If an insurance company is offering you a quick settlement, in many cases, they are attempting to save time and money for their company. While $1,500 – $2,000 may sound like a lot, it is our experience, as Attorneys dealing with Car Accidents in Jacksonville, these quick settlement offers often do not fully cover the extent of your injury or losses.
If the answer is “yes,” what kind of medical treatment did you have? Were you taken by rescue to the hospital? The rescue bill could run over $700.00. Depending on the hospital, a simple ER hospital bill could run in excess of $30,000. There is a chain of hospitals in the Jacksonville area that charges over $9,000 for CT scans, so you can imagine how the bill can balloon if you have more than one test. If you were treated at the ER, you will receive a separate bill from the ER doctors who evaluated you. The ER doctors work in the hospital but they are affiliated with a separate company. In addition to the hospital’s and ER doctors’ bills, if you had any radiographic testing, you will receive a bill from the radiologist who read your study.
Do you know if fire rescue, the hospital, the ER doctors, and the radiologists have submitted their bills through your auto insurance? How do you know if what you are being offered by the insurance company is a good deal until you know how much you actually owe to these different providers? At Rosenberg & Calvin, P.A., we tirelessly track down bills and ensure they are processed properly to maximize your available coverage and reduce the amount that comes out of your settlement.
If you have not had treatment, do you plan on treating? In Florida, you must have medical treatment within 14 days of the accident or you lose all your PIP benefits. Even if you do not feel seriously injured, if you have medical issues lasting more than a few days, we recommend that you see a medical professional. Because you will not know whether you will need ongoing treatment, we suggest avoiding a quick settlement until you have been checked out by a medical professional and lived with your condition for a while. Then, you will have to add up any balances you owe to your providers to determine whether the quick settlement offer from the insurance company makes sense.
We rarely recommend settling your personal injury claim before completing your treatment. Based on the years we have been practicing personal injury law in Jacksonville, we know that things can change with your case. Complications can arise with your rehabilitation that can prolong your treatment. You might be referred to specialists who want special tests run to further diagnose your condition. In some cases, conservative treatment fails to provide the necessary relief after a few months and our clients’ doctors refer them to specialists who perform injection therapy or even surgery. These things take time and the more our client endures to get better, the more deserving they are to be adequately compensated.
If you know you are settling for the maximum amount of insurance available, then it makes sense to resolve the claim. Since you will have to pay back your medical providers any balances not covered by insurance as well as pay back your health insurance for their accident-related payments, it may make sense to settle early. Once the case is settled, with a few exceptions, post-settlement payments or bills related to post-settlement treatment are often no longer considered liens against your personal injury recovery.
This is where a Jacksonville Car Accident Lawyer can be of great assistance. At Rosenberg & Calvin, P.A., we look at several avenues of recovery. We ask for a Certified Copy of the other driver’s Declarations Page which shows us the amount of insurance available. If the driver of the other vehicle is not the owner of the car, we ask for insurance coverage for the owner. In Florida, cars are considered Dangerous Instrumentalities and with few exceptions, owners are liable for the damage their vehicles cause regardless of whether they were driving or not.
We often ask for an affidavit from the other driver verifying whether that person was on the job at the time of the accident. If so, the other driver’s employer may be responsible for opening up yet another source of recovery. In cases where the at-fault driver does not have any or enough insurance, we have asked for a financial affidavit outlining their assets. We look to see if there were other causes that contributed to the accident such as whether it happened in a construction zone or if shrubbery on an adjacent property obscured a stop sign. If the other driver claims their brakes failed or their car did not operate properly, there may be a claim against the repair shop where the vehicle was last serviced. There may be other sources of insurance depending on the facts of your case.
Once you accept a settlement offer, the insurance company will have you sign a release waiving your right to pursue any further legal action related to the accident. This means once you accept a quick settlement offer and later discover additional injuries or damages, you will not be able to recover additional compensation.
Before accepting any settlement offer from the insurance company, we feel it is important to speak with a Jacksonville Personal Injury Lawyer who can help you evaluate the offer and negotiate a fair settlement that fully compensates you for your losses.