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Why Premature Settlements Can Be an Irreparable Mistake

Immediately after a car accident, it is tempting for many to rush to settle their personal injury claims. There are many reasons why a large number of car accident victims choose to go down this dangerous and risky road. However, the main reason is they want a quick settlement -- to pay medical bills, take care of their immediate financial needs and get back to work so they can put the entire, unpleasant episode behind them. There, is no doubt, an element of denial here. The victim wants to believe he is "just fine" and everything will go back to being the way it was prior to the accident.

Don't Rush to Settle Your Car Accident Case

Sometimes, that is true. The injury is not a big deal and the victim goes on to make a speedy and complete recovery. However, this is only an ideal situation. In a majority of auto accidents, personal injuries, even those described as "moderate," can linger on months or years after the incident and lead to time away from work and money lost in wages and out-of-pocket medical expenses.

We have dealt with several clients who, in my opinion, entered into a premature settlement with an insurance company and suffered a great deal later. Here is the critical issue: Once you take a settlement or sign an agreement with an insurance company, the deal is done. You cannot reopen the case after you have agreed to a settlement although you may still suffer from pain or continue to need treatment.

A Heartbreaking Story

There is a sad story of a young man, husband and father of two small children who was a union ironworker. Three months prior to his car accident, he was hired on a new construction job, which was projected to last a few years. He had been unemployed for nearly six months prior. Although he was injured in a car accident, he decided he did not want to risk taking any time off from his job to get medical treatment. He was afraid of losing his job if he did so.

The at-fault driver who hit him offered him $500 in cash to settle his claim instead of going through his insurance company. This car accident victim wanted me to negotiate a higher settlement for him because he felt that he was injured and should be getting treatment. I refused to settle his case so quickly and advised him that he should wait and see how events unfold and not rush to settle his claim. But the $500 was too tempting for this man, understandably so, and he took it. They signed a settlement agreement.

Eight months later, the young ironworker called me, this time from an Orange County hospital and begged me to come and talk to him. He was about to have emergency spinal surgery. His doctor had told him that he is never going back to being an ironworker. At this point, he had been off work for 90 days because of unbearable pain and had lost his job on the construction project. His doctor said he was relatively sure that the car accident was what started the problem and what made it worse was the fact that he did not get any care for his spinal injury. Instead he continued to work causing a series of bulging discs that were now causing extreme pain and preventing him from working in the construction industry. At this point, he couldn't get out of bed.

Unfortunately, there was nothing I could do for this young man because he settled his case prematurely. He did not let his injuries fully manifest before settling his claim.

Insurance Adjusters Are Not Your Friends

In this young man's case, he did not go through an insurance company. But if you go through an insurance company in your car accident case, you will find that your insurance adjuster will be more than eager to arrange a quick settlement. Why? The adjuster is well aware that the full extent of an injury is not likely to be known in the days following the accident. The sooner he settles with you, the less his company will have to compensate you for your losses. A quick settlement is fully in the insurance company's favor, not yours.

This is exactly why you owe it to yourself and your family to be patient in the aftermath of a car accident -- although it might be the more difficult thing to do. It is critical that you take the time to get a complete and thorough medical diagnosis of your injuries. If you got emergency care, schedule a follow-up visit with your doctor. Make sure you have given sufficient time for your injuries to manifest fully. Only then are you favorably positioned to receive the compensation you rightfully deserve for the full extent of your losses.

It Pays to Be Patient

If you accept payment or sign an agreement, like that young ironworker, you sign away your rights. You cannot renegotiate your settlement, irrespective of the long-term effects of your injuries. This applies even if your injuries result in permanent, lifelong disability or worse, if your family loses you prematurely. Remember, things can go from bad to worse.

An experienced California personal injury lawyer will not rush to settle your claim or advise you to take the first bit of money that is offered to you. A knowledgeable car accident attorney will advise that you wait until a clear and complete picture emerges so you can find out what your case is worth and receive a complete settlement that accurately compensates you for your injuries, damages and losses.


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Client Reviews of Bisnar Chase

“I don’t even know where to start, because I really wanted to write this recommendation even if there was no star or rating to be given! My daughter and I were in a bad car accident in 2011. She received a broke jaw, broken pelvic, broken arm, and a ruptured ear drum. I prayed to the lord while I was in ICU to guide me and send me to the right attorney that would help me and my daughter and not just look at us as a monetary opportunity. After much research I choose Bisnar Chase.
After spending 2 months in the ICU, we were in a long recovery process. Learning to walk, to eat due to wire shut for months! Back to the basic all over again… 4 years later it just came to an end! I tell you I have 2 different paralegals assisting me but Colleen Cadogan was the best I had this past year… This lady, emailed me, called me, send me words of encouragement almost every week! When I least expect it and I had a horrible day or had many questions and concerns she was there! As the paralegal doing her job, but also as a human being, a mother, a wife….just genuinely concern for my daughter and I. As the case came to a close….I will always remember the team of professionals and I would recommended Bisnar Chase to anyone….and be patient, patience”

by Maria Vasquez

reviewed at Google+

“INTEGRITY, CONFIDENCE AND THOROUGHNESS-THIS FIRM IS AMAZING! when my German Shepherd was falsely accused of biting a child, I thought, who better than the best personal injury attorney out there to ask for advise? Researched best attorneys in OC for dog bites, and was directed to the law firm of Bisnar and Chase. To say I was astounded at the depth of the response I received to my online enquiry is an understatement.
Upfront they said they weren't defense attorneys, but (after winning numerous severe dog bite cases over the years) they took the time to line item their opinion of how events would unfold (putting my mind at ease). In this day and age, the fact they took the time out of their busy day to respond so thoroughly to a cry for help ( inwhich they had absolutely nothing to gain), speaks volumns about the integrity of this firm. I wouldn't hesitate to use them, or refer them.”

by Stephanie C.

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“Were very helpful, even if you don't hire them. Sent them some questions by email of my case and were very fast on getting back to me with sound advice. Didn't end up needing to get a lawyer, and it was very comendable on their part to be honest with their advice.”

by Denisse S.

reviewed at Yelp

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Disclaimer: The legal information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor the formation of an attorney-client relationship. Any results set forth here were dependent on the facts of that case and the results will differ from case to case. Bisnar Chase serves all of California. In addition, we represent clients in various other states through our affiliations with local law firms. Through the local firm we will be admitted to practice law in their state, pro hac vice.

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