I recently met with a new client who was injured in an automobile accident.
She had been treated in the emergency room following the collision and was under the care of a doctor at the time I met with her. She was still having significant problems and it appeared that she was going to need an MRI to determine the full extent of her injuries. Despite these significant problems that she appeared to be suffering from, the insurance company made an offer to her of $1,500 to settle her case only two weeks after the accident occurred.
It was obvious to me that the insurance company had not fairly evaluated the case, as the client was still actively treating for a lot of problems. The insurance company was attempting to offer her money up front to convince the client to settle her case cheaply, before she had a chance to speak to a lawyer.
Unfortunately, we are seeing this happen more and more and this is not an isolated occurrence. The insurance companies are trying to discourage injured accident victims from seeking legal counsel.
The reason that the insurance companies do this is because they are able to pay far less to an unrepresented person than to someone who is represented by an experienced injury lawyer. The NJ Insurance Code, Section 17:29B-15 (Enforceability of Insurance Release), specifically gives accident victims the right to change their minds and cancel an agreement to settle their case made within 30 days following the accident. In order to cancel the agreement, you must file the notice of the cancellation with the insurance company within 10 days after the date you signed the release.
If you have been injured in an accident do not agree to settle your claim with the insurance company before the full extent of your injuries is known. You will almost always obtain more money for your injuries by consulting an experienced personal injury lawyer. At Druckman & Hernandez, we have been handling personal injury cases for over 20 years and have successfully settled thousands of claims. If you have been injured, please contact us for a free consultation before you agree to any settlement with an insurance company.