Should I Accept a Check From the At-Fault Driver or Their Insurance?
Finances can be tight after a car accident. So, if you receive a check in the mail from the at-fault driver or their insurance carrier, it could be tempting to cash it. After all, these funds could cover your medical treatment or vehicle repair costs, among other things.
Unfortunately, there is a significant risk associated with cashing it. It could function as a settlement and release– effectively resolving your claim forever. If the check is for far less than what your claim is worth, you will find yourself shortchanged.
It is vital that you discuss this with a Pittsburgh personal injury attorney before accepting it. Your attorney can advise you whether it is in your best interest to accept a check or return it.
The risk of taking money from the at-fault driver
Multiple risks come with accepting a check from the other driver. This is especially true immediately following an accident, and before you have the chance to assess your injuries fully.
The risk of settling a claim right away centers on the nature of soft tissue injuries, which do not manifest immediately. In some cases, it can take weeks. Additional testing and treatment might be necessary further down the line. If you settle your claim right away, you could end up accepting far less compensation than your claim is worth.
Another risk that comes with dealing directly with the at-fault driver is that the check will bounce. You could even find yourself a victim of fraud if you sign a release of your claim only to find the settlement check is no good. A Pittsburgh car accident attorney is your best option in these circumstances. They have the experience and skill to negotiate in your best interests.
Potential issues with accepting a check from the insurance company
Further, accepting a check– especially one that is unsolicited– from the other driver’s insurance company is also risky. If it comes with a document known as a release of claims. If you sign and accept the check, your case is settled. If you are under the impression that you could come back for additional compensation—that would be a mistake.
Insurance companies are known for their aggressive efforts to save money. They understand that individuals are more likely to accept an inadequate settlement if they have not consulted with an attorney.
This is why it is typical for the insurance company to quickly make a settlement offer. It will often cover the extent of your emergency room bills but will fall well short of the real value of your entire claim.
Once you accept a settlement check from the insurance company, their liability ends. Again, once a claim is resolved, you will not be able to recover additional compensation under the insurance policy.
Contact us today
Our experience in negotiating these types of claims has resulted in substantial damages awards. Our attorneys have recovered more than $1 billion for their clients.
We are prepared to put our experience to work for you. There is no fee unless we prevail. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.