Should You Settle Your Car Accident Case?
The overwhelming majority of car accident cases are resolved by the victim and the at-fault driver’s insurance company coming to a settlement agreement. This means that the insurance company agrees to pay the victim a certain amount in return for the victim releasing the at-fault party and the insurance company from any future liability. This saves the time and expenses associated with trial and often seems like the easiest way for victims to move on and put their accident behind them.
Many clients ask us whether they should settle their car accident case. Whether or not to accept a settlement is always up to the client, but certain factors can make a particular settlement offer more or less appealing, such as the amount offered, the extent of your injuries, and the strength of your case.
The Representation of an Attorney Will Protect Your Rights
The most important issue in settlement negotiations is obtaining an offer that adequately compensates you for your losses. Car accident losses typically economic losses like repair bills, medical expenses, and lost income – all of which are relatively easy to establish. But non-economic losses, like pain and suffering and loss of quality of life, can be much more difficult to identify and assign a value to. Also, because accepting a settlement releases the other party from any future liability, you should be sure to include expected future losses in your determination what a fair settlement offer would look like.
Because of these issues, there is a real risk of unrepresented victims accepting a settlement offer far below the actual value of their cases. Insurance companies are under no legal obligation to make reasonable settlement offers to non-customers who make claims on their policies, and they often take advantage the fact that most car accident victims have no idea what their case could resolve for at trial. When you retain an attorney, he or she will handle all communication with the insurance company on your behalf and attempt to negotiate a fair settlement amount.
What if the Insurance Company Refuses to Settle for a Reasonable Amount?
As a victim, you may be concerned that the insurance company will simply refuse to settle for a reasonable amount, leaving you high-and-dry. If this occurs, your lawyer will likely file a lawsuit in the appropriate court against the at-fault driver to recover for your losses. If your case goes to trial and you win, the court will enter a judgment requiring the at-fault driver to pay for your damages, which then in turn will be covered by his or her insurance company.
Call Our Office Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with an Attorney
If you have been injured in a serious accident, you should speak with an attorney before taking any actions that could affect your legal rights – such as accepting a settlement offer. To discuss your car accident case with an experienced lawyer, call our office today to send us an email through our online contact form.