Should You Accept A Personal Injury Settlement Before Finishing Medical Treatment?
After getting into an accident in Florida, be it a motor vehicle accident, slip and fall accident, motorcycle accident, bicycle accident, or any other type of accident, and suffering severe injuries, you can recover compensation from an at-fault party. Considering the financial burden that follows after an accident, after filing a personal injury claim, you may be tempted to accept a settlement from the at-fault party’s insurance company before finishing your treatment. But, is it a good idea to accept a personal injury settlement before finishing medical treatment?
Should You Accept an Injury Settlement Before Finishing Medical Treatment?
In simple words, you should not settle your Florida personal injury claim before you have finished treatment. Waiting to complete your medical treatment will enable you to know how much your treatment will cost in the long run. If you accept a settlement before you have finished your treatment, you may be left paying for future medical expenses out of your own pocket. Consider the following example:
A victim suffered a spinal cord injury in a motor vehicle accident that was caused by another driver’s negligence. After the crash, the victim underwent spinal surgery and settled for an amount that covered the cost of their surgery. However, the victim needed another surgery after some time because the first was unsuccessful. Because they already accepted a settlement from the insurance company, the victim cannot ask for additional compensation for the cost of the second surgery. They have to pay for the surgery on their own or look for help elsewhere.
It is crucial that you wait until you reach maximum medical improvement before accepting a personal injury settlement because once you accept a settlement, your case is closed. In Florida, you cannot reopen a closed personal injury case (unless under limited circumstances) and ask for more compensation.
Maximum Medical Improvement
A personal injury victim should be patient when it comes to settling their claim. Victims should wait until they reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) before accepting a settlement. According to Florida Statute 440.02(10), a person reaches maximum medical improvement when they reach a stage where they do not expect any further recovery, or lasting improvement, from their injury.
When you wait to reach maximum medical improvement before accepting a personal injury settlement, you ensure that, by the time you are accepting a settlement, you can anticipate how much your future losses and medical care will amount to.
There Is No Clock on When You Can Settle
Indeed, you need to file a Florida personal injury claim as soon as you can after suffering your injury to ensure you protect your right to compensation. You generally have four years to file a personal injury claim in Florida. However, it is crucial to note that there is no clock on when you can settle a Florida personal injury claim. After filing a Florida personal injury claim, you can take your time before accepting a settlement. When it comes to settling a Florida personal injury claim, you have a longer time window. Generally, you have until you reach MMI to settle your Florida personal injury claim.
Depending on the severity of your injuries, it can take you months or even years to reach maximum medical improvement. Therefore, patience is of utmost importance.
Why Do Insurance Companies Offer Early Settlements?
After filing your personal injury claim, the insurance company may offer you a lowball settlement before you finish your treatment with the hope that you do not know any better. For example, the at-fault party’s insurance company may offer you an early settlement with the hope that you do not know that you are entitled to compensation for future medical expenses.
The insurance company may also offer you an early lowball settlement offer with the hope that you are desperate enough to accept the settlement without thinking twice or consulting your attorney. No matter how you feel, it would be best to keep in mind that an early settlement offer from an insurance company is not meant to pay out the full extent of your damages. No matter how bad you need the money, it is best that you avoid accepting an early settlement offer from the at-fault party’s insurance company. When an insurance company makes you an early settlement offer, ensure you let your attorney know and allow them to advise you accordingly.
Contact a Fort Myers Personal Injury Attorney
If you suffered injuries in a Florida accident and need help recovering the compensation you deserve from the at-fault party, get in touch with an experienced Fort Myers personal injury attorney at The Law Offices of Marc L. Shapiro. We can help you hold the at-fault party accountable and recover the maximum possible amount of compensation.