CASHING IN ON YOUR INJURY CLAIM THIS HOLIDAY SEASON? THINK TWICE!

 

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With the holiday season finally here, a little extra pocket money won’t hurt this time of year. For those handling a personal injury claim on their own without a lawyer, that may mean taking a quick settlement with the insurance company to splurge a little bit more on gifts this holiday season.

CONSEQUENCES OF “TAKING THE DEAL”

While it may seem a like good idea now to sign off on a quick settlement, be aware of the future consequences of doing so as you may be foregoing your legal rights forever.

Be mindful that in exchange for the settlement money, your insurance adjuster will require you to sign a full and final release. This means that you may be relinquishing your rights to pursue your claim against the insurance company in the future, even if your condition changes.

What if after signing the release your injury takes a turn for the worst? What if you are forced to discontinue your livelihood and begin to suffer substantial economic loss? What if you require future care to cover the cost of treatment or housekeeping expenses that may become necessary as a result of your injury but not predicted at the time you signed your release?

These are some of the considerations that should be taken in account before “taking the quick deal”. It is always best to consult with a personal injury lawyer before signing anything provided by the insurance company. After all, the insurance adjuster is in the business of saving the insurance company cash. Quick settlements now could be at the expense of your well being later on.

 

INSURANCE COMPANY TACTICS:

Often times, the insurance adjuster will tell you their number is “final” and failing to accept that number they will proceed to “close the file” to persuade you in taking the settlement (which may end up being worth much less than what you actually deserve).

They may even impose strict time limits on the offer for acceptance. In reality, the only time period that matters is the limitation period to sue in court (usually two years in Ontario, from the date of the incident). Regardless, whatever tactics they use, the truth is that you should not feel pressured to take to a “quick settlement”, especially if you’ve suffered a severe injury.

If as a result of your injury,  you broke bones, sustained a concussion, experience dizziness, tingling and numbness, difficulty finding words or memory problems, this should give you pause about signing such a release on a whim. That being said, the absence of these symptoms does not necessarily mean your injury poses no future risk. You must think about all future consequences, and may want to consult an experienced personal injury lawyer before doing anything.

Happy Holidays!

 
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