Hurt in an Accident? How Soon is Too Soon to Settle?

April 13, 2015

Your mom always said, “I’m not worried about you, it’s all the other crazies on the road that I’m worried about.” She had reason to worry; millions of people are severely hurt or killed in accidents on US roadways every year.

Oftentimes, injuries are obvious; you need an ambulance and immediate medical attention. Other times, if you are lucky enough to walk away from a crash, you may not even be aware of the extent of your injuries until many months later.

If you are in an accident, a skilled personal injury lawyer can fight for maximum compensation to pay for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and more. However, the real question is: how soon is too soon to file a claim and to settle?

This question is a double-edge sword because, on one hand, you may need the money right away to pay those bills. On the other hand, since there is a two-year statute of limitations on injuries sustained in car accidents (meaning you have two years from the date of the crash to file a lawsuit), it may pay to wait a bit to see if latent injuries do cause you significant problems down the line.

The truth is, you may know what your immediate injuries are, such as: loss of limb, concussion or other traumatic brain injury or spinal fracture. However, today’s injuries may get exceedingly worse: a neck injury could cause paralysis, lacerations may cause permanent disfigurement, months of rehab may leave you with considerable difficulty walking.

Therefore, if you are too quick to settle a claim for fast cash, you make not be compensated for the full extent of your injuries. Here are some things to think about:

  1. The insurance company may very well approach you with an offer. They may tell you it’s a limited time offer; accept the check and the deal is done. Don’t be quick to cash the check and certainly speak with a lawyer before accepting any deal. Be aware that “deals” like that will always be available. Your personal injury lawyer can go back and request that deal. However, it’s likely that initial payment could be much larger with an experienced lawyer negotiating on your behalf.
  2. In addition to not knowing the extent of your injuries right away, you likely don’t have a crystal ball and won’t know whether even minor injuries today – such as hitting your head on the windshield – may cause blurry vision that prevents you from driving at some point in the future.
  3. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is common after accidents. But, it’s called “post” for a reason. You may not realize you are suffering from PTSD until many months after the accident.

Many people want to know how much money they can get if they file a personal injury lawsuit. The answer is: it depends. The amount of compensation is based on how serious and permanent your injuries turn out to be. If you have injuries that have obvious long-term ramifications – such as loss of limb – you are likely to have a higher settlement. The length of recovery time is also a factor; how much time did you have to take off of work to recovery from the accident?

These are all questions that the skilled personal injury lawyers at Sheffit & Dvorin can answer for you because they have helped many accident victims, like you, recover maximum compensation for injuries. Contact their offices today for a free consultation about your case.