More people are mistaken about this than about anything else in personal injury law.
And it is understandable – you need money to pay your bills, to pay the medical bills, and to make up for the time you are missing from work. You shouldn’t have to wait.
Here is the problem: Until you are completely recovered, no matter how good you feel right now, you can always get worse.
It happens all the time. People think their back – or knee, or shoulder – is better, and then they lift something, or stretch too far, or turn too quickly, and they find out it isn’t. They need surgery, or more therapy, or more time off work.
If you settle before you completely recover, you cannot get the insurance company to pay you more for the lost wages, or medical bills, or pain and suffering you thought were over. Because when you settled, you have already released your claims against the insurance company and the other driver – you promised not to sue them in exchange for money.
I cannot tell you the number of clients I have had who wanted to settle early, and then wound up needing more treatment. There was only one I could not talk out of settling; she took the insurance company’s offer, signed a release, and then needed knee surgery six months later.
At that point, I could not help her.
When is it OK to settle? At the earliest of three points:
1) When you are completely recovered.
2) When your doctor tells you that you will never completely recover, that you are “as good as you are going to get.”
3) When you are sure that the amount you are entitled to is greater than the total money available (usually, this is the insurance available to you under both the other driver’s insurance policy and your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.)
But you don’t have to guess at this. You can talk to me, a Cincinnati Personal Injury Attorney, and find out what I think.
There is no obligation – if you decide to call another lawyer, it’s OK. My phone is 513-621-4775.
I have been a lawyer over 30 years. I listen to people who have this problem every day. And I will be happy to talk with you.
Because all situations are different, and because there may be other facts pertaining to your case that I don’t know about, you should not rely on this answer for legal advice. I am not your attorney, and no lawyer client relationship has been formed. All discussions are limited to Ohio law unless otherwise indicated. And past performance cannot be used to predict future results.