid seeing a doctor so that you settle your claim without full knowledge of what kind of treatment you might need, how long it will last, and what it might cost (all of which, by the way, have a direct bearing on the value of your case as well.)
Do you need medical treatment from every car wreck? Of course not. Do you need to hire a lawyer to handle every car wreck? Of course not. But, think about how many times you’ve taken your car to a mechanic for a problem, you go to pick it up, and as soon as you get home, you notice the problem’s not fixed, or there is something else wrong, and you need to go back to the mechanic. That can happen with your insurance claim as well, and in fact can happen with your property damage. Right after a wreck, you are likely to be feeling adrenaline pumping through your system. That, along with frustration, confusion, and even anger, can cause you to ignore physical symptoms until later in the day or even for a couple of days. If you settle your claims before you have a chance to really determine if you’re physically okay, you could be throwing way the ability to get the treatment you need to get well, in addition to missing out on money for your treatment, lost income, and pain and suffering. The adjuster will make you sign a release that will end your claim, and will potentially end your ability to get treatment or compensation, and that will end at either the moment of settlement or very soon after it.
Even if you don’t get any money, you certainly want to get well. That’s why it’s never a good idea with settle your personal injury claim from a car wreck (or really any kind of injury) too quickly. You need to determine as soon as you can after a wreck if you’re hurt, or if you think you need to see a doctor. You should certainly never get treatment you don’t need, but once you sign a release, you could be significantly restricted from getting the help you need and are entitled to have. If you think you’re hurt, don’t take a chance: seek the medical care you think you need. Once you know about your physical condition, then consult an attorney to learn what your rights are. Just because you may have been through this process once, doesn’t mean everything is the same: the law changes often. The attorneys at Miller Law Group monitor the law and study it (sometimes we help make it!) to provide you with the most current, helpful advice. If we don’t think we can help you, we won’t take the case, and we’ll tell you why. The consultation is free.