If you suffered injuries in an automobile accident, you may be wondering if you’re entitled to compensation for your suffering. If that is the case, you may also be wondering how car accident settlements work.
Settlements are a common way to resolve a personal injury claim without going to court.
Auto accidents can vary in severity, ranging from minor to highly complex, depending on the circumstances surrounding them. Nonetheless, they tend to be stressful events. In many cases, auto accidents can disrupt an injured person’s life either temporarily or permanently. If the victim in an auto accident sustains injuries due to the negligent behavior of another driver, they may be entitled to compensation to cover their accident-related expenses. In some of these cases, settlements are suitable approaches to the resolution of a personal injury case.
What Is a Car Accident Settlement?
Car accident settlements are legal agreements reached between parties involved in a motor vehicle accident. Parties reach accident agreements when one party agrees to pay the other party compensation for damages.
One of the benefits of car accident settlements is that they are often reached without the need for a trial or court hearing. Additionally, they are most commonly negotiated through an insurance company or a personal injury attorney.
In this article, we’ll explain how car accident settlements work, the factors that can affect your settlement, and what you should do if you’ve been in a car accident.
Car Settlements Can Save Time And Money
A car accident settlement is the amount of money the victim receives from the guilty party or their insurance company following an automobile accident. It is often meant to cover your costs associated with the accident, such as medical bills, property damage, and lost wages. However, additional costs may be factored in such as pain and suffering.
Car accident settlements are typically paid out in a lump sum, and once the victim accepts the settlement, they can no longer pursue further legal action against the other driver, their insurance company, or any other guilty party involved.
When handled properly, settling car accident cases can save valuable time and money for all parties concerned. Trials take time and money. They also can drag on for years in some cases, prolonging the victim’s suffering.
Instead of engaging in an extended legal battle and wasting significant resources, reaching a fair settlement is often a preferable alternative to going to court. Nevertheless, settlements are contingent on the approval of all parties involved and their willingness to collaborate and arrive at a mutually acceptable agreement.
If you are a car accident victim, you should keep in mind that if you judge your settlement offer to be too low, accepting it isn’t a requirement. You can attempt to negotiate with the other driver or their insurance company. If the two parties cannot come to an agreement, then taking the case to court is an option.
Factors That Affect Your Settlement
The amount received in a car accident case settlement can depend on several factors. They are often the following:
The severity of the injuries: The extent of the injuries the victim sustained can play a significant role in determining the settlement amount. If injuries are severe and life-changing, they may result in a higher settlement.
Liability: If a greater portion of the responsibility for the accident lies with a third party, the degree of fault of the said party can impact the settlement amount considerably. If one party is found to be entirely responsible for the crash, the other party may receive a higher settlement.
Insurance coverage: Depending on how much insurance coverage the involved parties have available, the settlement amount can vary greatly. If the at-fault driver has substantial insurance coverage, the settlement may be higher.
Evidence: Strong and compelling evidence supporting the injured party’s claim can lead to a higher settlement amount.
Comparative negligence: If all parties involved share some degree of fault in the accident, this may lead to a settlement reduction. The end result will then be based on the percentage of fault assigned to the injured party.
Economic damages: The settlement amount can also be based on the economic damages incurred by the injured party, such as medical bills, lost wages, and property damage.
Non-economic damages: Non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, emotional harm endured during and after the accident, and loss of enjoyment of life can also impact the settlement amount.
As stated above, evidence is of extreme importance. Auto accident victims must keep detailed records of all costs associated with the collision and injuries sustained. These records will be used to determine the amount of the settlement.
It is also important to note that the car accident settlement process can take time. Depending on the complexity of the case, it can take days, weeks, months, or even years to reach a settlement agreement. During this time, your attorney will be working with the other driver or their insurance company to reach a fair agreement for both parties.
What To Do After A Car Accident To Not Ruin Your Settlement
If you’ve been in a car accident, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention, even if you do not think you were injured. The second thing you should consider doing is contacting a personal injury attorney. When you rely on the professional help of seasoned attorneys to begin the car accident settlement process, your attorney will be able to review your case, advise you on the best course of action, and negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf. These are all important factors to consider when deciding whether you should hire someone to represent you.
It is also important to remember that you should never admit fault or apologize for the accident. Doing so could be used against you in court. This type of self-incriminatory mistake could result in a lower settlement amount. Instead, you should remain calm and let your attorney go over both the legal aspects and processes of your case.
Lastly, exercise great caution when communicating with an insurance claims representative without an attorney.
Insurance providers often attempt to persuade injured victims to settle for a quick, but significantly undervalued compensation, which is often offered through insurance claims representatives or adjusters. These large companies want you to settle fast so that you do not seek the help of a professional. If you accept this offer, you will be forfeiting your rights to seek additional compensation or file a lawsuit against the responsible party once you discover that you received an inadequate amount. Additionally, agreeing to a low settlement offer, especially before receiving a comprehensive, long-term prognosis for your injuries from a physician, could result in failure to receive the full amount of compensation that you rightfully deserve.
To avoid these pitfalls, it is advisable to direct all conversations with the adjuster to your lawyer. If you do not have a lawyer and worry that the company might be taking advantage of your situation, consider contacting one who provides complimentary case consultations to gain a better understanding of your situation. This will help you to make a better decision when considering any offers from the insurance provider.
Car accident settlements can be a complicated process, but understanding the basics can help you prepare ahead of time.
It is important to remember to seek medical attention after an accident, whether you think you were seriously injured or not, and remember to avoid admitting fault or apologizing for the accident. You might also want to consider contacting a personal injury attorney who can help you understand your case better. By following these steps, you can be sure that you are on the path to getting the compensation you deserve.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, we encourage you to contact an experienced car crash attorney in your community. An attorney can help you navigate the car accident settlement process and ensure that you receive the compensation you are entitled to. On average, personal injury lawyers help get their clients three and a half times more compensation than handling a car accident case without one. Keep that in mind when considering your next step following an automobile accident.