Suppose you’ve recently been in an automobile accident. Not only do you now need serious repairs to your vehicle, but you’ve also been feeling a little sore. Your physical soreness may not feel much different than a day after going to the gym, and even though you aren’t a doctor, nothing seems to be broken or causing too much trouble.

Shortly after reporting the claim for the incident, your insurance company reaches out to “make things right” by sending someone over with a check to cover your urgent care visit and a couple missed days of work. Considering the stress that you’ve been through, you might be feeling relieved that the company you’ve been paying each month is “coming through” for you. Finally, something seems to be going your way.

Not so fast.

Assuming a hypothetical scenario like the above, accepting the first offer from an insurance company is very often a sub-optimal choice.

The insurance company has a vast array of actuaries who are paid to crunch the numbers and ensure the organization stays profitable. Therefore, it makes sense from a business perspective for them to underpay whenever possible. In addition, the insurance company nearly always requires you to sign off on closing the claim to receive payment.  Closing your claim prevents you from pursuing the claim further should you find out you have additional damages.

This brings us back to our initial hypothetical situation. Only a medical professional would be qualified to assess the victim’s physical state after the incident. It is completely plausible that general “soreness” or something else seemingly innocuous, could be an early sign of a larger underlying injury. This person would have no recourse to seek further justice if they closed out their case for a quick (and likely undervalued) check.

If you’ve been in an automobile accident it is advisable to seek both a medical and legal consultation prior to speaking with an insurance company.