Generally, no, you never want to settle your personal injury claim before you’ve finished treatment. Instead, you should wait until you are about as well as you are going to get. This is because until you’ve finished treatment, you won’t know how much treatment, and therefore how much compensation, you actually need. And once you accept a settlement, you cannot get more money later, even if you need it.
For example, imagine a case of a woman named Stacy. Stacy needed spinal surgery after a car crash. She settled for an amount that covered the cost of her surgery. However, the surgery wasn’t successful, and Stacy ended up needing revision surgery. Because she already settled, she cannot get compensation for the cost of the revision surgery.
However, that does not mean you should wait to file your claim until after you’ve finished treatment either.
The Importance of Filing a Personal Injury Claim Early
You can still get your claim started even if you are still undergoing treatment, and you should. Waiting too long to file a claim could also cause you to lose out on compensation.
In fact, in both Alabama and Georgia you must file your personal injury lawsuit within two years of the date you were injured, or you will not be allowed to get any compensation whatsoever. If you try to file a lawsuit after this two-year period, called the statute of limitations, your case will automatically be thrown out.
Why You Should Hire a Lawyer
Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to wait until you are fully healed before settling, and sometimes that’s because injuries are serious enough that the victims never fully heal.
For example, let’s return to the example of Stacy. Stacy’s injury means she can no longer do the same work she did before. She had to find a new job, and unfortunately it pays less. However, because she is earning less because of her injury, she is eligible for compensation for her reduced wages, any benefits she lost when she switched jobs, and even for any future promotions or bonuses she may have received at the previous job.
In cases like Stacy’s, a personal injury attorney will have the experience and knowledge to help calculate how much money the victim will likely need to cover all their future injury-related expenses.
We recommend reaching out to an experienced Georgia or Alabama personal injury lawyer to start working on your case as soon as possible after your injury. The sooner you get your claim filed, the easier it will be to:
- Prove when your injury happened
- Collect evidence showing who was at fault
- Document what treatment you received and how much it costs
- Calculate the wages lost because of your injury
- Show how your injury affected your daily life, from inability to enjoy hobbies to the amount of pain you are in
You Don’t Need to Settle Your Vehicle Claim and Injury Claim at the Same Time
Many people may feel pressured to settle after a car accident before they know the full extent of their injuries and how much treatment they’ll need because they need their car repaired, especially if they need working transportation to and from their medical appointments.
However, you can and usually should settle your property damage and personal injury claims separately.
If the insurance company tells you that they can’t settle your property damage claim separately from your injury claim, they are likely trying to mislead you, and you should speak to a lawyer as soon as possible about your rights after a crash.
If you do decide to settle your vehicle repair claim before your personal injury claim, make sure to carefully read the settlement agreement to make sure it clearly states the settlement is only for property damage and not for medical expenses.
We Have the Knowledge to Help Injury Victims
At the Law Offices of Gary Bruce, our Columbus personal injury lawyers know that injury victims need money now. But we also know that victims of crashes that weren’t their fault deserve to receive full compensation, not just the lowball first offer.
When you contact us, we’ll help you get the medical treatment you need, calculate how much you’re owed, and build a case that the insurance company can’t ignore or deny. And best of all, because we work on a contingency fee basis, you don’t pay us unless we win you money. Call today for a free case review.