Being involved in a car accident can be a life-changing and traumatic experience. The emotional toll of being involved in a car accident is difficult enough to deal with, but the financial repercussions can be just as bad. Many accidents result in injuries that lead to expensive medical bills which need to be repaid on top of lost wages for time off work due to injuries. In that case, you are entitled to compensation in the form of a car accident settlement.
Although the outcome of your settlement case may seem simple, the process is complicated and you need to have a solid understanding of what is happening. Therefore, here are six things you need to know about your settlement case.
You Do Not Have To Settle With The Insurance Company
When your insurance carrier offers a settlement, it is not an admission of guilt. They are usually offering you a settlement just to cover fees and avoid going to court. There is a good chance that they will send out an adjuster to visit you at home or work for your deposition so that they do not have to go through the process of arranging payment. Although it may seem like a reasonable offer, you should never feel pressured into accepting it before getting legal advice for car accidents because there is often more money on the table for those who keep negotiating and do not give up too early. Make sure you put your injury lawyer in touch with your insurance company so that he/she can discuss the case on your behalf.
Getting Additional Information Will Delay Your Settlement
One of the things that insurance adjusters will do is get every detail they can about your accident and injuries including any witness accounts, pictures of the scene, and copies of medical records. This means getting information from you and anyone else involved in the accident such as passengers or drivers of other vehicles. Sometimes this can cause a delay in receiving a settlement offer because it requires time to process and investigate this extra information. If you have been given an initial offer then it is always best not to accept immediately but wait until you receive a formal offer in writing so that there are no misunderstandings when negotiations begin with the legal team for both parties who will be involved in your car accident settlement case.
You Can Settle Without Hiring a Lawyer
Some people prefer to handle legal matters without the help of reputable counsel because they would rather not pay fees and want to avoid any conflict with their insurance carrier or anyone else. While that may be possible, it is risky and you could end up missing out on money from your settlement case because it can be tempting for an insurance company adjuster to give a lower offer if they do not think you have legal representation. In some states, it is required by law order for you to finalize a settlement so hiring counsel should always be considered when going through this process.
You Can Settle Without Going To Court
Although it may seem like going to court is always the best option, it is often possible to settle without having to go through the legal system by reaching an agreement between both teams. Insurance carriers usually want to prevent long battles because they are expensive and inconvenient so they will try to reach an agreement as soon as possible. However, the legal team representing you is interested in maximizing your settlement, not simply settling as quickly as possible, and that can mean going through the system to ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries and damages.
Your Settlement Case May Affect Any Criminal Proceedings
If you are facing criminal charges as a result of your accident, there is a chance that the outcome of the civil trial could impact any ruling in a court of law. Therefore, it is important to talk to your lawyers about the potential consequences that may come from either ruling before you decide how much information you want to disclose when dealing with insurance adjusters or during your deposition for settlement negotiations. The goal with this is to have as much leverage as possible when it comes to coming up with an amount that both sides feel good about.
You May Be Able To Influence Settlement Amounts
Although car accident settlement cases are not like personal injury claims involving an intentional tort such as assault and battery where damages can be assessed according to the pain and suffering endured, certain factors may influence settlement amounts aside from medical bills and property damage. The severity of your injuries, emotional distress caused by the accident, lost wages due to time missed at work, and other additional damages can all play a role in determining how much money you receive. It is always best to talk to your legal team about what can be done in terms of maximizing your claim so that you do not leave money on the table.
When it comes down to it, car accident settlement cases are complicated and it takes an understanding of the process to know when something does not seem right or where mistakes are being made that are holding you back. With so much at stake, it is important to have a strong team of legal experts who know what they are doing and will stick with you from start to finish so that you can rest easy knowing that everything regarding your settlement case has been handled properly.