You get injured in a car crash, and it’s clear that you did not cause the crash. The other driver made that critical mistake, and you got seriously injured as a result. The emergency crews rushed you to the hospital, where you had internal injuries and a brain injury.

Once you start the process of seeking compensation, the insurance company offers you a lump sum. They tell you that it will cover your legal costs, your lost wages and the medical bills that relate directly to the accident. Should you take the lump sum?

Possibly. There are situations where people prefer a lump sum, often if they have fully recovered from their injuries and they’re just trying to balance the books, so to speak. They have high bills that they need to pay off, and the lump sum settlement will do it for them.

The downside is just that the lump sum closes your case. As far as that insurance company is concerned, it’s over. You’re not going to get another cent from them. This is why they want to use the lump sum.

But what happens if you realize that the injury is worse than you thought? Say you thought your brain injury was healed, but then you have a mild stroke a month later. Doctors tell you that the damage from the accident isn’t healing well and that the stroke was a direct result of getting hurt in that crash. You now have more medical bills and you may have an expensive long-term issue to deal with, but you’re not going to get more compensation for it.

What you don’t want to do is decide that the issues are behind you just because you want them to be, even when you’re still suffering from injuries and complications. It’s often prudent to wait, as some symptoms and signs don’t make themselves known for a long time.

Above all else, it’s critical for you to know about all of the options that you have and to carefully consider what they’ll mean for your case and your life.