Should I Settle My Personal Injury Claim? (Accident Benefits)
Written by: Yanira Monterroza
This is a very common question asked by clients/claimants when deciding whether they should settle their claim or leave it open.
First, it is important to define “settlement.”
The Oxford Dictionary defines a settlement as “an official agreement that ends an argument between parties.” In a personal injury case, this would be between an injured party and an insurance company.
What are the pros and cons:
IF I SETTLE MY ACCIDENT BENEFITS CLAIM
- Closure: I will be able to move on with my life and have money available for future treatment.
- Decision-making power: If I settle, I will have money on hand, and I will not need to ask the insurance for permission to use my money however I choose to.
- Allowing the insurance company to continue “medically managing” my claim means I need pre-approval before attending a clinic for treatment.
- Saving Resources: I can avoid spending money on preparation forms such as OCF-18 forms, which usually cost about $200.00.
- Risk Avoidance: If I settle my claim, I will receive money on hand.
- My claim is only open for five years, so I avoid the risk of a reduced settlement or no settlement in the future.
- In order to have the insurance consider a Treatment and Assessment Plan, an OCF-18 form must be completed by the insurance. If the treatment is denied, the insurance will refuse payment of the form, which is usually $200.00. (If the treatment is approved, the insurance will cover payment of the form.)
IF I DON’T SETTLE MY ACCIDENT BENEFITS CLAIM
- I can leave my claim open with the possibility of accessing additional future treatment paid by my insurance company.
- If I leave my file open, there is the possibility of an increased offer in future negotiations.
- If the insurance company is wrongfully denying my benefits, I will be able to access the License Appeal Tribunal, which can help the parties resolve or narrow down the issues in dispute.
- If the insurance is paying for ongoing medical benefits, I can continue to access those benefits with the possibility of settling in the near future, giving my body additional time to work on rehabilitation.
Other things to consider?
If you refuse an offer, the insurance company can reduce the offer in any future negotiations, or they may increase your offer. However, receiving an offer of settlement from your Accident Benefits claim is not guaranteed. The insurance company is not obligated to settle your file.
On the other hand, Michael P. Silver, author of “Mediation and Negotiation: Representing Your Clients,” notes in his book that “a party may refuse to negotiate because no interests are served by negotiating.” (Butterworths Canada Ltd., 2001, Page 29)
Therefore, it is important to identify whether the right time to settle is now or later.
JSM LAW - How can we help you?
At JSM Law, we have Senior Lawyers and Senior Paralegals that specialize in car accidents.
Their experience in Personal Injury is a combined 55+ years in the industry. We will be able to guide you and give you our honest opinion as to whether you should settle or leave your file open for the time being. We will look at the aspects of your case and provide you with the facts that you need in order to make an educated decision.
JSM Law is here to help you fight the good fight.
Deciding whether to settle your Accident Benefits claim now or later is a big step that will affect your future well-being. It is important to make the right decision.
JSM Law has the experience to help guide you to reach a decision that will be in YOUR best interest. All you need to do is ask for help, and we will be there for you.