Insurance Company Car Accident Settlement Offer: Should I Take It? Talk to an Experienced Minnesota Attorney First.
After a car accident that is caused by another driver, the other driver’s car insurance company will sometimes call you and offer a quick settlement, usually $500 or $1,000, or even sometimes the entire amount of their insured’s policy limits if you were badly injured. Before you do anything, you should ALWAYS consult with a top MN car accident attorney and discuss whether to accept any offer to settle from the insurance company. A good Minnesota car accident lawyer will give you a free consultation to discuss the settlement offer with you before you make a decision.
There are several risks that you should consider before you settle on your own with the other driver’s auto insurance. The first problem is obviously that you may settle your car accident case for too little or too soon and give up future rights. Even if you don’t think you have been injured at all, it is not worth taking the insurance company’s $500 offer and giving up all your rights if you find out later that you actually were injured in the car crash or your injury is worse than you thought. Our car crash attorneys in MN have seen many personal injury cases where people do not realize they have been injured for days or even weeks after an auto accident and settled their case with the insurance by taking a small offer too soon after the accident. Our MN Car Accident lawyers have seen quick early settlement offers like this made by Progressive Insurance, State Farm, Allstate and several other auto insurance companies as well. Often, the insurance company’s settlement offer is not at all fair given the situation or future risks.
Another potential problem with accepting or taking an auto insurance settlement offer too soon is that you could interfere with other insurance issues. Here are a few examples our car crash injury attorneys see most frequently in Minnesota showing why it might be better not to take the insurance company offer without consulting an attorney first: (1) If your car insurance paid to fix your car, they may have the right to get their money back from the other driver’s insurance company. You are required by your insurance policy to cooperate with your automobile insurer to help them get their money back. (2) If your accident is caused by a commercial vehicle — like a semi truck — your car insurance company may also have the right to get reimbursed for any medical payments or wage loss they paid for you. Again, your policy requires cooperation, so you should not enter into any settlement with the other insurance company on your own because your settlement could interfere with your auto insurance getting their money back from the other driver’s insurance. (3) If you have medical bills from your personal injury car accident that were paid by your health insurance, they have the right to get paid back, and you could jeopardize your future health insurance benefits if you do not make sure they get paid back out of your insurance settlement. (4) If you or someone in your car has been seriously injured and the other insurance company offers you their driver’s policy limits, you most likely have the right to additional benefits through underinsurance coverage (called underinsured motorist benefits) from your auto insurance as well. If you settle your car accident claim too quickly with the other driver’s insurance, you may lose the opportunity to get the underinsurance benefits you are entitled to – which can be substantial and important to you.
Pam Rochlin and David Rochlin are experienced MN car accident personal injury lawyers with more than 25 years’ experience successfully handling hundreds of injury cases. Pam Rochlin is a former partner at Meshbesher and Spence and offers small firm attention and personal service. Pam and David are married, and we treat our clients like they are a part of our family. We have offices where you can come to discuss your car accident personal injury case with a lawyer in Minneapolis, St. Louis Park and Woodbury. Our MN attorneys also meet our car accident clients at their homes in St. Paul, Chanhassen, Chaska, Maple Grove, Apple Valley, Lakeville, Anoka, White Bear Lake, Brooklyn Park, and other cities throughout Minnesota. We will always provide you with a free initial consultation and we never charge anything unless you receive compensation for your injuries.