Why You Should Always Talk to a Lawyer Before Accepting an Insurance Settlement in Pennsylvania

February 29, 2024

When you get injured in a car accident, securing an insurance settlement is typically the best-case scenario. If you receive a settlement, you can use the money to cover your accident-related expenses, and you can move on with your life without having to think about your insurance claim on a daily basis.

But, accepting an insurance settlement can also be risky.

If you are dealing with the aftermath of a serious car accident, it is extremely important that you speak with a lawyer about your legal rights. While it might eventually be in your best interests to accept an insurance settlement, you need to be very careful to avoid settling your claim too soon.

7 Reasons to Talk to a Lawyer Before Accepting an Insurance Settlement

Here are seven reasons to talk to a lawyer before accepting an insurance settlement in Pennsylvania:

1. The Insurance Companies Don’t Have Your Best Interests in Mind

When you file an insurance claim after a car accident, the insurance company doesn’t have your best interests in mind. This is true whether you file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company or you file a claim under your (or a family member’s) policy. The insurance companies put their financial interests first, and this means that their goal is to pay you as little as possible.

As a result, if you accept an offer to settle your claim and you haven’t hired a lawyer to represent you, you will almost certainly be settling for much less than you deserve. This can have a drastic impact on your physical, financial and emotional wellbeing in the future, and it is a mistake that you can—and should—avoid.  

2. Once You Settle, You Can’t Go Back and Ask for More

When you settle an insurance claim, you give up your right to go back and ask for more. Your claim is over, and you must make do with what you have. This is true even if you unknowingly settle for far less than you deserve.

3. The Insurance Companies Don’t Know How Much You Are Entitled to Recover

Another reason not to accept an unsolicited settlement offer is that the insurance companies don’t know how much you are entitled to recover. They don’t know what treatment you will need in the future. They don’t know how much you make or how long you will be out of work. They don’t know the severity of your daily pain and suffering.

When you hire a lawyer to represent you, your lawyer will gather and present evidence of your losses on your behalf. Then, using this evidence, your lawyer will negotiate for a fair settlement that truly represents just compensation for your accident-related losses.

4. You Are Entitled to Just Compensation for Your Financial and Non-Financial Losses

If you have an insurance claim, you are entitled to just compensation for your financial and non-financial losses. As a result, your settlement should include not only coverage for your out-of-pocket expenses and loss of income but also your pain, suffering, scarring, emotional trauma, and loss of enjoyment of life.

But, without an experienced lawyer on your side, you are extremely unlikely to receive any compensation for the non-financial costs of your accident. Since accident victims’ non-financial damages are often calculated as a multiple of their financial damages, this means that you could be leaving the majority of your compensation on the table.

5. It Is Up to You (and Your Lawyer) to Calculate the Long-Term Costs of the Accident

Your settlement should include compensation not only for your costs through the date of the settlement but also for your costs in the future. If you will be forced to deal with the consequences of the accident for months or years to come, your future costs will make up the largest portion of your claim.

But, without a lawyer on your side, you will be unlikely to receive any compensation for these costs. The insurance company will base its settlement offer on any estimates and bills you submit—and if you accept, you will be left to figure out how to cover your long-term costs on your own.

6. Settling Might Not Be the Best Choice in Your Particular Case

While most successful car accident claims result in insurance settlements, accepting a settlement might not be the best choice in your particular case. Under no circumstances should you settle for less than you deserve. An experienced lawyer will be able to help you make an informed decision about whether to settle and if settling doesn’t make sense, your lawyer will be able to take the insurance companies to court.

While going to court might be the last thing you want to do, it is important not to let this sway you toward accepting an unfair settlement. In many cases, filing a lawsuit will convince the insurance companies to start negotiating in good faith. But, even if it doesn’t, doing what it takes to assert your legal rights will be worth it in the end.

7. You Need to Make the Best Decisions for You and Your Family

Finally, and most importantly, you need to make the best decisions for you and your family. An experienced lawyer will be able to help you avoid costly mistakes that could negatively impact you and your loved ones well into the future. Hiring an experienced lawyer costs nothing out-of-pocket, and it is the best thing you can do to maximize your chances of recovering just compensation.

Contact Us for a Free, No-Obligation Consultation

With offices in Allentown, Bethlehem, Doylestown, Easton and Stroudsburg, we represent car accident victims and their families throughout Pennsylvania. If you are dealing with insurance companies after a serious accident, we encourage you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. To learn more about what we can do to help you at no out-of-pocket cost, please call 888-777-7098 or tell us how we can reach you online today.