If you were injured in a traffic accident caused by another person, you probably filed an injury claim against that person’s insurance company. When another person caused an injury, that person can be held liable for damages, including medical expenses, property damage, lost income, pain, and suffering. An injury claim or accident claim is the method used to recover compensation for damages from a traffic accident. However, you must be careful of settling your claim too early, or you could receive less money than your claim is worth.
Settling an Accident Claim in New Orleans
When you settle an accident claim, the insurance company requires that you sign a settlement agreement. Within the settlement agreement, there are terms that state you agree to release the insurance company, another driver, and any other parties from all liability in exchange for the payment of your claim.
Therefore, if you discover later that you need additional surgery or physical therapy, you have an injury that you were not aware of, or there were medical bills that were not paid, you are responsible for those costs. If you realize your injury prevents you from returning to work, you cannot claim additional lost wages.
The settlement agreement prevents you from reopening an accident claim. The agreement is a legally binding contract; therefore, most courts uphold the agreement and deny a request to reopen an accident claim. The insurance company understands the law regarding accident claims and settlement agreements. It may try to settle your claim quickly so that it can pay you a lower amount because you do not know the full value of your claim yet. It is in your best interest to talk to a New Orleans accident attorney before you agree to a settlement or sign any documents for the insurance company.
Maximum Medical Improvement
Maximum medical improvement (MMI) is the stage of your recovery where your doctors determine you will not improve with continued medical treatment. MMI for some people will be the point of full recovery; however, other accident victims may never reach full recovery. For them, MMI includes a permanent disability or impairment.
When you suffer a permanent disability or impairment, you may be entitled to future damages. An experienced New Orleans accident attorney can calculate the value of your future medical care, lost income, personal care, and other damages. In many cases, future damages can be larger than your actual damages. By settling your case before you reach MMI, you could be losing thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars in future damages.
Consulting an experienced injury attorney in New Orleans before accepting a settlement offer is in your best interest. Because our attorneys offer free consultations, there is no reason why you need to accept an offer from the insurance company without seeking advice from a legal professional.
New Orleans Accident Attorneys Working for Injury Victims
Our NoLA accident lawyers represent clients in New Orleans and throughout the surrounding towns and parishes. Call Attorney Fred Olinde of The Olinde Firm at (504) 587-1440 or 1-800-587-1889 to request a free case review from a New Orleans accident attorney.