Stephen Hasner | Personal Injury | April 19, 2022
After a car accident, fall, or other accident, you might be relieved to find a check in your mail from the insurance company. Many people would not question receiving an insurance check. Instead, they would sign the check and deposit the funds in their bank.
However, signing a check from an insurance company could prevent you from receiving the full compensation you deserve for accident injuries. So before you cash a check from the insurance company, make sure you understand what you could be giving up.
Cashing an Insurance Check May Waive Your Right to Additional Compensation
Most insurance companies print waivers somewhere on the check or accompanying statement. The waiver states that you release your right to future legal action and further compensation by accepting the check.
You accept the check when you cash, deposit, or otherwise negotiate it.
What are you giving up if you cash the insurance check?
You give up your right to sue the at-fault party for additional damages. For example, your doctor tells you that you need surgery because of the accident. You cannot demand more money to cover the surgery and other expenses because you waived your right by cashing the insurance check.
Let’s assume your doctor tells you that you sustained a permanent impairment because of the accident. You can work, but you cannot earn as much money as before the accident because of the impairment. You gave up your right to demand compensation for future lost wages and other damages because you cashed the check.
If the insurance check was from your insurance company, you could have waived your right to have your insurance company defend you if the other party sued you for damages. Now, you must pay to defend the lawsuit, and you could be responsible for damages.
The language on an insurance check could significantly impact your legal rights. Before cashing an insurance check after an accident or injury, talk with a Savannah personal injury lawyer. Most attorneys offer free consultations, so it does not cost you anything to verify whether accepting the insurance payment is in your best interest.
You Could Be Entitled to More Money Than the Insurance Company is Offering
Insurance companies will try almost anything to avoid paying claims. Whether you are dealing with your insurance provider or another company, all insurance companies try to limit the amount of money they pay for claims.
Therefore, the check you receive from the insurance company is likely lower than the amount your claim is worth. Unless the insurance company pays the full amount of the policy limits, you might receive more if you negotiate a settlement with the insurance company.
Even if the insurance company offers the policy limits, check with a Savannah accident and injury lawyer. If you have underinsured motorist coverage or other insurance that could apply, you do not want to release your right to claims under those policies by cashing the check.
What Damages Could I Receive in a Personal Injury Settlement?
A fair personal injury settlement is based on the facts and circumstances of your case. The amount you receive should compensate you for all damages you sustain because of the accident and your injuries.
Economic damages are the financial losses and expenses you incur due to the accident and injury.
Examples of economic damages include:
- Property damage
- Loss of income
- Medical bills
- Long-term nursing care
- Future lost wages
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Diminished earning potential
If you did not contribute to the cause of your injury, you should be entitled to reimbursement for all economic damages.
Additionally, you should be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering.
Non-economic damages include:
- Permanent impairments, disabilities, and disfigurement
- Emotional distress
- A decrease in your quality of life
- Mental anguish and trauma
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Physical discomfort and pain
The amount you receive for non-economic damages depends on the severity of your injuries and other factors. Insurance companies often downplay pain and suffering damages. The companies accuse injured victims of exaggerating their suffering for more money.
Experienced personal injury attorneys understand how insurance companies view claims. A lawyer fights to get you the maximum compensation given the facts of your case.
What Should I Do if I Receive a Check From the Insurance Company?
Hold onto the check until you talk with a lawyer. The insurance adjuster will tell you the amount is fair. They may also tell you that is the most money you can get for your case.
Make sure you seek legal advice from a trusted source. Otherwise, the cashed check might be the only money you receive for your personal injury claim.
Contact an Experienced Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyers at Hasner Law PC For Help
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