If you’ve never been involved in a car or truck accident, then you’re probably unaware of how intense the recovery process can be — in both physical and emotional terms. Aside from the bodily pain, one of the biggest stressors can involve the financial aspect.
If the collision was someone else’s fault, are you going to settle with an insurance company outside of court, or will you file suit? Depending on the circumstances of your case, as well as your specific needs, one option might be better than the other.
Five Items to be Aware Of
Never take anyone who says you should always settle or always sue seriously. Every matter is unique, and you must be prepared to respond according to your specific circumstances.
Here are five of the essentials to think about:
- Get a Qualified Attorney
Even if you don’t think you’ll be pursuing any kind of legal action, it’s wise to “lawyer up” as soon as possible. Attorneys who are experienced at handling all of the factors related to auto accidents can, at the very least, walk you through your options.
They can also serve as a buffer between you and the insurance companies that will start to pester you soon after the incident.
- Never Settle Right Away
“Insurance companies want to limit their losses and limit their liability,” explains Hermann & Hermann, a law firm in McAllen, Texas that specializes in truck accidents. “You may receive a settlement offer while you are still having medical care and incurring additional expenses.”
The pitfall with quick settlements is that they’re almost always for the advantage of the insurance companies. They know that, if they can wave some tempting money in front of the victim, many will take it and run.
Unfortunately, the amounts they offer tend to range between only 5 and 30 percent of what you’re more likely to get in a settlement or lawsuit later. Remain patient and resist the temptation to accept ready cash.
- Be Wary of Trusting Insurance Companies
Not all insurance companies are venial, but they have a responsibility to watch out for their bottom line. That being the case, they may sometimes act in what looks like bad faith.
If you don’t have an attorney on your side, you might not recognize when an insurance company is misleading you or ignoring certain rights you should enjoy. The moral of the story is to be wary of trusting insurance companies when money is on the line.
- Understand that Lawsuits Can be Hugely Complex
Sometimes suing an insurance company is the best thing you can do; however, you don’t want to walk into a lawsuit casually without trying to grasp all it might entail. Lawsuits can be lengthy and complicated. They demand lots of patience and a strong stomach. Keep this in mind if you think you might choose to go this route.
- Make Your Own Decision
At the end of the day, you have to make your own decision. Lawyers will tell you one thing, insurance companies another, and friends and family members may advise something else entirely.
Don’t get allow yourself to be pressured into making a choice with which you aren’t comfortable. You’re the one who has to live with the consequences — not anyone else — so trust your gut.
It might not necessarily be the “best” choice, but you’re more likely to sleep at night if you made the choices for yourself.
Weigh Your Options
After reviewing the information in this article, you might see a clearer path that inspires you to lead toward one specific option. But if your situation is like many others, there will still be multiple advantages and disadvantages to every course.
If this is true, take your time and weigh all your options. Patience generally leads to better decision-making.