Determining a good settlement in your case will require a careful review by a lawyer.
What Is a Settlement?
A settlement is an agreement between a liable party or insurance company and the victim of a car accident-or another type of harmful incident. A settlement generally provides the victim a certain amount of compensation and absolves the liable party from having to pay the victim in the future. Settlements are the most common outcome for civil cases.
How Do You Reach a Settlement?
Many car accident victims hire a car accident attorney to seek a settlement for them. Their attorney will generally contact either an insurance company or a defendant’s attorneys.
They may then:
- Share their calculation of losses with those who they are negotiating with
- Present evidence of your damages
- Present proof of the liable party’s negligence
- Present an oral argument on your behalf
- Respond to arguments made by the representatives of responsible parties
An attorney should not accept a settlement offer unless it covers all of your losses, both present and future.
What Does a Settlement Cover?
A settlement should cover a victim’s damages from their car accident. Every victim’s losses are highly personal, so coverage provided by a settlement also varies.
Some damages that your settlement may cover include:
- Healthcare expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost bonuses
- Lost retirement benefits
- Pain and suffering
- Repairs for your car
- Replacement of a totaled vehicle
- Temporary transportation
- Medical equipment
Recoverable damages can be either economic or non-economic. Economic damages generally have a clear financial cost-medical expenses are one example. Non-economic damages do not have an objective financial cost, which means that your attorney must determine their value. Pain and suffering is the most common type of non-economic damage.
What Dictates the Appropriate Value of a Settlement?
Several factors can affect the proper value of your settlement, including:
- The nature of your injuries: The injuries you suffer will be central to your settlement value. Injuries that require a long-term recovery, or are disabling, may require significant medical care. The cost of such injuries may be great, and your settlement should reflect this.
- The severity of your injuries: The severity of your injuries will be just as relevant as the injuries themselves. A severe injury will generally require a larger settlement than a mild injury.
- The share of liability for your accident: In many car accidents, one party is clearly at fault for the collision. This is not always the case, though. If you share liability for your accident, your settlement may reflect this.
- The strength of evidence in your case: Clear, convincing evidence of a defendant’s fault may help you recover the settlement you deserve.
An attorney will consider any other information that is relevant to your case.
Are There Alternatives to Settling?
There are settlement alternatives. When settlement negotiations fail to produce an acceptable result, an attorney can file a lawsuit against liable parties. If liable parties still refuse to settle after receiving notice of a lawsuit, then your attorney may proceed to trial.
Your lawyer will discuss any other available options for seeking fair compensation.
Should You Hire a Lawyer After a Car Accident?
You want to hire an attorney after your car accident for many reasons, including:
- You’re in pain: It’s common for car accident victims to experience pain from their injuries. Your physical pain will likely restrict what you can do and prevent you from leading your claim or lawsuit on your own.
- You’re physically or cognitively limited: Injuries may prevent your physical range of motion. You may need to rest, making it more challenging to handle many of the responsibilities of a claim or lawsuit. If you suffered a brain injury, you might also have cognitive issues that prevent you from trying to represent yourself.
- You lack experience with insurance claims or legal cases: The typical car accident victim is not a lawyer. They may have limited experience with insurance claims and even less experience with lawsuits. This lack of experience is not an advantage when seeking financial recovery.
- You don’t want to deal with a lawsuit or insurance claim: Life is hectic enough without the challenge of a lawsuit or insurance claim. You may simply not want to deal with your claim or lawsuit, and hiring an attorney can allow you to grant your wish.
You want to hire an attorney who has extensive experience with car accident cases and can handle:
#1. Determine Who Is Liable for Your Losses
Driver errors cause most accidents. Your attorney will identify liable parties in your case, whether a motorist, vehicle manufacturer, or another party.
#2. Gather Documentation of Your Damages
Your lawyer will seek all available evidence of your losses. Medical bills, proof of lost earnings, doctors’ notes, and testimony from counselors may all help prove your damages.
#3. Initiate Your Insurance Claim or Lawsuit
Whether your circumstances require an insurance claim, lawsuit, or both, your attorney will initiate proceedings in your case. They may adapt the plan for your case as circumstances develop.
#4. Complete Settlement Negotiations
Negotiations are a pivotal aspect of a car accident case. Your lawyer and their team will handle settlement talks from start to finish.
#5. Complete Any Necessary Trial
If your case requires a trial, your lawyer will represent your case in court. They may hire experts and investigators to assist with various aspects of your case.
#6. Defend Your Rights
Above all, an attorney will protect you and your rights. They will deal with insurance companies and other lawyers, preventing them from violating your rights.
Hire an Attorney Today to Seek Justice
Do not wait to get legal help. Your lawyer can use all of the time that you provide them, and your case may need to meet deadlines. The sooner you call an experienced car accident attorney, the quicker they can begin working toward justice.