Riley, you should not settle any portion of your case until you reach maximum medical improvement. That includes accepting money from the “at fault” party prior to a final negotiated settlement. Any settlement with either the person who caused your accident is a full and final settlement. A settlement must cover all of your past medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages and physical injuries. It also has to cover any future medical bills, lost wages, future pain and suffering.
When you settle with the other driver’s insurance company, it is almost always a final settlement. You cannot come back later and ask for more money even if your condition deteriorates significantly or even later requires surgery.
We advise clients not to settle until they are medically as good as they are going to get. This certainly does not mean that you will not have lasting problems due to the wreck. It does mean, however, that significant medical treatment should be finished before settling. Settlement amounts are almost always directly related to the amount of your medical bills. That is not a law and it is not a rule that I agree with. It is, however, what insurance companies normally base settlement offers upon. Therefore, it is important to get any large medical expenses completed before submitting a settlement package.
To help during the time you are treating, you may have Medical Payment insurance that is often called "Med-Pay" for short. Medical Payment Coverage is a type of insurance that provides coverage for medical treatment cost related to injuries sustained in a car accident. Med-pay coverage is designed to pay the immediate medical costs, up to the limit purchased by the consumer. If you are hurt in an auto accident and have med-pay benefits included on the policy, your auto insurance company pays for the medical treatment up to the limit purchased.
Med-Pay gives people the opportunity to insure themselves against the immediate costs associated with injuries from a car accident. We all know there are significant costs associated with medical treatment. People who have this coverage can concentrate on their recovery instead of worrying about how immediate bills will be paid. Drivers and passengers with med-pay coverage have an additional layer of financial protection against these medical bills.
Your local insurance agent will tell you what the premium is at the time you purchase or renew your policy. We highly encourage all of our clients to add Med-Pay coverage to their policy. You can add as much as $25,000 of Med-Pay coverage. For those with high deductibles on their health insurance, this coverage is an absolute must.
Nelson, Bryan and Jones represents clients in the following areas: Social Security Disability, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Wrongful Death Cases, Personal Injury Actions, Defective Products, Insurance Disputes and Bad Faith, Fire Loss cases, Trucking Accidents, Worker’s Compensation, Drug Recalls, Employment Law and Property Damage Claims.
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