5 Facts You Should Know About Car Accident Settlements

5 Facts You Should Know About Car Accident Settlements
  • Opening Intro -

    Car accidents are common but their implications can be excruciating if you get involved in a major one.

    From physical injuries to mental trauma, long-term disability and loss of employment, you may suffer in more than one way.

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Fortunately, everything about these accidents is not bad. If you get injured due to the negligence of someone else, you can claim the rightful compensation under the personal injury law. If everything works out, the compensation will be enough to cover your losses and expenses and may sustain your family as well.

But everything boils down to taking the right approach towards the settlement of the claim with the insurance company so that you get what you deserve. It is to be noted that a majority of accident compensation cases are settled out of court. A good attorney can get you a favorable settlement from the insurance company without having to take the case to the court for trial. This is something that you should aspire for because it assures early payment and fewer hassles. Here are some more facts that you should know about car accident settlements.

Fact #1: Don’t accept the first offer

Accepting the very first offer from the insurance company is the worst mistake you can make. This can be hard to reject, considering that you have medical bills to pay and car repairs lined up.

To make things worse, you may be of your employment. Still, you need to understand that the insurance company will make all the effort to settle the case with a minimal amount.

However, you should not be taken for a ride because this may be nothing close to the loss you have borne in the accident.

Rather, let a qualified lawyer handle the negotiations to ensure that you get optimal compensation that covers all your expenses. Even if you have to wait a little longer for the claim, the wait can be worthwhile.

Fact #2: Settlements can take months

When you opt for a settlement with an insurance company, patience is the virtue that you need the most. This is because settlements often take months to be closed. There are no hard and fast timelines for the process and neither can you get a prediction about the final claim that the insurance company will pay. If you are not ready to negotiate until the end, you can get the amount early but will have to settle for a lower claim.

However, proper negotiation does take some time because the insurance company will study the evidence stringently and even conduct an investigation to verify facts. The entire process may stretch from a few weeks to even a few months. On the upside, you may get a good amount in the settlement once the case is proved in your favor.

Fact #3: Litigation can extend the timeline

Even though negotiations with the insurance company may take a fair amount of time, it is still less than that taken for a court trial. A good car accident lawyer would probably want to resolve the matter through negotiation rather than taking the case to the court of law.

Unless you have a competent lawyer representing you in the court, don’t expect a verdict in your favor. Personal injury law is as complex as any other law stream and only an expert can handle the trial well enough for you. So it is better to get legal help for major accident cases sooner rather than later.

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Fact #4: Settlement may be paid in installments

Another fact that you must know about car accident settlement is that you may get it in installments rather than a lump sum amount. This is common when the amount of compensation is very large and the insurer offers to pay in installments that are spread over a period of time. The amount and frequency of installments are agreed upon during the negotiations.

Besides paying up in regular installments, the insurance company may also offer an annuity. The benefit of this kind of settlement is that it provides a steady source of income. At the same time, these payments are predictable which means that you can plan and manage your finances better. Annuities are ideal for victims who have sustained permanent injuries and require regular income for life. It is best to let your attorney handle these aspects with the insurance company.

Fact #5: Settlements are final

The insurance company and your lawyer may negotiate for weeks or months to arrive at a settlement but it is final once agreed upon. You cannot come back and ask for more and neither can the insurance company back off from their word. Once the final amount is decided, you will have to sign a release form stating that you have accepted the amount.

After signing the form, you cannot absolutely sue them for more money because this is as good as a legal agreement. Make sure that you are satisfied with the agreed amount before signing the form. Never do it without getting advice from your attorney or unless they have closed the negotiations on your behalf. Only a legal professional knows what is best for you and whether you should settle for something that is being offered.

A settlement offer from an insurance company can be a lifeline for your entire family, particularly if you are the main earning member. Even if you don’t have dependents, an optimal settlement matters in case of grievous injuries that lead to long term disability. Therefore, you should not settle for anything lesser than enough to cover your current expenses and future ones as well.

Don’t trust the insurance company because they will do everything possible to settle the case earliest and with the least compensation. Rather, you should entrust your case to a seasoned car accident attorney who can secure the best compensation in your favor, whether it is with the settlement or court trial. Their first preference would be to get it done through negotiations. But you must be willing to fight till the end to get justice.

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