I recently received a phone call from a couple who were broadsided in their compact car by an 18-wheeler coming off the big bridge on Highway 74/76 from Leland to Wilmington. It was a nasty wreck, but thankfully everyone walked away alive, albeit with some painful injuries. These folks called me about 3 weeks after the wreck with some questions about their potential cases and settlements. Unfortunately, it was too late – they had signed documents totally ending their cases.
You see, after the wreck, the insurance company for the 18-wheeler was seemingly very friendly with these folks, calling every other day to ask about medical treatment and how they were doing. The insurance company assured them that it would pay for their medical bills and pain and suffering. This couple signed some documents just 2 weeks after their wreck agreeing that the insurance company would pay them some quick cash for pain and suffering and pay their medical bills up to a certain amount.
When I met with this couple, I cringed after seeing the Settlement Release documents that they each had signed. Their cases were ended by the documents. The amount for pain and suffering wasn’t nearly enough. It wasn’t in line with customary pain and suffering settlements for the type of wreck and the injuries they sustained. Even more troublesome was that the settlement documents limited the amount of medical bills that the insurance company would pay to a few thousand dollars per person and no more. They were both still receiving medical treatment and both expected that their medical bills would be over that limited amount when all was said and done. And they were still in pain.
These folks signed these Settlement Release documents of their own free will but with the best intentions in mind. I understand that nobody likes to have to get a lawyer after a wreck. But in this case, they wished they had, and so did I. But it was too late.
Nobody likes a sad story either, but I share this story with you as a cautionary tale to be careful signing ANYTHING after a car wreck or any other type of injury caused by another party. The insurance company isn’t looking out for you. That’s the job of an experienced injury attorney.