We have met with several new clients over the years who have shared a remarkably similar story with us. Since this happened again recently, I thought it might be a good idea to share a general version of the story on this blog as a cautionary lesson.
The story usually starts something like this: our client is involved in an intersection collision. She is a passenger in a car being driven by a friend. The crash is one of those situations where there is a four-way stop, but one driver decides to blow through a stop sign.
Although the impact of the crash seems pretty significant from the property damage photos, our client thinks she is lucky and has escaped the accident without much in the way of injuries. She visits her family doctor complaining of a little stiffness, and perhaps some bruising.
Within a couple of days the bruising is improving, but now our lady is noticing that sitting at her computer at work is causing her neck to hurt.
Within a week or so after the accident, our lady receives a visit at her home from an insurance adjuster. The adjuster represents the driver who had run the stop sign and violated the right-of-way. She asks some questions and pulls a checkbook out of her bag. She offers to write a check on the spot to settle our lady’s injury claim. She explains that when injuries are minor, there is no need to drag out a claim or hire a lawyer.
Because she is worried about the bruising, our lady rejects the offer. The bruising slowly but surely improves, but in the meantime, her neck pain becomes worse and worse. After putting it off for a few weeks hoping things will get better, she finally sees an orthopedic doctor. The orthopedist orders an MRI which reveals that our client is suffering from several cervical disc protrusions. Ultimately, she has weeks or months of costly physical therapy, and sometimes requires spinal injections, or worse, some kind of cervical spinal fusion surgery.
As an Orlando accident attorney, I know that our client was one of the lucky ones. Hundreds (or more) of Florida accident victims probably settle their claims with adjusters on their front doorsteps each year, and later find out that their injuries are much more severe than they thought. There is no need to rush into a personal injury settlement. Wise consumers will wait until they know what they are dealing with before entering into a General Release with an insurance company that may forfeit their legal rights forever.
If you have any questions regarding a Florida car accident or questions regarding whether to settle a claim directly with an insurance adjuster, call Winter Park personal injury attorney Kim Cullen at 407-644-4444. We will answer all of your questions for free and can help you make a decision about what to do next.