Should I Cash the Check My Insurance Company Sent Me?

It can be very exciting when you get a check from your insurance company in the mail. Your initial reaction will no doubt be to cash or deposit the check and put the entire ordeal in the win column. You hear people complaining about insurance companies all the time, right? But in your case, it worked out perfectly. You got your money quickly and now you can move on with your life.

But if you probe a little deeper, you might begin to question the wisdom of cashing a check your insurance company sent right away. For one thing, insurance companies are always trying to settle claims for the lowest possible dollar amount. If you filed a claim and are now holding a check in your hand, you can know for certain that the money the check is for represents the minimum the insurance company was willing to pay.

That is why it is always good practice to contact a qualified personal injury lawyer even before you deal with your insurance company. Personal injury lawyers know how to increase your settlement and can find gaps in your insurance adjustor’s offer. 

But there is another reason why you might want to hold off on cashing that check your insurance company sent you.

What Happens if You Cash the Check Your Insurance Company Sent You?

Many checks sent by insurance companies include clauses that relieve them of any further liability. What this means is that once you have cashed the check the insurance company will not pay out any more money for that claim. While that might not sound like a big deal, it can be.

In addition to wanting to settle claims for as little as possible, insurance companies want to settle claims as quickly as possible. The reason is that time can reveal more pain, damage, or injuries from an accident. 

Say, for example, you were injured in a car accident and quickly settle with the insurance company. They write you a check to cover your medical bills and everything seems fair. But what if after you cash the check you find out that your injuries are not going away or are more extensive than what you and your doctors had initially thought. 

Instead of being able to receive compensation for those additional medical costs, you will not be entitled to any additional money from your insurance company.

In some cases, the other party in the accident might wait to sue you. If you have already settled with your insurance company, you will be on your own when it comes to paying the other party any amount a judge deems fair.

Why Else You Might Want to Wait to Cash the Check Your Insurance Company Sent You

After an accident, most people don’t realize just how much they are entitled to under the law. While many people expect insurance companies to cover medical expenses, they don’t know about the full list of damages they could collect, including:

  • Lost wages
  • Property damage
  • Rehabilitation expenses
  • Out of pocket expenses
  • and more

In fact, in some cases, you might be entitled to what are called non-economic damages. Non-economic damages refer to less tangible things, including:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Humiliation

While these two lists are not exhaustive, they do begin to show many of the damages most people don’t ask for when dealing with insurance companies on their own. They are also another good reason why you should wait to cash the check your insurance company sent you.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer

The way to avoid missing out on further compensation is by hiring a qualified personal injury lawyer. A good personal injury lawyer will have experience dealing with cases like yours and know how to approach insurance companies when they reach out with a low initial offer. 

They will work with you to catalog your expenses and begin to put a monetary figure to what you have endured. They will also help you build your case by talking to witnesses, gathering expert testimony, and researching all applicable laws and cases.

Finally, their work will continue with a demand letter which will be the starting point for your negotiations with the insurance company. And if the insurance company doesn’t take your demand letter seriously, your lawyer will begin the process of taking your case to court. 

From beginning to end having a personal injury lawyer on your side will help you fight to recover full compensation.